Red Blue Dictionary

The Red Blue Dictionary, in partnership with Allsides, is a collaborative effort with dozens of dialogue experts from the NCDD network, to create a site that gives definitions for a wide variety of words to help those all across the political spectrum better understand each other.

The idea for the website stemmed from the “Red Blue Dialogue brainstorming session” at the 2012 NCDD conference in Seattle, where Joan Blades, Amanda Roman and Jacob Hess decided to further develop the idea. Living Room Conversations, in early 2016, continued to support the effort by funding Jacob Hess to develop the site. Since then, all contributions to flesh out the Red Blue dictionary have been on a volunteer basis. You can peruse some of the highlight of the Red Blue dictionary below and find the full site here.

From the site…

This guide to America’s contested vocabulary has been written by a politically diverse team of 30 contributors from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s Team of Rivals, our editorial and contributor teams draw together dialogue experts from maximally diverse backgrounds: religious & atheist, liberal & conservative, Marxist & capitalist, anarchist & libertarian, independent & partisan, hippie & traditionalist, Neil Diamond fans & the rest of us.

Are Americans losing the capacity to disagree in healthy ways? If so, how can we restore (and preserve) our civic ecosystem?

What would it mean to get curious about our differences? (and maybe even smile a little..)

Welcome to a Less-Painful, More Enjoyable Conversation

TOPIC-SPECIFIC TALKING-TIPS
Overwhelmed at the thought of venturing into contested word-territory. Have no fear! Issue-specific guides have been created to lay the groundwork to get you moving.

DIALOGUE EXAMPLES
And you thought super-heroes were cool? Buckle up…because these dialogue pioneers are going to rock your world.

REAL-TIME WORD WATCHERS
Every day some word seems to take on a new meaning…or lose an old…or become weaponized. We’re keeping an eye on that (78 eyes, to be exact) – to help you stay on top of it all!

ACCESSIBLE, EASY-READING
Worried about slipping into some college textbook? Don’t be. We’ve written textbooks before and don’t like them either…!

POLITICAL HUMOR
When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Beware – because we’re coming after you with political bumper-stickers (and lots of other giggle-provocateurs).

TROLL-PROOF COMMENT SYSTEM
Tired of spending your life listening in to ONE more nasty-aggressive-mean-spirited comment? (Us too) We came across an innovator with the answer…and we think you’re gonna like it!

JUICY QUESTIONS
Tired of (more) small-talk at family parties? Pull one of these mind-popping inquiries out and let the (better) times roll!

WORD MAPS
Confused at why that word means X to THEM and Y to THOSE PEOPLE? Lucky for you! We got some of THEM and THOSE PEOPLE to collaborate on a guide to help us make sense of it all…hope it’s helpful!

CONVERSATION CATALYSTS
Stumped with a word (or person-using-a-word) that you really-cannot-fathom? Check out some of our suggested links to videos and other reading sure to liven (and loosen) things up a bit…

Categorical
The following categories are offered as another way to help orient readers to the terms, which are otherwise organized alphabetically. These categories are organized thematically in general idea clusters – with each term potentially showing up more than once across the different categories:

Race, Ethnicity & Class
Food, Environment & Health
Gender, Sexuality & Family
Life, Death & Conflict
Spirituality, Religion & Doubt
Money, Power & Freedom
Government Systems & Agencies
American History & Tradition
U.S.-World Relations
Education, Learning & Knowledge
Hostility, Dialogue & Peace
Judgment, Interpretation & Deliberation
Liberal & Progressive Thinking
Conservative & Traditional Thinking
U.S. Elections 2016
New & Unusual Terms

Find the Red Blue Dictionary explorations of these categories at the resource link below!

Resource Link: http://redbluedictionary.org/

Not in Our Town Quick Start Guide

The Not in Our Town Quick Start Guide: Working together for safe, inclusive communities, was created by Not in Our Town (NIOT) and updated March 2013. The guide gives five steps to begin a campaign in your town or school to stop hate, address bullying, and build safer communities together

Below is an excerpt from the guide, which can be downloaded from NIOT’s site here or at the link at the bottom of the page.

