Earlier this month, WV Citizen Action and Health Care for All WV joined with People’s Action and the United Vision Project to host a training designed to develop our skills in authentic relational organizing.
The curriculum is a combination of training on deep and empathetic listening, strategic dialogue, understanding biases, and self-examination. The skills covered in this training come from a variety of fields and applications including bridge building, de-escalation, non-violent conflict resolution, negotiation tactics, and depolarization.
These skills learned during Day 1 of the training are designed to help us hold authentic, quality conversations. If we can spark a conversation with anyone no matter their opinions, background, or ideology, we can often help alleviate feelings of frustration, anger, or pain. While much of the training focused on how we can work to better understand others, participants also took time to reflect on ourselves, contemplating the echo chambers that influence us, and the role that plays in adding to our own polarization.
On Day 2, participants had the chance to begin having real and authentic relational conversations with other West Virginians in an effort to reach across our differences, find common ground and restore healthy communities. Experienced texters and organizing leaders were on hand to support trainees as they began to practice and hone their skills, in order to gain the experience needed to feel more confident having difficult conversations not only within our program, but in your day-to-day lives and communities as well.
Another training is scheduled for November 15th & 16th, 7 – 10 PM ET.