“People are really hard to hate close up, no matter what your disagreements are on politics,” says Liz Joyner, Founder, and CEO of the Village Square. That mantra is part the founding principals of the Village Square, an organization that touts a mission of “building bridges across the partisan divide and to have wonderful, engaging, real conversations because that’s what democracy should be.” 

In this episode of the podcast, Joyner shares insight on how combative debates around a proposed coal-fired power plant sparked her passion to form the Village Square. During the discussion, Joyner spoke on how the organization has since become bigger than politics and more a forum for curated discussions on nationals issues at the local level including many of our country's biggest disputes. 

In a world that becomes more polarized by the day, the Village Square model has attracted attention from all over the nation. Joyner has had the opportunity to share insight on the topic of civility to a number of elections officials from various states, national media outlets and has even spoken to  group at Harvard Law School. She notes that communities everywhere are all discussing how to appropriately address the societal issues caused by a polarized political climate, issues that the Village Square actively works to solve every day in Tallahassee.

“The civic fabric of a community, the social capital, the relationships, the trust and reciprocity that exists inside of the community, that is the science behind what you do to depolarize people,” she said. 

Joyner encourages anyone and everyone to join in on one of the many upcoming events in the works, all of which you can find more information about online at https://tlh.villagesquare.us. A new season of events is just about to begin, the theme for them being “The Year of Living Locally.”

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