Democracy Reignited
“America Will Be!”

O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—America will be!
—Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again”

Learn more about all the programs in the series (and listen to past programs) by scrolling down.

The Village Square is partnering with Florida Humanities to present “Unum, Democracy Reignited,” a multi-year digital series of programs exploring the past, present and future of the American idea — as it exists on paper, in the hearts of our people, and as it manifests (or sometimes fails to manifest) in our lives. With each new season, we’ll bring you a series of digital programs from important thinkers that both capture the Zeitgeist of America’s public conversation and seek to transform and transcend it — toward a more perfect union.

Walt Whitman wrote that to meet the challenge of this American democracy we must “travel by maps yet unmade.” As we strive now to make manifest the promise of a diverse multi-racial democratic citizenship, perhaps we are once again inventing what was first imagined almost 250 years ago. Because if we are to rise into our lofty ideals, who else but “we the people” will lift us into them? To accomplish this, we’ll seek the wisest counsel from sea to shining sea, to light our way on a journey that “will yet swell the chorus” of our union.

“Democracy Reignited” comes to you packed with inspiring and important featured reading — built in partnership with the big thinkers we’ll gather — that might just change the way you see the world around you. With partners in communities across the great state of Florida, we’ll bring you opportunities to join in.


We find ourselves at a crossroads — when America’s promise of a democracy “of the people, by the people and for the people” is in existential danger — from both inside and out — with illiberal and intolerant behavior coming from across the political spectrum and (if that weren’t enough already) attacks from hostile foreign powers who rule by intimidation rather than govern by consent. So what are citizens who want to continue to breathe free and pursue happiness to do when our freedom to make America’s promise manifest in our lives feels under siege?

Whether you’re a Black American seeking the promise yet fulfilled, a person of faith trying to live your life out in an increasingly secularized world, or a citizen just wanting to express an opinion in the American tradition of dissent without retribution, we have no choice but to endeavor to find each other again in common cause.

Please join us.


Past Event | May 2, 2024

Resetting the American Table:
Wisdom from Conflict

With wisdom and expertise gained in the generational trauma of the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Resetting the Table has turned their attention to healing across America's deepening divide.


Past Event | March 26, 2024

Alexandra Hudson:
The Soul of Civility

In an era of fraught political tension, civility—a respect for the dignity of others—is the key to bridging the divide.


Past Event | February 13, 2024

Jonathan Haidt's "After Babel:"
The Fragmentation of Everything

[Babel] "is about the shattering of all that had seemed solid, the scattering of people who had been a community...not only between red and blue, but within the left and within the right, as well as within universities, companies...and even families."


Past Event | November 14, 2023

The Roots of Belonging
+ The Risks of Othering

Over Zero's Founder Rachel Brown offers her experience preventing violence in global hotspots to the challenge of rising identity-based hatred—and our crisis of belonging—in the United States.


Past Event | October 5, 2023

"JOIN OR DIE" with Dr. Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett

Iconic political scientist Dr. Robert Putnam first sounded the alarm about a half century of declining social capital in Bowling Alone, now he's teaming up with his co-author of "The Upswing" Shaylyn Romney Garrett to convince us we can save America.


Past Event | September 7, 2023

The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization with Dr. Peter Coleman

Columbia University's Dr. Peter T. Coleman brings us hope, wisdom and mad skills for finding a way out of the toxic polarization that's eating us alive—whether it's afflicting your family, your friendships or you're just plain exhausted by the soup of political fury all around us.

watch the video

Past Event | May 11, 2023

A Braver Story: The Braver Angels Story of American Citizenship

We've got some friends we want you to meet: David Blankenhorn. Bill Doherty. Ciaran O'Connor. Donna Murphy. John Wood. Alone, they're devoted citizens, together they're Braver Angels.


Past Event | March 29, 2023

Broken News: Why the Media
Rage Machine Divides America
and How to Fight Back

Chris Stirewalt gives us an inside view of the rage-driven political environment we’ve found ourselves plunged into. On his book "Broken News:" “Rage revenue-addicted news companies are plagued by shoddy reporting, sensationalism, groupthink, and brain-dead partisan tribalism." Yep.

listen or watch

Past Event | February 9, 2023

Hate, Undone: An Evening
with Author and Race
Relations Expert Daryl Davis

Musician Daryl Davis befriended over 200 KKK members, starting with a grand wizard. (Don't try this at home, kids.) We'll learn how his improbable, impossible, openhearted journey can light our way.

listen or watch

Past Event | December 1, 2022

Chloé Valdary: Healing
Racism and Bigotry with The Theory of Enchantment

Chloé Valdary has a fresh take on how to heal racism and bigotry—"Theory of Enchantment." The three laws: “treat people like human beings not political extractions,” “criticize to lift up and empower, never to tear down and destroy,” and “root everything you do in love and compassion." Hmm...

listen or watch

Past Event | October 27, 2022

Mónica Guzmán:
I Never Thought of
It That Way

Seeing where people are coming from isn't just possible—it's how we ought to be living our lives. "The barriers between us are lower than we think." Find the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—with curiousity.

listen or watch

Past Event | September 15, 2022

Better Political Conversations: Ending This Zombie Apocalypse

Join Dr. Robb Willer, professor of psychology and sociology at Stanford University and director of their Polarization and Social Change Lab, for a relatable hero-arc journey to save democracy (and possibly ditch a few zombies along the way).

listen or watch

Past Event | May 19, 2022

Majority Minority: Responding
to Great Demographic Change with Dr. Justin Gest

We talk a lot about becoming a majority minority country, but not much at all about how to adjust to demographic changes that are already causing tumult across America. Dr. Justin Gest brings us the best ideas—with his trademark human empathy.

listen or watch

Past Event | March 31, 2022

When the Stars Begin
to Fall: Renewing the
Promise of America

Dr. Theodore R. Johnson sees both a Promise "big enough for all of us," and an existential threat if we cannot live into it. And at a time when it's easy to be overwhelmed and confused, he lights a path forward that we might travel.

listen or watch

Past Event | November 4, 2021

The Constitution of
Knowledge: A Defense of
Truth with Jonathan Rauch

What if defenders of truth are missing the most fundamental conceptual revolution at the core of this American experiment? Join us for an important conversation with public intellectual Jonathan Rauch that you won't soon forget.

listen or watch

Past Event | September 30, 2021

Our Declaration:
An Evening with
Dr. Danielle Allen

Part democracy's orator and part its master mechanic, Dr. Danielle Allen is uniquely equipped to guide us to the other side of our current crisis of faith in democracy. This is a program you will not want to miss.

listen or watch

Past Event | August 26, 2021

High Conflict: Why
We Get Stuck and
How We Get Out

When we are baffled by the insanity of the “other side” it’s because we aren’t seeing how the conflict itself has taken over. Join an intimate conversation with Amanda Ripley, one of the most consequential journalists of our time.

listen or watch