by the Civil Society Fellowship, A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute

Kaci Patterson (left); Blair Milo (center); Shawn Barney (right)

Meet three Civil Society Fellows who work in government, philanthropy and business — and who are all opening conversations about racial equity with leadership in those sectors.

We sat down together (virtually) for a wide-ranging conversation about race in these sectors today. One Fellow likened systemic racism to cancer, a formidable foe that requires vast stores of energy to fight. Here’s an edited Q&A of our conversation with these three Fellows:

Shawn Barney is Managing Director of CLB Porter, a real estate development and public finance advisory…


by Ashley Bell and Lauren McCann

Ashley Bell is a partner at the global law firm Dentons in Atlanta and former regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. Lauren McCann is the vice president of Stand Together and Founder of Calliope Advisors in Virginia. Both are members of the 2019 inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship: A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute.

Lauren McCann (far left) and Ashley Bell (second from left) in early 2020, with Civil Society Fellows Samah Abukhodeir and Isaiah Oliver

Refinancing a sports venue may not sound like exciting news. …


We have finally reached the end of this long, draining, painful year.

What have we learned from this tumultuous time? How have we changed? What’s our wish for 2021?

We created the Civil Society Fellowship: A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute in 2019 to begin to heal long-simmering fissures in society. And yet for all the need we saw back then, we could not have predicted how deeply urgent this work would feel right now, how desperate we are to see and hear one another.

Our first cohort of Fellows is a rich stew of people from widely…


The election is over, the pandemic continues its deadly march, and the chasm in our society feels bottomless.

And yet, peek inside everyday America and witness glimmers of grace. If only we take the time to look.

The Civil Society Fellowship: A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute recently held a virtual national Town Hall, Towards a More Civil Society: Conversations Across America, about the current hyper-polarization in America, through the lens of questions such as: “What is your dream for America?” “What is a good society?” and “What does America mean to you?”

Eleven of our inaugural Fellows…


by Nike Irvin, Managing Director of the Civil Society Fellowship: A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute

When 2020 finally ends, I hope we remember it as the year Americans chose to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Faced with a series of extraordinary challenges this year — from a pandemic and a battered economy to glaring exposure of an unequal justice system and bitterly contested elections — the image staring back at us is one of a fractured society.

It’s time for a hard reset so that we can rebuild our society and tear down the…

Civil Society Fellowship: An ADL/Aspen Partnership

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