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Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides

Reaching Across the Divide (Essential Partners)

Talking Politics (Living Room Conversations)

United or Divided (Living Room Conversations)

Bridging the Political Divide (National Institute for Civil Discourse)

A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want? (National Issues Forums)

Bridging Divides Conversations

Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 08:30 AM EST through December 15, 2019

Day-long Red/Blue Workshop – Ann Arbor, MI

Red/Blue Workshops bring together 5-7 Republican or conservative-leaning citizens and 5-7 Democratic or liberal-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations.  Here’s what you can expect to get out of a workshop:

1: Better understand the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide
2: Find areas of commonality in addition to differences
3: Learn something that might be helpful to you and to others in your community and the nation
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM EST

Skills Workshop-Chapel Hill, NC

Contact Bonnie Gilliom (bbgilliom@gmail.com) for exact location. 

In our current polarized political environment, many people avoid or dread political conversations with friends or family members whose politics differ from their own. They worry, rightly so, that any attempts at political discussions will devolve into arguments and acrimony, and result in hurt feelings or anger.

Better Angels Skills Workshops teach skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship. They also give participants a safe environment to practice those skills.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 06:00 PM EST
William K Sanford Town Library in Loudonville, NY

Better Angels Style Debate- Albany, NY

You probably haven’t experienced anything like a Better Angels Debate. It’s not a political debate, where competing candidates attempt to win votes. Nor is it a high school or college debate, where people advocate positions in which they may not believe for the sole purpose of vanquishing their foes.

A Better Angels Debate is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships.

YOU will chose the topics for this debate, two topics altogether. Bring your best arguments and let's start the DEBATE!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/better-angels-style-debate-tickets-77549926919

Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 09:00 AM EST

Better Angels Skills Workshop-SaddleBrooke, AZ

There's a lot of stress these days among friends and family members who are divided politically, and the current polarized public conversation doesn't help. Please join us for the free Better Angels SkillsWorkshop December 19 from 9am-noon in the Sonoran Room at Mountain View to learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-talk-across-the-political-divide-better-angels-skills-workshop-tickets-79742190037

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 06:30 PM EST

What is the most critical political issue today, and why? A Make Shift Coffee House Conversation

What is the most critical political issue today, and why?

As with all Make Shift Coffee Houses, this is not a debate. It’s simply about listening and understanding each other’s political views, talking with our neighbors, and enjoying good company. Independents, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, we want to hear from all of you.  Everyone welcome!

Live music, free coffee and snacks will be provided.

For directions check out this Google Map.

For more information, follow this link to the Events Page on the Make Shift Coffee House website.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 09:00 AM EST
Maine State Library in Augusta, ME

Make Shift Training: How to facilitate conversation across the political divide.

Make Shift Coffee House Founder, Craig Freshley is offering a full day of training in Maine on January 15, 2020. Whether you intend to facilitate an actual Make Shift Coffee House or not, this training will be valuable to anyone who wants to facilitate respectful conversation among people with different views for the purpose of understanding each other. And if you do facilitate a Make Shift Coffee House after attending the training, organizers are offering $500 for your services.

Here’s a link to the training page on the Make Shift Coffee House website. Learn all about it here.

For directions check out this Google Map.

 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 06:30 PM EST
United Church of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Better Angels Depolarizing Within Workshop-Chapel Hill, NC

This workshop consists of four one-hour sessions, January 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Attendance at all 4 sessions is very important*. Please register for all four sessions by clicking on "Select a Date" then clicking on a ticket for each of the 4 sessions, then clicking on "Register" (tip - uncheck the box requesting notifications from Eventbrite unless you like to get lots of email)

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies. This free, four-week workshop helps participants become more aware of their own "inner polarizer." It teaches how to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population. And it offers strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Who can come? Anyone interested in examining their own inner polarization.

Each session will be preceded by a meal at 5:45.pm provided by various volunteer organizations. Workshop participants are invited to jion us for this meal and make a donation to support the cause promoted by the organization providing the meal.

