Conversations of Peace, Community, and Our Rights

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In the wake of recent mass shootings in America, we have decided to hold a discussion centered on the topic of race.  As difficult as it may be for some to admit, it is equally difficult for others to continue to deny and ignore the fact that the black and white communities remain divided.  As far as we have come, we have a long way to go.  We continue to live separated lives in separated communities.  At the very least we misunderstand one another.  At the very worst, this understanding can lead to fear and hatred.  Race is a topic considered taboo in America.  Because of this, there is a lack of thoughtful discourse.  Our belief is that by taking an evening to learn about how people of different colors identify with the concept of race we can bridge gaps between each other and promote similar discussions.

This event will be invitation only.  However, we encourage everyone to engage in similar dialogue.  We thought that it might be helpful to post some information in the event that someone may want to organize a discussion of their own.

The general format will be as follows:

  • Rules
    • This is a non-converging conversation. This means that the main goal is simply to have thoughtful discussion.
    • Race can be a very sensitive subject for some people. We realize that some things that are said this evening have the potential to offend.  If there are times when you are offended we ask that rather than being angry or hurt, you seek to understand the position from which your partner is seeing things
    • Have an open mind
  • Group intro/discussion 30-45 min
    • Name
    • Why you are here?
    • What do you hope to get out of this?
    • Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself
  • Individual discussions 30-45 min
    • Feel free to talk about anything you want as long as it is related to race. We realize that this is an awkward subject and something that we may have difficulty knowing how to discuss.  If this is the case, here are a few ideas for questions that you can ask each other.
      • What negative ideas/stereotypes have you learned about another race that you have since learned to be untrue?
      • What is a positive thing that you have learned about another race?
      • Do you feel that you experience the same situations differently because of the color of your skin?
      • Share a story about a positive experience with another race that made you see things differently than before.
      • What do you think is misunderstood about your race?
      • What makes somebody American?
      • Are you willing to give up your rights for greater perceived safety?
      • How do we make the problems of African Americans the problems of all Americans?
      • What do you think about the quote, “To say something that you should not say is a crime, but to not speak up when you should is a sin.”
      • Do you feel there is a generational gap in how we see color?
      • If there was one thing that you could tell black people about white people (or white people about black people) what would it be?
  • Group discussion 30-45 min
    • To finish the evening we will come back together as a group and share insights from our conversations. Again, you are free to share whatever you like, although here are a few offerings if you are unsure of what to say:
      • What did you learn about yourself tonight?
      • What did you learn about your race tonight?
      • What did you learn about the black/white race tonight?
      • What is something that you might do differently?
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Conversations of Peace, Community, and Our Rights

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