Ensuring Rural Communities Welcome Everyone

THRIVE RURAL OPEN FIELD SESSION

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1 – 3 PM ET

Our discussion question: How can we work to ensure that each and every person is welcomed to the community, feels connected, and is able to exercise and influence power in community decision-making?

The challenge: Rural communities are generally stereotyped as friendly, welcoming places. While this may certainly be true for some, there is also a strong history of suspicion of outsiders, especially if they look, sound, or act differently from the local population. This kind of resistance or rejection is a structural barrier to opportunity for the excluded groups and the larger community.

The opportunity: The changing demographics and growing diversity of many rural communities present the opportunity for long-time residents to engage one another and newcomers in a process of mutual learning that can foster a healthier community dynamic. 

Regardless of population growth, more and more rural practitioners talk about the difficulty of bringing their communities together because of sharp political divides and mistrust of information and even local institutions. 

Evidence shows that communities that foster a sense of belonging and welcoming are more likely to have healthier residents who are more engaged and socially connected. 

We want you to join the discussion! Anyone and everyone interested in techniques for fostering community belonging for new and long-time residents should attend to share a success story or experience and hear from others.  

We will kick off the gathering with a quick, optional peer networking meet-and-greet. Then the whole group will engage in a conversation moderated by Chris Estes, Aspen CSG’s Co-Executive Director. You don’t have to share your voice to participate in the event; we encourage you to send insights in the chat or simply listen. All are welcome.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
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