McCormack Speaks

December 5, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Seven Tips on How to Organize a Peaceful Protest

by Charla M. Burnett
Global Governance and Human Security PhD student

Non violepeaceful protest imagent protest is a cornerstone of democracy. Whether you are protesting the need to raise the minimum wage or to promote inclusion in divided societies, the persuasiveness of non violent demonstration can dramatically change public policy.

Studies by Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth indicate that major non violent campaigns have “achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent of violent resistance campaigns,” yet the implementation process of organizing a peaceful protest isn’t entirely well understood.

As a community organizer, activist, and PhD student focusing on social inclusion, I suggest these seven tips on how to organize a peaceful protest. Continue Reading →

December 2, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Mapping Strengths and Gaps: A Hybrid Approach to Better Evaluation

Madhawa Palihapitiya, associate director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) at UMass Boston’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, was invited to present a paper on the development of a hybrid needs assessment and asset mapping system at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) annual conference in Atlanta.

Needs assessment is a systematic study of a problem or deficit by incorporating data and opinions from varied sources to make effective decisions or recommendations about what should happen next. [1] However, the focus of asset mapping is to inventory the skills, talents, and networks already working on the issue in the community and to examine how to further mobilize or leverage these networks. Continue Reading →

November 25, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Report: Many Women in New England Face Economic Insecurity, Not Recovery

The fitful economic recovery after the Great Recession has raised overall earnings for women in New England, but income inequality persists, according to a new report from UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

The publication, “Recovery for All? A Snapshot of Women’s Economic Status in New England,” finds that while women’s overall earnings are now higher than pre-recession levels, other key indicators demonstrate a growing wage gap for many women—especially minorities and low-wage workers.

Read the full story on our website.

November 23, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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2016 Election Results Exposed a Fractured Media Landscape

by Michael Ahn
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

We went through this election season in our own bubbles–self-selected media networks reflective our political preference, social media sites with friends “like” us, and other various online sources of our choice–where we selectively chose facts, opinions, or conspiracy theories. We have become insulated in our selected networks of like-minded people with no links to “the other side.” There was a “fracture” in our information environment where we constantly reinforced our views and opinions with other like-minded people. Until the end, we thought the polls reflected the likely outcome of this year’s election.  We now know polls were off in predicting the likely winner of this year’s presidential election partly because they underrepresented likely Trump voters in their sampling and partly because the respondents were not truthful in expressing their preference, in particular, in expressing their support for Trump.

Read Ahn’s full blog posted by the Brookings Institution.

November 23, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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How NOT to Avoid Political Conversations at Your Holiday Dinner

by Karen Ross
Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

holiday dinner

Credit: Flickr user Zeetz Jones

Are you hoping you can avoid political conversations with family at the holiday dinner table or are you dreading a confrontation with that know-it-all brother-in-law? The recent election cycle has made evident the deep divisions that exist in the United States. As we head into the holiday season, the desire to avoid political conversations is understandable. These are difficult discussions to have in any context, all the more so at a holiday dinner in the wake of an election campaign that has left people along the political spectrum feeling angry, fearful, joyful, arrogant, and dismissive. It is easy for conversations to turn into attacks that leave nobody feeling better and certainly don’t result in changes of opinion.

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