Questions? Contact Jack Denniston at jldenniston3@gmail.com

*If you cannot commit to attending all four sessions, it would be better to wait and plan to attend another Depolarizing Within Workshop in the future. 

 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/better-angels-depolarizing-within-workshop-tickets-78056869197 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 06:30 PM EST
United Church of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Better Angels Depolarizing Within Workshop Session 2

Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 12:00 PM CST

Better Angels Documentary Screening - Allen, TX

Contact Marty Jones (martyjones1128@gmail.com) for more information.  

https://www.better-angels.org/event/documentary-screening-allen-tx/

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 08:30 AM EST through January 30, 2020

Skills Workshop – Pasadena, MD

Learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground and affirm the importance of maintaining relationships with those on the other side of the political divide. Practice conversation skills in pairs with someone of your same political persuasion. Registration required. Presented by the Better Angels Alliance of Eagan.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST

Better Angels Skills Workshop-Pasadena, MD

Contact Romey Pittman (romey.pittman@gmail.com) or Keith Kozloff (keith.kozloff@verizon.net) for more information.

https://www.better-angels.org/event/skills-workshop-pasadena-md/ 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 06:30 PM EST
United Church of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Better Angels Depolarizing Within Workshop Session 3-Chapel Hill, NC

This workshop consists of four one-hour sessions, January 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Attendance at all 4 sessions is very important*. Please register for all four sessions by clicking on "Select a Date" then clicking on a ticket for each of the 4 sessions, then clicking on "Register" (tip - uncheck the box requesting notifications from Eventbrite unless you like to get lots of email)

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies. This free, four-week workshop helps participants become more aware of their own "inner polarizer." It teaches how to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population. And it offers strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Who can come? Anyone interested in examining their own inner polarization.

Each session will be preceded by a meal at 5:45.pm provided by various volunteer organizations. Workshop participants are invited to jion us for this meal and make a donation to support the cause promoted by the organization providing the meal.

Questions? Contact Jack Denniston at jldenniston3@gmail.com

*If you cannot commit to attending all four sessions, it would be better to wait and plan to attend another Depolarizing Within Workshop in the future.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/better-angels-depolarizing-within-workshop-tickets-78056869197 

Wednesday, February 05, 2020 at 06:30 PM EST
United Church of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Better Angels Depolarizing Within Workshop Session 4-Chapel Hill, NC

This workshop consists of four one-hour sessions, January 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Attendance at all 4 sessions is very important*. Please register for all four sessions by clicking on "Select a Date" then clicking on a ticket for each of the 4 sessions, then clicking on "Register" (tip - uncheck the box requesting notifications from Eventbrite unless you like to get lots of email)

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies. This free, four-week workshop helps participants become more aware of their own "inner polarizer." It teaches how to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population. And it offers strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Who can come? Anyone interested in examining their own inner polarization.

Each session will be preceded by a meal at 5:45.pm provided by various volunteer organizations. Workshop participants are invited to jion us for this meal and make a donation to support the cause promoted by the organization providing the meal.

Questions? Contact Jack Denniston at jldenniston3@gmail.com

*If you cannot commit to attending all four sessions, it would be better to wait and plan to attend another Depolarizing Within Workshop in the future.

 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/better-angels-depolarizing-within-workshop-tickets-78056869197 

Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST through March 01, 2020

Day-long Red/Blue Workshop-Dayton, OH

Goals of a Red/Blue Workshop

  • To better understand the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide.
  • To see if there are areas of commonality in addition to differences.
  • To learn something that might be helpful to others in our community and the nation.

https://www.better-angels.org/event/day-long-red-blue-workshop-dayton-oh-2/

Thursday, May 07, 2020 at 12:00 PM PDT
Sandy Library in Sandy, OR

Better Angels Skills Workshop-Sandy, OR

Contact Cynthia O'Brian (cynthiaobrienmusic@gmail.com) for more information.