Top Resources for Post-Election Dialogue Across Divides
Earlier this week, NCDD hosted a special post-election Confab Call during which over fifty of our members and affiliates had a rich, inspiring, and for some, therapeutic conversation about what kind of work people in the dialogue and deliberation field are doing to address this post-election moment.
The call was part of our ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign, during which we’ve been encouraging our members to share about the work happening in our field that’s aimed at fostering bridge building, and to share resources that can build capacity to move forward together despite differences. The Confab Call was its own kind of resource, and if you missed the call, you can hear about all the great projects, insights, and resources that were discussed during it by listening to the recording here or reading over the discussion and links from the call’s chat transcription here. But there are many more resources we want to share with you all today.
As we’ve mentioned before, there are important needs being felt in the wake of the election year’s end that dialogue and deliberation can address: D&D can help us process our feelings and what’s next, it can help promote and maintain civility, it can assist in bridging long-standing divides, and it can facilitate interactions that humanize people or groups who’ve been made into caricatured “others” and out groups. NCDD wanted to know how our field is responding to these needs, so we recently asked our D&D community to share their resources, tools, and projects that could help address post-election issues with us.
We received a wide variety of wonderful resources in response to that call, and in our continued efforts to help the field rise to the needs and opportunities presented in this challenging moment for our country, we’ve created a list of some of the best resources the NCDDers shared. We’ve linked to over two dozen resources below that we hope D&D practitioners will find useful as you engage with your communities over the coming weeks and months.
Please continue to add to this list in the comments section, as we’ll be continuing to archive the best of these and other tools in our Resource Center for future use. For now, take a look through the list below of valuable D&D resources.
Processing Emotions and What Happens Next
Much of what is needed across the country after the election is simply spaces and methods to process our thoughts and feelings about the election season, the outcome, and what they want to see happen next – together. There are tons of great resources in our field for doing that, and here are some of the good ones:
- The Conversation Café process (CC) provides a simple structure for people looking to have thoughtful dialogue to reflect on the election as well as what they’d like to see happen now. We recommend the Quick How-To Guide, or you can delve into more comprehensive list of CC resources. You can also read a great overview and history of the CC method here
- We also recommended the “What’s Next After the Election?” conversation guide from NCDD member organization Living Room Conversations to help you have conversations with people who think differently from you
- Another NCDD member org, Essential Partners, is running a social media campaign that invites commentary – especially video and audio responses – about what people want to see happen after the election, and you’re invited to join the conversation using the #AfterNov8 hashtag
- The National Association of Community & Restorative Justice has released a talking circle guide for teachers trying to help younger students process their thoughts and feelings about the election
- The racial healing-focused organization Coming to the Table has a circle guide focused on race dialogues if you’re hosting conversations around race
Promoting and Maintaining Civility
With the divisiveness and rancor of the election season’s rhetoric on all sides, a huge part of the need D&D can fill right now is to help build the capacity for civil conversations when we’re disagreeing – whether within families, in the media, or in the legislature. Below are some of the best resources for supporting civility after the election:
- The National Institute for Civil Discourse is leading the charge to promoting civility through their Revive Civility campaign. As other sources of inspiration, we also recommend the guide to surviving Thanksgiving (or any holiday) dinner penned by NCDD member and head of NICD Carolyn Lukensmeyer and the joint statement that more than 20 prominent politicians signed calling for civility and respect in politics
- The Tufts University Institute for Democracy & Higher Education created this facilitator training guide specifically for those wanting to facilitate civil discussions about politically charged conversations on campuses
- The national organization Facing History and Ourselves also recently released a guide for civil conversations in classrooms geared toward teachers
- The conversation guide that was created by the makers of Hi From the Other Side is simple but powerful for helping folks connect on a more personal level before wading into the election
- The Frenemies Project at Virginia Tech is exploring whether facilitated dialogue can promote understanding and empathy between individuals who have vastly different perspectives. More information on their initiative, Frenemies Day, can be found here
- The Inquiry Institute put together a free e-book, Thoughtful Citizenship, which includes a variety of essays that share guidance on how to listen and dialogue with people of differing views
Bridging Our Divides
The election both opened new divides and deepened old ones in our society, and helping individuals and communities bridge those divides need to be a special focus of D&D work today. We encourage you to learn more about how you can facilitate that bridging using the resources below:
- As a follow-up to our recent national conference on this topic, NCDD is still running our #BridgingOurDivides campaign to talk about how the D&D community is working to help our country close its most persistent and painful gaps. We encourage you to check out the conversation via the #BridgingOurDivides hashtag on social media
- Essential Partners offers a great Guide for Reaching Across the Red-Blue Divides for people looking to engage with those whose political perspectives differ from theirs, as well as a list of wise questions to start such conversations off.
