San Diego Workshops Offer Safe Space To Talk About Racism And Hate
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / August 27, 2019
The National Conflict Resolution Center is organizing a series of workshops that give San Diegans a chance to talk about hate, racism and intolerance.
Speaker 1: 00:00 There's an ongoing dialogue series that gives residents here in San Diego county a way to express concerns and hope in challenging times. It's called a path forward. The talks organized by the national conflict resolution center are designed to help connect and heal the community after the Habod of Paoli shooting as hate crimes and mass shootings continue to touch communities across the country. How impactful are the conversations being had here? Joining me to talk about that is actually virtue of the national conflict resolution center. Ashley, welcome. Hi. Thank you for having me. Thanks for being here. Um, first let's talk about the need for these conversations. Why is the NCRC hosting leas and what do you hope to accomplish? Well, as you mentioned, really the reason we created this series of path forward was in response to the terrible shooting that happened in our own backyard in Poway at the Habad.
Speaker 1: 00:53 And so we, we did what I think a lot of communities have done, which is have this awareness of hate crimes and intolerance happening in other places in the u s and feeling like we need to respond to that. But then really feeling a sense of that coming home to our own backyard when it happened in Poway and thinking, you know, as the national conflict resolution center, we do things on a large scale, but San Diego is home to us. That's where our roots are, where we've been founded and, and we need to be able to respond to things happening here as well and really provide opportunity for the community to heal. So that's where the idea came from. And, um, and it's just been an amazing process since then. So can we actually talk our way through racism and hate? You know, that's a great question.
Speaker 1: 01:38 And in fat, ugly I answer yes we can. Um, because you know, what's the alternative if we're not talking our way through it, what are we doing that's positive? Right? And so I think that we are afraid to have these conversations sometimes because we've seen them go badly, but if we can tackle tough topics and racism is absolutely a very tough topic. If we can tackle tough topics in the right way using words and conversation in the right way, then it's absolutely the way that moves us forward. And we've seen that through history with great leaders who have used the power of words to move important issues forward. Um, we just sometimes forget how to do that and the strategy to do that. And really, I mean as the national conflict resolution center, that's kind of our goal is to bring those strategies back to people so that we can have these conversations.
Speaker 1: 02:38 So what can people expect when they attend these conversations? When people come into these conversations, they can expect really to experience two parts. The first part of the conversations we kind of describe as the curiosity part where we encourage individuals to come in and really be curious, be about others, different perspectives and even how they represent their own identity and perspective on issues. Then the second part of the conversation is about action. It's really looking at what can we do next? How can we improve society, improve our own lives in this way? And so there's that space to really be curious about one another and our own identity. And then there's the moving into the action piece of it where we can say, alright, now what do we do to actually have a positive impact? And so who attends these, these workshops and conversations? Well, the workshops are completely open to the public so anyone can attend.
Speaker 1: 03:37 Um, really, you know, we just hope that the individuals who show up are ready to be open, uh, ready to be a little bit vulnerable in a sense to, um, sharing their own perspectives on things. And then also hearing from others. Uh, we hope that people sitting around having these conversations honestly don't agree with one another because if we're all sitting around talking to preaching to the choir, basically talking to the same people who are, you know, agreeing with us all the time and in our own spheres of influence, are we really having an impact. So we want diverse perspectives to show up, have the conversations, and we really encourage everyone to come and attend. So with that, with, you know, sort of asking people to really be open, how important is it for, for people to feel like they're in a safe space when these conversations are being had?
Speaker 1: 04:25 The safe space is key really to the whole thing working. So our facilitators are really skilled at this piece of it and it really, you know, can't be overstated how important that is because the whole idea is that you're walking into a physical and psychological safe space where you can express differing points of view and feel heard and respected. Um, I think nowadays we don't give ourselves that space to be in conversation with people that don't think like us. Um, we tend to villainize one another. If you don't think like me, you know, you don't have the same values that I do. You're not as good of a person as I am. And so bringing people together to say it's okay to disagree, um, we're going to treat each other respectfully as we hear each other's perspective. And it doesn't mean that we're going to agree.
Speaker 1: 05:17 It doesn't mean that you need to sit there and say, I agree with your stance on immigration, a really hot topic, but it does mean that you're going to sit and listen and dialogue and that is how we end up finding common ground and moving forward. So do you get the sense that people walk away from these conversations feeling more connected because you know, because I think that's what helps to build empathy with people. Right. Um, do, do you get the sense that that happens? Absolutely. Again, they find common ground and they say, oh my gosh, this individual walked into this conversation thinking I could have nothing in common with this individual and come to find out, we actually have more in common than we have different. And that happens over and over and over again as we realize that, you know, we, we all, we all have oftentimes more in common than we don't. So how can people get involved and participate in these workshops? People can sign up on our website, which is NC r c online.com backslash community circles or just on our homepage. You'll see a path forward there. Um, and it's open. It's free to the public. So we encourage anyone who's interested to sign up. I've been speaking with Ashley, virtue of the National Conflict Resolution Center. Ashley, thank you. Thank you so much. And the next community dialog called be brave is happening on Wednesday, September 4th at Bayview Baptist Church. For more information, go to kpbs.org
Speaker 2: 06:38 okay.