From the guide…

You may be someone who is concerned about divisions in your neighborhood or school, or you may live in a community that has experienced hate-based threats or violence. Even just one individual or a small group can start a movement to stand up to hate.

Not In Our Town is a program for people and communities working together to stop hate, address school bullying and build safe, inclusive environments for all.

This quick guide provides steps for starting a Not In Our Town campaign that fits your local needs.

The ideas in this guide came from people in communities like yours who wanted to do something about hate and intolerance. Their successful efforts have been a shining light for the Not In Our Town movement.

Guiding Principles:
The steps that follow align with these core ideas…

– Silence is acceptance.
– Visible inclusion sends a positive message.
– Change happens when we work together.

Steps for Starting a Not in Our Town Campaign:

Step 1: Map out your allies
Think big, but don’t be afraid to start small. Change can start with a handful of people. But creating broad-based support will not only help your campaign, it will pave the way for deeper connections throughout your town or city.

Whether you have an existing group or are creating a new one, do an inventory of the people and organizations who support diversity, want to foster inclusion, and who may share your concerns about hate activity. Be sure to reach out to community groups that represent the targets of hate.

Step 2: Convene a meeting to launch efforts
Arrange an initial meeting with the above groups and individuals. Develop an agenda that allows time for introductions and getting to know each other. Acknowledge that standing up to hate and fostering inclusion is a long-term problem that takes time, but there may be some issues that need swift action. Discuss how to build and maintain an ongoing group that suits local needs, keeps everyone informed, and allows for meaningful participation for everyone.

Then, get busy.

Step 3: Identify issue(s) of highest concern
Every Not In Our Town campaign takes on the characteristics of the community and responds to local issues and needs. Hate and intolerance take on many forms, and your first meeting is likely to surface one or more issues of concern. Is it racism, religious intolerance, sexual orientation bias, bullying in schools? What group is most affected by these acts of hate? What can the group do about it together? Who are the key leaders of the affected groups? How can they be included in the group planning?

Step 4: Make your values visible develop an inclusive community-based action plan

Create a plan to respond to the issues of highest concern in your community. You may adapt one or more ideas for your group:

– Public Events
– Pledges and Petitions
– School Engagement
– Film Screenings and Dialogue
– Public Displays of Support
– Proclamations and Welcome Signs

For examples from the Not In Our Town movement, including videos, how-tos and sample materials, see accompanying guide, “Ten Ideas for Sparking Action in Your Town.”

Step 5: Analyze success, connect, and learn from others

Talk to each other and your community about what’s working and what isn’t, what to do next time, and how to resolve any conflicts that arose between group members. Change is hard, and disagreements are inevitable, but they can be worked out if people commit to long-term, agreed upon goals.

Don’t forget to publicize and document your efforts so the ideas can spread and help recruit new community members. Take photos, film interviews, write articles and collect materials to share with the Not In Our Town community around the world. Email items to web@niot.org for inclusion on www.niot.org.

Map your story here: www.niot.org/map. On NIOT.org, you can share your successes, challenges and your town’s story, and connect and learn from others.

About Not in Our Townniot_logo
Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all. Not In Our Town films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate.

Our unique approach is based on the premise that real change takes place at the local level. We focus on solutions to inspire and empower communities to create a world where:

  • All residents stand together to stop hate and promote safety and inclusion for all
  • Students and school leaders work to prevent bullying and intolerance, and promote kindness
  • Law enforcement and communities join forces to prevent hate crimes and violence

Follow on Twitter: @notinourtown

Resource Link: www.niot.org/guide/quickstart

Truth-telling, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice

Truth-telling, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice, is a course taught at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. The course is part of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, under Session IV,  and taught by Cal Stauffer and Fania Davis.

