Monday, November 2, 2015
Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse
In May 2015, twenty Dallas-based social justice leaders convened for the first meeting of the Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse, a radical experiment in personal knowledge, public impact thought leadership, and what it takes to be influential on a large scale.
Over the course of three months, participants (all women, from a wide variety of identities and backgrounds) met in person and virtually, joined calls with high-level media insiders, and were matched with journalist mentors for one-on-one coaching. They endeavored to explore big philosophical questions, test the best available research, learn from live experiments, cultivate a spirit of fellowship across wide-ranging thinkers, and produce concrete results that light up the world.
In total, the Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse participants produced over three dozen concrete results, including op-eds, TED talks, expert citations, and more. Dallas participants weighed in on historical events and contributed a verse to the front lines of major social change—abortion, housing discrimination, police violence, education and testing, race and identify, women’s leadership in a new era. And their ideas sent ripples out into our shared ecosystems.
For example, Dallas Greenhouse participant, Demetria McCain published two op-eds that provided insights into mixed-income housing development in the Dallas area, which elicited responses from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson who contacted Demetria directly. In one of her letters, Congresswoman Johnson wrote to Demetria, “The recent article on mixed-housing that you wrote...was extremely well written and thoughtful. The ideas that you outlined will certainly lead to growth in North Texas.”
Supported by the Boone Family Foundation, The Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse is also part of a national Public Voices initiative, launched by the OpEd Project in collaboration with over a dozen leading institutions – including Yale, Columbia, Northwestern, Dartmouth, the Ford foundation, and more. Thus participants in the Dallas Public Voices Greenhouse join a powerful network of peers across the nation, allowing for knowledge sharing and innovation across one of the most powerful emerging networks for public impact thought leadership.
The goal of the national Public Voices initiative is to ensure our public discourse and our democracy is more inclusive and more intelligent--and to ensure that the best ideas, no matter where they come from, will have a chance to be heard and to change the world.