In January of most years, the President delivers a State of the Union Address highlighting the past year and suggesting priorities for the coming year. It’s a broadcast from one to many. But democracy is a conversation, not a monologue. Understanding the state of our union takes We the People reflecting in our own communities on our challenges and opportunities locally, nationally, and globally.
Since 2015, the USDAC has hosted the People’s State of the Unionas an invitation to supplement the President’s stories by coming together in our own homes, schools, houses of worship, and community organizations to share our own take on the state of our union. Thousands of people in more than 350 communities have taken part over the last three years.
The People’s State of the Union has two main parts: Story Circles across the nation, and a collaboratively composed Poetic Address to the Nation. The USDAC offers toolkits and online trainings to support anyone hosting a Story Circle, bringing people together to share stories from their own experience. Stories are uploaded to an online story portal where they can be shared and browsed. Then—inspired by these stories—an invited group of writers collaboratively composes the Poetic Address to the Nation, performed and broadcast live.
For #PSOTU 2018, Story Circle participants are invited to share their own take on the state of our union by reflecting on any of the following prompts (or creating their own):
- Share a story about an experience that gave you insight into the state of our union.
- Share a story about a time you felt a sense of belonging—or the opposite—to this nation or your community.
- Share a story of an experience that gave you hope in the past year.
This year, Story Circles will take place from January 25-February 4, 2018. The Poetic Address will take place on April 15th. Download the toolkit to learn more about how to host a People’s State of the Union Story Circle in your community.