To learn more about the rest of the courses offered at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, click here.

From the description…

The call for “truth-telling” has become paramount in the quest for justice. This course critically explores the linkages between truth and justice and grapples with the form and function of truth-telling in the pursuit of justice. Multiple approaches to truth-telling both informal (indigenous practices) and formal (truth & reconciliation commissions) will be surveyed and analyzed. Class participants engage in truth-telling exercises in response to working with historical harms, transitional justice processes, and racial justice issues both on the domestic and international fronts. Of particular interest is the recent call for a truth-telling processes in dealing with police violence against young men of color in the US context.

Together, we will grapple with the following questions:

– What does truth-telling mean?
– How do we practice truth-telling?
– What does it mean to speak the truth to oppressive powers
– How do we “bear witness” against deep injustices in the public domain?
– What are the best containers and structures for holding truth-telling processes in public spaces?

This course is being offered for training and for academic credit. The syllabus will detail the number of credits hours and associated course requirements.

emu_cjpAbout EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding educates a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory and research. Our combined vision is to prepare, transform, and sustain leaders to create a just and peaceful world.

Follow on Twitter: @CJP_EMU

About the Summer Peacebuilding Institute
The Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) provides useful and intellectually stimulating opportunities to learn more about yourself, others and the world around you. Courses are designed for people interested in integrating conflict transformation, peacebuilding, restorative justice, and related fields into their own work and personal life.

Resource Link: www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/courses/truth-telling-reconciliation-and-restorative-justice/

When Relationships Are Not Enough: Reconciling with Genocide

The article, When Relationships Are Not Enough: Reconciling with Genocide, by Dave Joseph was published September 21, 2015 on Public Conversations Project’s blog. In the article, Joseph reflects on his recent trip to Rwanda and the many intense and challenging emotions that arose when paying respects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The memorial honors those murdered in the 1994 genocide committed against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Joseph explores how such an extreme atrocity can happen and how this affects people to dialogue- what is possible for reconciliation when such profound violence has occurred?

Below is an excerpt of the article and it can also be found on the Public Conversations Project blog here.

From Public Conversations Project…

What relationships make possible
As a dialogue practitioner and trainer, I have seen opponents recognize one another’s humanity, building an improbable bridge across differences in identities, core values and world views. I have witnessed participants listen to understand and for the first time, be able to see things from a new perspective. I have watched people move from a stance of certainty in their own “rightness” to entertaining the possibility that others might not be “wrong,” but might be approaching the issue from very different life experiences and values.

PCP_quoteDialogue holds the possibility of enemies transforming their relationships and finding ways to coexist, even as their differences remain. Dialogue makes possible the development and deepening of relationships, building of trust and mutual understanding that can lay the foundation for connection, coexistence, community, and collaboration. When people see each other as human beings, it becomes much harder to demonize, dehumanize, stereotype or do violence onto one another.

Where relationships were not enough
What I saw in the museum, however, challenged many of these beliefs. Hutus and Tutsis lived together, shared a common language, worshiped together, intermarried and watched their children attend the same schools. But from April through July, 1994, the “protective factor” of relationship did not prevent one of the most horrific genocides of the 20th century. The downing of the President’s plane triggered pre-planned attacks that quickly eliminated any potential opposition to the ethnic cleansing. Approximately 70% of the Tutsi population and 20% of the general population were slaughtered. Neighbor turned against neighbor; people were betrayed and killed by those whom they had previously trusted and with whom they had enjoyed long-standing relationships, friendships and fellowship.

How to reconcile with the unthinkable
I am left with the confusion of trying to make sense out of what was truly senseless. I still believe that relationships, connection, and trust lie at the heart of community and society. I still believe that while differences are inevitable, demonization, dehumanization and violence are not. We, as human beings, have within us the power to reach out, to connect, to respect each other even as we retain awareness of our differences. Equally challenging is avoiding the seductive pull of responding to difference with fear, which can overwhelm the “better angels of our nature” and lead to violence. What was so striking in the many accounts that I read and heard at the museum was how perpetrators attributed motivations and intentions to those whom they later destroyed. How tragic and ironic that they saw their victims as presenting the kind of threat that could only be responded to with deadly violence.

