et's Depolarize America by...
BECOMING A BETTER ANGEL IN OUR OWN WORLD
A Better Angels Workshop
Much of today’s epidemic of toxic 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. Although political polarization in some form has always been around, it was less problematic when people interacted more outside their own silos. Nowadays, people on the other side have become not just strangers but enemies. How we talk among ourselves about them fuels fires that threaten our democracy.
What if we learn the discipline of non-polarizing attitudes and words about the political “Other” with whom we do share a national past and future?
This workshop will:
Help you become more aware of your inner polarizer
Help you learn ways to depolarize yourself so that you can disagree withoutdemonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping the millions of people who differ from you politically
Teach you skills for how to intervene in social conversations with like-minded people when those conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views
Better Angels is a non-profit organization, a bipartisan grass-roots effort currently active in all 50 states. For more information, go to https://www.better-angels.org
How To Talk Across the Political Divide
There's a lot of stress these days among family members and friends who are divided politically, and the current polarized public conversation doesn't help. Please join us for a Better Angels Skills Workshop to learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship.
After a presentation, you will have an opportunity to practice listening and speaking skills. You will practice in a pair with someone of your same political persuasion—red or blue—role-playing the opposing point of view. “Reds” lean conservative and tend to vote Republican. “Blues” lean liberal and tend to vote Democratic. If you fall somewhere in the middle, you can choose a side for purposes of practicing the skills.
Who can come? Anyone interested in having better conversations with people on the other side of the political aisle.
Questions? Contact Sandra Xenakis: sjxena AT yahoo.com
This workshop is being sponsored by St. Paul United Church of Christ, Saline, MI
NOTE: The workshop will begin promptly at 1PM, so please arrive a few minutes early to get settled. The venue will be open starting at 12:30PM.
Better Angels: https://www.better-angels.org/our-story/
St. Paul's: http://www.uccstpaul.org
Contact Denice Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) for exact location.
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, three-hour 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.
Last month, filmmaker Brian Ellison, anthropologist Marlon Hall, and sculptor Anthony Suber launched a series of conversations focused on the black male experience in contemporary society called "The Black Man Project." Curated by Hall, the dinner series features a moving sculpture created by Suber with conversation centered around a documentary directed by Ellison, UnMASKulinity, debuting next year.
After a day spent in each community shooting for the film, the organizers host a confluence of 16 men from a variety of backgrounds in a recorded environment of listening and learning. Travis McPhail, the Engineering Lead for Maps SDK at Google, is working alongside the group to help identify men to participate in the discussion.
The group, along with other experts in the arts and education, will create a curriculum to accompany the dinner series aiming to empower communities to continue the conversation long after the dinner is over. According to Mental Health America, Black men are particularly conscious of stigma when it comes to seeking help from an expert such as a psychologist.
The events are hosted by The Black Man Project and funded in part by grants from the John Steven Kellet Foundation and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
What is a Skills Workshop?
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.
In addition to the standard skills workshop, Better Angels also holds special skills workshops: one designed especially for Reds, and the other designed for Blues.
Skills workshops are approximately 2 ½ hours long.
Contact Eliza Hawkins (email@example.com) for more information.
You are invited to a Better Angels community debate! You probably haven’t experienced anything like it. It is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another. 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. The topic of the debate will be selected prior to the event, by you, the attendees.
If you have questions, please contact Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to hold Statewide Listening Tour
Staff from the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet will host a series of listening tour meetings across the State of Indiana in an effort to deliver information regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) 2020 State Strategic Plan. The listening tour will include an overview of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, the planning surrounding the development of the state strategic plan, and allow participants to engage in the process. Time will be allotted to discuss barriers Hoosiers are facing, as well as to hear a variety of perspectives from attendees.
Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends. Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times.
ADMISSION IS FREE
About Prof. Michael Krasner
Queens College Political Science Professor Michael Krasner is an expert in American government and politics. As co-director of the Taft Institute for Government at Queens College, he works to expand and enhance citizen participation by promoting a better understanding of the political process.
A 90-minute conversation with optional 30-minute Q & A with hosts. Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-7 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share and learn. No preparation is required.
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: