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Frame Your Message

You are invited to a meeting on Framing Your Message on Tuesday, Jan. 30th, 10 am to 3 pm, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 419 Woodland Street (corner of 5th Street & Woodland in East Nashville.) This is being sponsored by the Common Message Project. A description of the Project is below.

Patrick Bresette of Demos, a New York-based network for action and ideas, will lead us in a comprehensive workshop on framing messages for maximum impact. We will be looking at framing in the context of the common progressive message that we are developing to test market across the state of Tennessee but the information Patrick will share is also useful if you are trying to get a message out about your issue or your campaign.

Before this meeting we are asking participants to please complete the homework assignment described below.

1. Commit to one additional meeting in February.
2. Have a conversation with one of your neighbors.
* Someone who does not agree with your solutions to social problems. Have a conversation with them about their vision for what Tennessee could or should be. Try not to get in an argument, but rather really listen to what they’re saying.
* What do they think are the big challenges facing Tennessee? Do they have ideas for solutions? What are they? How would they be actualized?
* What do they think about the role of government, business, communities, the church, and individuals in achieving their vision for Tennessee?
* What do they think are the opportunities for Tennessee?
* What are the things you agree about? Disagree about?
* Come to the next meeting prepared to talk about what you learned.

3. How is government portrayed by the media in Tennessee? Watch TV, read the newspaper, and/or listen to talk radio and pay attention to how people talk about and portray government in Tennessee. Use the tracking sheet (distributed at the last meeting) to document your findings. Tracking Sheet: Issue (news hook), Opposition messages, Opinion Leaders -U.S., , Non-org. Opinion Leaders – our side, Opinion Leaders – them, Which framing was stronger? (us/them/neutral).

4. Share a sample of what you have written for your organization (flyer, press release, op-ed, etc.). Or write a short paragraph — it can be the beginning of an op-ed, talking points, and issue paper, whatever you want — about an issue you work on. Please bring this to the meeting on Jan. 30th.

5. Challenge – Connect with someone you do not know at this meeting and begin conversation re: vision, how do we all get there, etc.

Lunch will be provided. PLEASE RSVP SO WE CAN GET A HEAD COUNT FOR LUNCH. A description of the Common Message Project is below.


Nell Levin
Tennessee Alliance for Progress
615-226-8070, 615-579-0451- cell

The Common Message Project. Tennessee is one of nine states being funded by the Ford Foundation and the Center for Community Change to participate in this cutting-edge project. The goals of the project are to 1) conduct a process to identify the core values that Tennesseans believe in and that motivate them to action. 2) Create a joint message that encompasses these values, connects to economic justice issues, and is shared by a number of Tennessee organizations. 3) Produce effective media and messaging campaign and action agenda that motivates and unites diverse constituencies to collaborate for social change.

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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