Why we must continue to foster mutual understanding
I still believe in the power of mutual recognition, of understanding and of connecting as fellow human beings. And I recognize that there will be circumstances in which this will not be enough. Each of us is called upon to act upon the courage of our convictions, to do what is right. To confront our awareness of difference, to look deeply within and to engage in ways that acknowledge our common humanity and interdependence. There were a few stories in the museum of incredibly courageous individuals who acted, at great danger to themselves, to shelter and protect their friends, family and countrymen. My trip to the Genocide Memorial included a visit to the mass grave where more than 250,000 victims were buried. It left me sobered by the thought that each of us has the opportunity and responsibility to work to try to heal this very broken world.

About Public Conversations ProjectPCP_logo
Public Conversations Project fosters constructive conversation where there is conflict driven by differences in identity, beliefs, and values. We work locally, nationally, and globally to provide dialogue facilitation, training, consultation, and coaching. We help groups reduce stereotyping and polarization while deepening trust and collaboration and strengthening communities.

Follow on Twitter: @pconversations

Resource Link: www.publicconversations.org/blog/when-relationships-are-not-enough-reconciling-genocide

Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY]

In 2005, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY] was co-created by Fania Davis and members of the Oakland community and government. RJOY works to implement programs within schools, the community and juvenile justice system; beginning with a pilot program at West Oakland middle school in 2007. In the places where restorative justice has been implemented, there has been a noticeable decrease in youth violence, crimes and recidivism; and an increase in victim satisfaction and reconciliation of affected parties.

RJOYRestorative justice provides an alternative to our current retributive justice system, by shifting to bring in all affected parties, addressing the harms done and find ways to heal all affected parties. Our current justice system is designed to answer the questions: “Who did what and how can we punish them?” In contrast, restorative justice asks the questions:

“Who was harmed? What are the needs and responsibilities of all those affected? “How do all affected parties come together to heal?”

Restorative justice has had remarkable success in shifting the way that justice is carried out to better benefit the affected parties and community as a whole. Modern practices of restorative justice have been around for 30+ years, but are grounded in ancient, indigenous justice practices.

To learn more about restorative justice and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth [RJOY], check out the site here.

From the site…

History
The dramatic successes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in healing the wounds of mass violence in South Africa and of restorative juvenile justice legislation in making youth incarceration virtually obsolete in New Zealand inspired civil rights attorney and community activist Fania E. Davis to explore the possibility of an Oakland initiative. In 2005, others joined the effort, including Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel and community activist Aeeshah Clottey. Nancy hosted a series of meetings at her office, attended by community members, judges, educators, law students and representatives of the District Attorney’s, Public Defender’s, and Human Services offices. With a small grant from Measure Y, Oakland’s voter-approved violence prevention initiative, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) was born.

Mission
Disparately impacting youth of color, punitive school discipline and juvenile justice policies activate tragic cycles of youth violence, incarceration, and wasted lives. Founded in 2005, RJOY works to interrupt these cycles by promoting institutional shifts toward restorative approaches that actively engage families, communities, and systems to repair harm and prevent re-offending. RJOY focuses on reducing racial disparities and public costs associated with high rates of incarceration, suspension, and expulsion. We provide education, training, and technical assistance and collaboratively launch demonstration programs with our school, community, juvenile justice, and research partners.

