FOSTERING CIVIC DIALOGUE AND COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
THROUGH A SERIES OF POLITICAL POTLUCKS ACROSS NEW JERSEY.
About this project
Voting Block was a dialogue journalism project that amplified the voices, concerns and opinions of residents regarding political issues in three New Jersey cities: Camden, Newark, and Paterson. (This built off our 2017 Voting Block project, which you can read about here).
We recruited 10 people in each city to have dinner. We hosted the first dinner in Paterson in fall 2019, while the dinners in Newark, and Camden took place during the novel coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020. Each dinner served as an opportunity to discuss politics in a civil setting and to speak directly to legislators who make decisions that impact lives. Local media partnered with each dinner group to tell their stories.
We encouraged our participants to record videos after each dinner documenting their reactions to the conversation. After the third dinner, we worked with participants to compile a People’s Agenda based on the needs identified by residents during the dinners. We then sent those agendas to local legislators.
Voting Block is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Community News + Information Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.