Transition US in partnership with U.S. Department of Arts and Culture* presents: THE PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE UNION

Update: As of 12/31/14, 83 communities across the U.S. have signed up to participate in the People's State of the Union by hosting a "story circle" between January 23-30, 2015. Read on to learn more, or sign up to host your own story circle at


Once a year, the President delivers the State of the Union address to highlight important national issues from the past year and suggest priorities for the year to come. It’s a broadcast from one to many.

But what if, once a year, we could all speak and listen to each other? What if the annual address was not a speech spoken by one, but a poem created by many?

Transition US, in partnership with the U.S. Deptartment of Arts and Culture (USDAC), is excited to announce the People’s State of the Union, the first in a series of new, participatory civic rituals. From January 23-30, 2015, people across the country are invited to convene "story circles" with neighbors, friends, and community members to respond to three prompts:

● Tell a story about a moment you felt true belonging—or the opposite—in this country or in your community.

● Describe an experience that showed you something new or important about the state of our union.

● Share about a time you stood together with people in your community.

Stories will be shared back online, inspiring commentary from the USDAC National Cabinet, and the creation of the 2015 People's State of the Union Address, devised collaboratively by a diverse group of poets. This address will be delivered as a poem, livestreamed from NYC on February 1, and shared online via text and video.

How to participate: Register by January 8th to host a story circle in your community! A story circle event can be 6-10 people in a living room, a larger gathering with multiple story circles in a theater, school, or community center —or anything in between. A free online facilitation training and a step-by-step toolkit make it easy to host.

It’s been a challenging year: what stories do you think need telling?

Find out more and sign-up at

*The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is not an official government agency, but a people-powered movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social imagination.

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