Beginning in 2007, RJOY’s city-funded West Oakland Middle School pilot project eliminated violence and expulsions, and reduced suspension rates by 87%, saving the school thousands in attendance and Title I funding. Inspired by the successes of our Middle School pilot, by May 2008, nearly 20 Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) principals requested training to launch programs at their sites. We have served over 1000 youth in Oakland’s schools. UC Berkeley Law’s Henderson Center for Social Justice evaluated the Middle School pilot and released a study in February 2011. A publication on implementing restorative initiatives in schools produced in collaboration with the Alameda County Health Care Agency is forthcoming. In 2010, the OUSD Board of Directors passed a resolution adopting restorative justice as a system-wide alternative to zero tolerance discipline and as an approach to creating healthier schools.

RJOY has enjoyed similar success in the juvenile justice arena. In 2007, we gave educational presentations to the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court and others. Impressed with the restorative justice model, the judge convened a Restorative Justice Task Force. RJOY provided education and training and helped initiate a planning process which engaged approximately 60 program directors- including probation, court, school, and law enforcement officials, as well as community-based stakeholders. In 2009, the group produced a Strategic Plan that charts reform of the county’s juvenile justice system through institutionalization of restorative justice. Two innovative restorative diversion and restorative re-entry projects focused on reducing disproportionate minority contact and associated public costs. The pilots have successfully served 19 youth of color. In collaboration with several partners, we now seek funding to expand the pilots.

RJOY has had programs at three school sites- West Oakland Middle School, Ralph Bunche Continuation School, and a three-year demonstration program at East Oakland’s Castlemont Community of Small Schools funded by a grant from The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Goals of the demonstration program were to reduce violence, arrests, and suspensions (particularly of youth of color) while decreasing associated costs and promoting parent and community engagement.

Having trained and made presentations to more than 1500 key justice, community, school, and philanthropic stakeholders as well as youth in the Oakland metropolitan area, and having significantly influenced policy changes in our schools and juvenile justice system, RJOY has already made headway toward its strategic goal of effectuating a fundamental shift from punitive, zero tolerance approaches to youthful wrongdoing that increase harm toward more restorative approaches that heal it.

Resource Link: http://rjoyoakland.org/

The Truth Telling Project

The Truth Telling Project is a grassroots, community-based truth telling process that is designed to share the stories of Black people in the US and their experiences with police violence; and to address the legacies of racism in the US against Black people. The Truth Telling Project arose after the murder of Michael Brown and the lack of indictment of the police officer in his murder. It is a collaborative effort between “the Peace and Justice Studies Association, The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Sophia Project of St.Louis MO and the National Peace Academy”.

The Truth Telling Project developed the The Truth Telling Initiative for Ferguson and Beyond (FTI), to perform community-based hearings of Black peoples’ stories of police violence. The FTI started with an initial panel event Nov 13-14, 2015 in Ferguson, MO; and was recorded to be utilized in living room conversations around the nation. The Truth Telling Project provides support for holding living room conversations called FTI WeFi gatherings- “Watch [parties], Exchange [ideas], Formulate [a plan of action], and Implement [the plan]”; to hear and address the issues of systemic and structural racism against Black people.

To learn more about The Truth Telling Project and the FTI, check out their site here.

From the site…

The information below is excerpted from the Truth Telling Project’s Mandate, the whole document can be read on their site here

In light of the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 and the subsequent findings of the Grand Jury not to indict the officer who shot Mr. Brown, despite witness testimony that his hands were in the raised, “surrender” position, and

In light of the overwhelming number of incidents where unarmed black men, women and children have been assaulted, injured, or killed at the hands of police officers or while in police custody in Ferguson, and

In light of the proliferation of deaths of black men, women and children in the 21st century at the hands of police or while in police custody in the U.S. and

In light of the racist and oppressive nature of Slave Patrols, Fugitive Slave Laws, Jim Crow Laws, Racial Profiling and Stop and Frisk Practices having all served as historical and/or contemporary directives comprising four centuries of police practices violating the lives of black men, women and children in the U.S.:

The Truth Telling Project, on behalf of the citizens of Ferguson, MO calls for the conduct of the Truth Telling Initiative for Ferguson and Beyond (FTI) to allow national and international audiences to listen to first-hand accounts of persons impacted directly and indirectly by police violence in the city of Ferguson and beyond.

