It’s Your America: Lexington 2022 Report


Across three events in September 2022, 86 people from the Lexington area teamed up for an experiment in better government. They were participants in It’s Your America, a deliberative democracy initiative that brings together people from across the political spectrum to learn about, discuss, and tackle critical national issues together. Civic Genius co-hosted these events with CivicLex, a nonprofit civic education organization building civic health through education, media, and relationship building. This was part of an ongoing series of citizen policy deliberations on digital disinformation and free speech that Civic Genius is hosting in communities across the country in partnership with YOUnify and the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution.

Participants came from a wide variety of backgrounds, with significant diversity of ideology, race, and income. Civic Genius partnered with CivicLex to deploy a community organizing model to educate people about the event and invite them to participate. Our teams worked with dozens of local and national leaders and we’re grateful to those who spread the word, including Country First, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, NAACP, National Association of Social Workers, and the University of Kentucky.

Special thanks to Deputy Mayor Steve Kaye and Council Member Susan Lamb for sharing this event with their communities, and joining us to participate, and to Hannah LeGris, Liz Sheehan, and Richard Mahoney for their support. Additional thanks to Kakie Urch and Shannon Oltmann, who joined us for podcast interviews that got the community thinking before the deliberation.

This was transformative for me!

Citizen Deliberations

Participants spent three hours in small groups of six people, going through a process designed to help them create solutions on the topic of digital disinformation and free speech. Over the course of the event, the groups:

  • Got to know each other by discussing nuances in their own ideological views and experiences.
  • Discovered shared values.
  • Learned about the issue and the tensions of managing digital disinformation while protecting free speech.
  • Brainstormed solutions and discussed the pros and cons of each.
  • Crafted and pressure-tested common ground solutions.
  • Found consensus on solutions.

While previous It’s Your America events lasted for six hours, Civic Genius experimented in Lexington with a shorter event designed to be more accessible to the public while still offering a strong introduction to issue deliberation.

I wish we could do this for every single issue we're talking about in this country.

Citizen Deliberation In Color

Participants at the September 2022 It's Your America Lexington event.

Next Steps

Deliberating and crafting smart, nuanced, common ground policy is only the first step; next, It’s Your America participants in Lexington are organizing to take action. YOUnify and Civic Genius hosted the first Lexington chapter meeting on October 17, where participants learned about effective local organizing and identify skills and resources they need, such as an advocacy training or an op-ed writing workshop.

Before leaving the event, participants wrote postcards to their future selves, to be delivered a few weeks later. Here are some examples:

A collage of post-it notes from the September 2022 It's Your America event in Lexington

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