Local News | Longmont school to offer summer classes on democracy

May 23—The School of Statesmanship, Stewardship, and Service is inviting the Longmont community to learn more about the role of democracy in five new classes this summer.

The "Awakening Democracy" series of classes will focus on how individuals can bolster democracy locally and nationally. All five of the seminars fit within the school's teachings on effective communication skills and leadership principles.

"What we don't want to see these five classes become is a conversation on national politics, or a conversation on partisanship," said Mike Butler, co-founder of SOSSAS and former Longmont Public Safety chief. "These five classes are very much headed toward, 'How can we strengthen democracy in our local community?'"

Classes will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays, beginning June 3 and ending July 1, at the St. Vrain Innovation Center, 33 Quail Road.

Butler said the content of the classes seems especially important to highlight during a presidential election year.

"People are discussing democracy — the essence of it, the potential fragile nature of it, the dangers to it," Butler said. "So there's more conversation going on about that, given what people perceive as divisiveness and partisanship and polarization."

The classes are free and open to all members of the public. Butler explained that the decision not to charge for the classes is a way to give back to the Longmont community during a turbulent year.

"We don't see the community as a problem to be solved, we see it as a possibility," Butler said. "We're not doing this for the state, or for the region, or anybody else. If we really do try to strengthen our democracy locally, we get closer to what those possibilities look like."

Since launching the school last fall, Butler and SOSSAS co-founder Carol Engel-Enright have hosted 15 classes at the Innovation Center. Butler said SOSSAS has received requests from people and groups across the country, including a couple of national police organizations, to use the school's curriculum.

"The feedback has been terrific," Butler said. "Of the people who have attended these classes, not one person has not come back. They want to do all 45 classes as we move forward with this."

To register for the "Awakening Democracy" series, visit sossas.org.