The FTI is not for the purpose of exacting revenge or recrimination; additionally, the Truth Telling Project does not endorse violence in any form. The Truth Telling Project supports truth sharing for the purposes of helping all members of society acknowledge the realities and consequences of violence, and work towards the collective healing needed to produce reconciliation.

The Panel charged with listening to testimonial stories will have no powers, but they will be tasked with inquiring and helping others learn how persons came to be directly or indirectly involved in instances of police violence, including harm and death while in police custody. As a necessary part of the truth seeking process, the Panel will also consider questions of individual and institutional responsibility surrounding the stories presented.

It is the firm belief of the Truth Telling Project that giving voice to the voiceless through the power of storytelling will humanize persons in a manner that no Commission report, visual representation or media interview can. Given the historical and perennial nature of violent assaults and deadly encounters between police and African Americans in the U.S., it is urgent that the national and international community be given an opportunity to hear personal accounts directly from those impacted; the FTI will provide this opportunity.

It is the position of the Truth Telling Project that addressing the legacy of structural and systemic racism and its consequences in the U.S. must begin with citizen actions to expose truths. We believe that promoting truth will increase mutual understanding and respect, and lay the foundation needed for healing the long-standing wounds and by-products of oppression in our nation.

There can be no genuine healing and moving forward without honestly, courageously and collectively involving the citizens of Ferguson, MO in confronting truths surrounding accounts of police violence and fully acknowledging the direct and indirect suffering associated with those experiences. Giving recognition to individual experiences and truths is the beginning of healing and the related processes of resolution; each is a necessary step if we are to move our society through, and then past the pain associated with the legacies of racism in the U.S.

“There comes a time in the life of every community when it must look humbly and seriously into its past in order to provide the best possible foundation for moving into a future based on healing and hope.” – The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2006

Follow on Twitter: @TruthTellersUSA

Resource Link: http://thetruthtellingproject.org/

Transforming Historical Harms

The 96-page manual, Transforming Historical Harms by David Anderson Hooker and Amy Potter Czajkowski, was uploaded October 2013 on Coming to the Table‘s site. The manual gives a holistic framework to address historical injustices, in a way that engages all participants, and identifies the aftermath and legacies of [generational] trauma. This manual was developed by Coming to the Table and has been a collective effort of Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP) and their Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program. From the STAR program, came the group Coming to the Table, which itself was launched in 2006 when a group of EMU participants gathered to address the historical trauma between descendants of enslaved African-Americans and enslaver European-Americans.

The framework is given through the lens of trauma and provides a holistic approach to transform traumas from historical injustices for healing to occur. In order to be possible, all participants affected must be included and address all the following aspects: “Facing History; Making Connections; Healing Wounds; and Taking Action”.

The manual provides five sections and an appendix:
Section I: Overview, context and using the manual
Section II: The THH Framework
Section III: Practices of the THH Approach
Section IV: Analysis and Process Design
Section V: Tools and Resources for Practicing the THH Approach

Below is an excerpt from the manual, you can find the it in full on Coming to the Table’s site here.

From the manual…

The THH Framework
The Transforming Historical Harms (THH) manual articulates a Framework for addressing the historical harms mentioned above as well as the many others present in societies around the world. The framework looks at historical injustices and their present manifestations through the lens of trauma and identifies the mechanisms for the transmission of historical trauma: legacies and aftermaths. These are the beliefs and structures responsible for transmitting trauma responses and traumagenic circumstances between generations. The framework then offers a comprehensive approach to transforming historical harms through Facing History; Making Connections; Healing Wounds; and Taking Action. Transforming historical harms must occur through the practice of all these dimensions. The order in which they are engaged can be different, but none can be omitted. This approach will be the primary focus of the manual. Finally, the framework includes the levels at which healing needs to occur, which range from the individual to the international level. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to analysis and interventions at the individual and group levels.