- For public officials and community leaders, there are some good ideas in the Key Considerations for Community Leaders Facing Civil Unrest toolkit as well as the Planning in Advance of Civil Unrest toolkit, both of which are from NCDD member Grande Lum of the Divided Communities Project
- The NCDD affiliated Days of Dialogue initiative in LA offers a dialogue guide and facilitators’ handbook for hosting conversations on addressing the strained community-police divide
- The Bring it to the Table project from NCDD member Talking Eyes Media has a great set of short videos that can help start balanced conversations between people who disagree on issues like economy, welfare , abortion, immigration,health care, and gay marriage
- Years ago when Essential Partners was still the Public Conversations Project, they released their 188-page Guide to Fostering Dialogue Across Differences, and it’s still as relevant as ever
Humanizing Groups Seen as “the Other”
One of the most troubling needs after the election, especially in light of the spike in hate crimes over the last month, is the need to develop and implement D&D methods that can help people see the humanity in those who they’ve written off as “other” or “less than” themselves. This need is one that our field urgently needs to develop more robust resources for addressing, but there are some good ones out there, which we’ve listed below:
- NCDD member organization Not In Our Town has a treasure trove of resources for hosting conversations and taking action to oppose bullying and hate groups. Check out their huge catalogue of videos (most of which come with discussion guides) you can use to start conversations about addressing intolerance. You can also check out their guide on bringing stakeholders together, their Not In Our Schools guides for educators, and their quick start guide
- NCDD recently launched our new Race, Police, & Reconciliation listserv to support collaboration and exchange among those working in racial dialogue, community-police relations, and truth-telling & reconciliation work – all of which help break down barriers between “us” and “them.” We encourage all involved in such work to join
- We recommend reading and sharing about AllSides.com, a project that helps reduce the disconnection from other perspectives that the echo-chamber effect of social media fosters by providing comparisons of the same news stories from left-leaning, right-leaning, and center-based sources
- If you want to get sense of how thick your “bubble” is or help your friends think about theirs, check out this quiz that purports to give a rating of how insulated you are or are not from the experiences of working class people
- On the creative side, the US Department of Arts & Culture is inviting communities to participate in their annual People’s State of the Union between Jan. 27 – Feb. 5 by hosting story circles that encourage telling real stories of connection, disconnection, and breaking through barriers. Check out the downloadable toolkit for hosts
- This illustrated video of a webinar on the power of storytelling to humanize “others” has important lessons on listening to people we’ve been taught to hate
- For some reflection on how we make those we don’t know into “the other,” check out the classic TED talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about “the danger of a single story”
What Other Resources Are Out There?
This list features some incredible resources, but we know it’s just a taste of what’s out there in our field, so we encourage everyone to continue sharing your resources for addressing post-election needs in the comments section below! For now, we encourage you all to keep thinking about how our field can make its broadest impact possible in moving our communities and our nation beyond its deep divides and toward a positive future.
If you want to find even more amazing D&D tools, be sure to visit NCDD’s Resource Center.