10 Best Resources for Talking With Your People This Holiday

By the Web Editors 11-23-2016
Image via Google doc/SURJ-DC.

Beginning this week, many Americans will have ample opportunity to reach across the political aisle — by way of the family table. Much has been said in the days after the election about the urgent need to listen to those who voted differently from us (or didn’t vote at all). What most commentary has empathized is the importance of listening, patience, and empathy. What few have offered is practical tips for doing this well.

Several activists and advocacy groups have offered guides to engaging with respect, generosity, and firmness. Take a look through these as you travel home, or prepare to welcome loved ones. And may your days be merry and bright … and healing.
From Rev. Jacqui Lewis: “Ask your people these questions…”

This placemat from Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) was made in 2015, but applies even more so today.

3. Don’t Call Your Uncle a Racist

HolidayChallenge4RacialJustice gives a lighthearted approach to low-key keeping the family narrative focused on racial justice, from “bedtime stories” to “control the radio.”

4. Make Space for People to Move

SURJ members compiled a Google Doc on how to talk to family. Included: This chart, reminding us that changing hearts and minds often involves a steady, evolving process.

5. Watch Others Engaging Across the Aisle

Meridian Hill Pictures and Van Jones’ Magic Labs Media partnered up to visit Trump supporters at home in Gettysburg, Va. The resulting docuseries is a great conversation kickstarter.

6. Acknowledge Where Your Values (and Faith) Come From

7. Be Kind…To Yourself, Too

“Remember that this isn’t the only conversation/interaction you’re going to have,” writes Christena Cleveland.

8. Ask These Questions

The New York Times had Clinton supporters and Trump supporters ask each other these questions. Listen to their results here.

9. Call the Holiday Hotline

If all efforts at engaging have stalled, SURJ has a holiday hotline to help. “Get stuck? Simply text SOS to 82623.”

10. If All Else Fails...

You could always go The Onion route, and convene a PowerPoint lecture with sympathetic family members. "Now, if you would open your handouts to page 14..."

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