The framework we offer in this manual is unique in several ways. The four part THH Approach is holistic because each dimension is interconnected with the others and the approach only works when all the dimensions are present. The framework introduces specific understandings of the concepts of legacy and aftermath, and transformation is considered incomplete unless both beliefs and structures have been addressed that have been responsible for perpetuating historical trauma and harms. The THH framework includes all groups that have participated in and have been touched by the historical trauma and harms rather than focusing exclusively on the group or groups that have been named the “victims.” There is clear and ample evidence that in the context of massive and historical trauma, those who were victimized, those who perpetrated, those who were bystanders AND the descendants of each group are all effected. It is our assumption that participation and healing is required at some point for all groups in order for the approach to be effective. Not only is it requisite for all groups to participate, but for consideration to be made for the unique manifestations of trauma across generations for each group and for healing interventions to occur at the individual and group levels.

How to use this manual:
The intention of this manual is to provide value to those trying to address the personal, familial, communal and/or societal remnants of traumagenic historical experiences that continue to hurt or limit the lives of individuals, groups, societies and nations. The pain or limitation could result from overt violence such as enslavement, war, colonialism or genocide, or more subtle forms of violence like discrimination, poverty and personal or societal exclusion.

Objectives: Those using this manual will:
1. Learn how historical harms, which are current challenges in our lives and communities, are rooted in large-scale historical traumas.
2. Identify how Legacy and Aftermath describe the transmission of historical trauma and harms.
3. Apply the Transforming Historical Harms Approach that includes:
a. Exploring approaches to facing history that help identify ways to move forward;
b. Learning how making connections — building relationships across historical divisions — can create partnerships capable of working towards effective change;
c. Identifying the importance of creating spaces and methods that welcome and support healing wounds (mind, body and spirit) from truama both individually and collectively; and
d. Taking action to address beliefs, behaviors and structures responsible for ongoing harms.
4. Explore historical trauma and harms in specific contexts, and learn about strategies for using the THH approach in these situations.

Above is an excerpt of the manual. We recommend looking at the manual in full, which can be found here.

About Coming to the Table
Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery. Our vision for the United States is of a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past—from slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned.

Follow on Twitter: @ComingToTable

About EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding educates a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory and research. Our combined vision is to prepare, transform, and sustain leaders to create a just and peaceful world.

Follow on Twitter: @CJP_EMU

Resource Link: http://comingtothetable.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01-Transforming_Historical_Harms.pdf

The Compost of Disagreement: Creating Safe Spaces for Engagement and Action

The 6-page article, The Compost of Disagreement: Creating Safe Spaces for Engagement and Action (2014), by Michele Holt-Shannon and Bruce Mallory, was published in Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 10: Iss. 1. The authors describe the experience coordinating the New Hampshire Listens campaign to address the growing concern around aggressive and combative many public events were becoming from mid-1990s and on. Over years of experience, they found that the more diverse and varied the participants and experiences, the richer the conversation that would emerge. And in order to do so, it is vital to create spaces that are safe for all parties involved, in order for transformative dialogue to take place.

Find the PDF available for download from the Journal of Public Deliberation site here.

From the article…

We understand that one of the most important contributions we can make to public life is to create safe spaces where diverse points of view can be expressed, deeply held differences can be explored, and the potential for discovering common ground amidst the cacophony can be nourished. The work runs counter to the natural tendency to want to “manage difference” or find “consensus” or help everyone to “just get along.” Paradoxically, we use the tools of deliberation to uncover those things that divide in order to find a shared path forward.

We could think about this uncovering and exploration as working the community compost. Taking the raw ingredients of values, beliefs, attitudes, cultural norms, local history, municipal policies and practices, traditional and social media, and the multifaceted personalities of local actors, we strive to create a space that allows for heat, conflict, and the transformation of old patterns and approaches to new kinds of rich, nuanced, adaptive solutions. Believing that knowledge and action are co-constructed in the milieu of community, it is logical that listening to and considering a range of perspectives can give rise to feasible, practical approaches.

