Village Square and Florida Humanities continue “UNUM” Series Featuring Key National Leaders

 September 5, 2023 – While Americans don’t seem to agree on much these days, most of us believe that the future of America’s almost 250 year old democracy is at risk. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, 83% of Americans found the future of the country to be “a significant source of stress.” This makes us personally exhausted, avoidant of conflict and each other—and it leaves us less able as a people to address the inevitable crises that will come our way. 

Luckily, there are real strategies to heal our communities and our country—if only we seek them out. Beginning Thursday evening, The Village Square and Florida Humanities will launch Season 3 of “UNUM: Democracy Reignited,” an online series featuring important thinkers that capture the zeitgeist of America’s public conversation and seek to transform and transcend it, toward a more perfect union.

Headlining the series on September 7 at 7 p.m. ET is Columbia University’s Dr. Peter T. Coleman, author of “The Way Out: How To Overcome Toxic Polarization.” Coleman leads Columbia’s Difficult Conversations Lab, where his expertise in dangerous conflict around the world has yielded practical and counterintuitive advice on how to unwind conflicts of all sizes. 

The series continues on Thursday, October 5 with Dr. Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University’s living legend who wrote about the decline of the civic relationships that support a democracy in his iconic book “Bowling Alone.” Dr. Putnam and “The Upswing” co-author Shaylyn Romney Garrett will dive into the themes of “Join or Die—a film about why you should join a club, and why the fate of America depends on it.” This film has not yet been released to the public; registrants will be given a private screening link for a unique opportunity to watch the film ahead of the October 5 program with Putnam and Garrett.

The series concludes on Tuesday, November 14 with “The Roots of Belonging and The Risks of Othering” with Over Zero’s Rachel Brown. Over Zero was founded to prevent identity-based violence and other forms of group-targeted harm around the world—and here at home. Brown’s experience in high conflict zones overseas convey an urgent challenge we must face in our hometowns. The program is facilitated by New America’s Dr. Ted Johnson, author of “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America.”

The programs are offered in tandem with The Village Square’s New Pluralists initiative, one of 32 projects nationally aiming to build hometowns where all Americans belong. The Village Square will offer continuous opportunities for citizens to start or join small groups around shared interests or common concerns, along with The Village Square’s large town hall style programming. To learn more or join a group to do your part: https:/ 

To register for Thursday’s “The Way Out” go to The program will also stream live at 7pm Thursday on Tallahassee Democrat’s and WFSU Public Media’s Facebook pages.

About The Village Square: Founded 17 years ago in Tallahassee, The Village Square is building the town hall of the 21st century across societal divisions that are tearing communities apart. Hosting mostly free civic events throughout the year, The Village Square is led by a politically and racially diverse group of community leaders devoted to building civic trust between people who don’t look or think alike. 

About project partner Florida Humanities: Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Florida Humanities is the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to preserve, promote, and share the history, literature, cultures, and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities, and their state. Learn more at