LWV Umpqua Valley is developing a Living Room Conversations pilot project that you can be a part of. Join our Communications Committee or become a participant in our first project.
Last year we formed a Communications Committee that met each week during January and February of 2022 to discuss exactly how to address the polarization in our community.
We decided that our emphasis would be fostering better communications in our community by listening to each other with respect and empathy, rather than blasting those who disagree with us or becoming partisan in the process.
In past years we held ‘Listening’ workshops over the course of several months that taught us how to listen to inner selves, to become aware of our own body language, and to be able to talk about it respectfully and listen to each other with empathy and without judgement. Our focus came to be ‘Civil Discourse’, a familiar theme of the League of Women Voters.
Because there are many online ‘Civil Discourse’ groups that have great expertise and experience, we chose to investigate the different options. We have studied a number of recommended programs and communication techniques. Under the umbrella of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, we found rich resources that include: Common Sense American, Engaging Differences, Golden Rule 2020, Divided We Fall, and the Next Generation. We also found other stimulating and provocative programs such as ListenFirst, and Living Room Conversations.
We have chosen a project that is based on Living Room Conversations to start up in the Fall of 2022. For our first attempt, we hope to gather a small group of people (two Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents or Unaffiliated plus a moderator) to get together to discuss what they think about certain subjects once a week for 90 minutes via Zoom for four weeks. The point is to listen to the other person with curiosity and for understanding. It is not to change people’s minds. It’s about listening to each other.
The weekly subjects we have chosen for this pilot project are entitled and in the following order.
We have customized each of those topics by adding several questions at the end of Round #2.
Our challenge is to find two Republicans, two Democrats and two Independents or Unaffiliated to commit to these four sessions. We are planning our outreach strategy now.
If you are interested in participating in the pilot project or joining our Communications Committee, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Robin Wisdom, LWV Umpqua Valley president, at 541-672-6982.