In addition, we have witnessed explicit attempts to shut down deliberation and essentially block action by elected and appointed officials. Using audio and video recording devices in ways that are felt as intimidating or harassing, and occasionally displaying side-arms, these vocal few make it hard for others to feel that their views will be heard or respected. We are not suggesting this has become the norm, but the frequency has increased since we began this work. Our response has been to engage these voices as much as possible, both in focused conversations to hear directly their concerns and by welcoming them as participates in public deliberations. With some exceptions, we have found that the use of clear, agreed-upon ground rules; facilitators capable of fostering a respectful, honest, safe conversation; surfacing and recording the disagreements as well as common ground; and close scrutiny of participant evaluations regarding their experiences are all necessary for creating safe spaces for disagreements.

In the end, welcoming the most skeptical voices into the conversation is fundamental to the integrity of the process, creates a richer mix of perspectives and ideas, and helps us learn how to create conditions that maximize both safety and disagreement. The challenges described here have made us better. Balancing the sometimes competing constructs of safety and strong disagreement, we are able to be more transparent, we are clearer about digging into disagreements, and we are more skilled at setting boundaries that are legal and effective. Over many years, we have learned from those who have taken issue with the fundamental tenets of deliberative democracy, from the everyday citizens who want to make their communities better in some way, and from the various public and private stakeholders who are directly affected by engaged deliberations. The most important lesson, perhaps, has been that the richer the compost mix, the better the result. The complementary lesson is that strong disagreement requires a safe space if shared understanding and action are to be achieved.

Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.

About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Journal of Public DeliberationSpearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.

Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem

Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA

Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol10/iss1/art22/

The Reunited States of America

The 192-page book by Mark Gerzon, The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide, was published February 2016. This book is a manifesto on how to bridge the political divide in America, during a time when the political environment is deeply poisoned. Gerzon shares the experiences of 40 individuals and organizations that are already doing the work of finding common ground, and working together around challenging and divisive issues. Here you will find a toolkit to join the emerging movement towards a transpartisan political environment and help reunite the states of America.

You can find the book on Mark Gerzon’s site here and also, in physical copy or audio format from Amazon here.

Reunited_StatesFrom the book…

We Americans are solving problems and achieving positive results not despite but because of our differences. Many or our fellow citizens are living evidence of this third story. They are putting country before party. They are drawing the outlines of a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. They are forming networks and organizations that are building bridges rather than walls. They are bridging the partisan divide- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

Story #3 does not mean agreeing on everything. Nor does it mean being “nice” or being “moderate” or “splitting the difference”. On the contrary, it may mean fighting for what one believes in- but respecting one’s adversary for doing the same. It means knowing the difference between an issue on which you are willing to listen and learn, and one where you believe you are not. Above all, it means disagreeing strongly without ever forgetting that “they” probably love America just as much as “we” do. 

The truth is, 70 to 90 of us say that we are “very patriotic”. That means almost all of us claim to love our country deeply. If we love our family, we want it to stay connected. Similarly, if we love America, we naturally want our country to be able to work through its deep and genuine difference and remain united.

This book is part of a campaign- not a Republican or Democratic campaign, but an American campaign; not a campaign for office, but a campaign for our country. It is about the people, some of whom are our neighbors, who are drawing a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. It is about our fellow citizens who are already reuniting American- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill. These are, in my view, today’s real American heroes.

The book is available for purchase, both in physical and audio format, from Amazon here

About Mark Gerzon
Mark is an author, leadership expert, and veteran convener of cross-party conversations. Having worked in both the private and public sectors, both domestically and internationally, his primary current focus is having a positive, transformative impact impact on the 2016 election.

Resource Link: www.markgerzon.com/