Richmond Virginia – on the surface, a freshly vibrant, modern city, expanding daily with new opportunities.
But gentrification carries a price in the form of poverty and income inequality, leaving many no longer able to afford to live in the communities they grew up in. Ironically, the city’s revival becomes a catalyst for racial and economic displacement.
Richmond is also the former capital of the Confederacy, a history the community still struggles to reconcile, expressed bluntly by Monument Avenue, a road lined with beautiful homes and its namesake confederate monuments that divide the region.
Its vexing contradictions make Richmond a uniquely appropriate pilot site for American Lodestar(TM), the interactive experience where opposites unite and compete to solve one city’s America-sized problem, illuminating a path forward for a divided nation and launching the next generation of political rising stars.
Forged in the pressure cooker of ideological rivalry, competition and high stakes, American Lodestar uses a unique forum to engender collaboration across party lines to break through the barriers to progress – a living laboratory for a new brand of people-powered political innovation.
The Richmond competition will be captured on video and professionally edited in a unique interactive, documentary-style format, serving as a pilot for a digital platform with the potential for national reach.
During the development phase, participants will work with key Richmond political, community and business leaders to select the most compelling signature issue to address.
By forming dynamic, highly motivated teams, each comprised of one Democrat and one Republican tasked with finding solutions to one of Richmond's most challenging problems, bold new ideas will emerge that provide a roadmap for future cooperation.
The team receiving the most votes from the online audience will receive funding, resources and public awareness to put their solution in to action.
Competing in their hometown setting, many participants and their families have a direct stake in the outcome of the competition. Human dramas lend the issues meaning conspicuously absent from mainstream news coverage of related issues. More tangibly, the competition will result in a cash reward,applied to implementing the winning proposal, under stewardship of the winning team, providing a direct benefit to the city.
American Lodestar rewards local visionaries with the courage, imagination and ambition to engage the “other side” in a microcosm of the epic struggle for national harmony. Incentivized to build consensus and forge progress through innovation and good old American ingenuity, they herald a new breed of political rising stars.
And while finding a fresh solution for Richmond, the winning team and its vision will serve as a beacon for other American communities to step up and do something just as big.
If you are interested in participating in the American Lodestar Richmond competition, or working with us on its development and production, please complete the form below.