Action Step: Join a Small Online Topical Discussion
(I want to flex my communication skills)
For most of us, having a robust civic life will involve relationships that grow stronger when we navigate through tough issues. So, it is time to stretch our communication muscles. Here is where things start to get real, where true bravery is demonstrated by those willing to learn while they explore. And here is where we learn to cut each other some slack as we learn and explore a tough issue together. In Grassroots Area #1, we find dozens of organizations welcoming you to learn these skills. They offer one-and-done experiences for learning. We highlight a few below.
It is easy to stretch your Democracy 2.0 Muscles! You just need to take the first step. Take a low risk test drive. Here are on-line, providers of small discussion group opportunities. Each has a different twist on topical discussions. Each teaches basic skills. Each is inviting and is a low risk method to get discussion started with other New Patriot Americans.
The Aspen Institute made a commitment to democracy by establishing the Weave Project in 2018, including a campaign for Better Arguments. Americans often rise to common challenges like COVID-19 with kindness, love, mutual support, and shared responsibility to endure together. We need community now more than ever. Although our nation’s social fabric is badly frayed by distance and division, together we can weave strong social fabric and emerge healthy and united.
The Living Room Conversations (LRC) organization has over 80 topical, time-tested discussion guides for groups of 6 to confidently explore face-to-face in person or face-to-face online. The LRC website is set up to match you with other New Patriots across the country for a specified face-to-face private internet time slot and specified topic. The time commitment is about an hour.
The Listen First Coalition has over 225 member organizations. Each is focused on teaching listening/communications through experience. Each also participates in the National Conversation Project.
Better Angels named after an Abraham Lincoln phrase, was launched in 2016. They have conducted over 640 workshops and have many thousands of members, across all 50 states. Better Angels strives for red/blue balance in leadership, local alliance membership, and funding sources.
Connecting students across distance and divides to engage in respectful, face-to-face conversation
The University of Arizona has developed Hot Topics – Cool Heads method. This technique has been growing since 2003 with several unique features, including 5 volunteer participants on stage, with a seasoned facilitator to guide an impactful 40-minute discussion. The 5 participants take on roles of Agree Strongly, Agree Somewhat, Undecided, Disagree Somewhat, Disagree Strongly. The audience follows closely (somewhat walking in the participants’ shoes) and is given time to ask questions. (Not yet available as an online activity)