Public Trust: Building a Dialogue That Matters

The Center for the Future of Museums notes in its 2019 TrendsWatch report that trust in institutions like governments and nonprofit organizations—History Colorado represents both of these sectors—is at an all-time low. While this fact might not immediately elicit optimism, report author Elizabeth Merritt notes this reality actually reflects a promising trend: the democratization of authority. Profound, rapid change at the start of the twenty-first century, Merritt writes, “gave voice to marginalized individuals and groups that were long excluded from traditional authority platforms.”

History Colorado is constantly embracing this exciting, enlightened new world of co-authorship. Now more than ever, it takes a lot of people to be the trusted leader in helping individuals understand what it means to be a Coloradan. In order to lead, we must convene.

This is the background for the gathering we organized today at the History Colorado Center. As we prepare to host—during the critical time for our country that will be the fall 2020 presidential election—a major public engagement initiative, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, engaging fellow community members was our first step in exploring creative ways to frame dialogue in 2020.

We extend our sincere thanks to the community members who joined us today for an exercise in conversational leadership led by our chief operating officer, Dawn DiPrince.  We will leave you with the three “Questions That Matter” discussed today. Please continue the #AmericanDemocracy conversation with us on our social media channels!

  • What is the state of democracy nationally and locally?

  • What sorts of conversations should we be having in Denver in 2020 about democracy?

  • How should we engage our community in this work?

“Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society.”

Frederick Douglass