In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, we spend little time discussing the things that matter with our neighbors, and seem to have forgotten the value of a civic dialog that involves divergent viewpoints. We’ve replaced the historical wisdom of the old-fashioned neighborly town hall with televised shout-outs that build divisiveness and harden negative attitudes towards those with whom we disagree. It’s not hard to see the cost of these changes in the quality of our public discourse at all levels.
The Village Square is a non-partisan public educational forum on matters of local, state and national importance. We are dedicated to maintaining factual accuracy in civic and political debate by growing civil dialog on divisive issues, and recalling the history and principles at the foundation of our democracy.
Broward College has partnered with The Village Square to provide a safe and comfortable forum for civic engagement on diverse matters of local, state and national importance.
The original Village Square began in Tallahassee, FL in 2006 when then City Commissioner Allan Katz and his good friend Bill Law (then president of Tallahassee Community College) were on opposites sides of a divisive local issue that made it clear the community lacked a shared civic space for conversation between people who didn’t see things the same way. Thus, the Village Square was established to create a forum where the community could come together to understand and learn about key issues facing their community in safe and comfortable environment. Now, the Village Square Tallahassee hosts about 20 civic forums every year and has since opened four additional chapters.
In Broward County, the Village Square is a partnership between the Village Square and Broward College. The College will host a variety of large community forums/events every year that provide a safe and comfortable forum for civic engagement on diverse matters of local, state and national importance. Our events are planned by our Advisory Board members who are community leaders from across Broward County, that comprise of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Our Advisory Board is represented by City and County Commissioners, educators, business owners/professionals and religious/non-profit leaders.
To the Village Square, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated in the State of Florida and organized under Chapter 617 of the laws of the State of Florida and Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In Broward County, the Village Square is a partnership between the Village Square and Broward College. The College will host a variety of large community forums every year that provide a safe and comfortable forum for civic engagement on diverse matters of local, state and national importance.
Sponsorships to The Village Square are tax-deductible for income tax purposes. Membership/Dinner tickets are not deductible, however, as they are priced to reflect the entertainment value received.
Political and legislative activity prohibited
The Village Square will not participate in political or legislative advocacy to support or oppose any issue or candidate. While politics is a topic of conversation, the organization will serve a strictly educational role to the public, supporting a full and accurate hearing of the facts. While individual members of the Village Square may personally be involved in political activities, they are strictly prohibited from representing To the Village Square in doing so.
Broward College Village Square Contact
Associate Vice President, Community Partnerships and Broward Institutional Events
111 E. Las Olas Blvd, 12th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
America’s founders were well ahead of their time when they built a country where “the constant clashing of opinion” solved problems. But now as technology too often divides us, to keep the marketplace of ideas healthy we’ll have to breathe a little life into the neighborly civic connections that used to exist without much effort on our part.
Back in the day, we might have called our goal “statesmanship.” Once elected, leaders were expected to serve all citizens – whether they had voted for them or not – while working with political foes to govern. Today if you didn’t vote for the winner, you’re not a constituent – you’re the enemy.
When you set Big Audacious Goals like ours you’d better have a pretty audacious team leading you onward. Meet the bipartisan community of leaders who volunteer their time on our board of directors to embrace our Impossible + Mandatory mission – and our staff who make pigs fly daily. (They have to blow hard.)
We need you. The Village Square is a completely unique model for civic engagement in modern America. But as good as our new (but actually very old) idea is, we are still swimming upstream against the thriving business of division in America, so there’s nothing easy about this.