Thanksgiving dinner dialogue. Are you ready for it?

Preparing For Thanksgiving With People Whose Viewpoints Are Not Like Your Own Important: The group, “Stand up for Racial Justice” is committed to helping you over your Thanksgiving meal. Go here for info on how to access the resources they are committing to helping you, and check out the text SOS system they have put in place to help you during your Thanksgiving meal.  This is particularly useful. If you read nothing else, go to that link and read it first. Or print out this placemat and carry it with you to the dining table.  While you’re at it, give a donation to SURJ to support their important and helpful work. This has been a contentious political season, I think we can all agree. Some of us won, and some of us lost on election day. Some of us are scared, some angry, some hurt, some righteous, some victorious. And some of all of those people may be at your Thanksgiving table. So, how to have a clear, but civil dialogue over a wee bit of Tofurkey and dressing? Because it’s important. We can’t continue to not speak up, and we can do so and have a greater impact if we learn to do so effectively rather than just get angry and throw gravy at one another or screechy-scream-scream. If we’re going to be advocates for the people most likely to be harmed by the incoming administration – namely, people with disabilities, people of color, Muslims, other non-Christian religions, women, people who are LGBTQIA, and so on – we need to be effective advocates. Sputtering at Uncle Joe when he...

Thanksgiving, the vegan way.

Thanksgiving Ponderings at our house: Tofurkey (the children insist) With Vegan Gravy And maybe some Vegan dinner rolls And definitely some Vegan Stuffing with Cauliflower salad Or Whole roasted cauliflower with pomegranate seeds Or Roasted squash-pecan-pomegranate salad And Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes With, perhaps, Vegan Green Bean Casserole Or, more likely, Baked Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Walnuts And then dessert, in the form of Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pine Nut Crust And If I can veganize it, this sticky toffee pudding. Oh my, I miss it so. Or This sticky cranberry gingerbread, veganized But I’m still pondering. Here are some additional ideas. And here. And here. Evidently I am hungry while I am planning. What am I missing? What are you...

What is the unmet need that has just been expressed?

I wish I could say that I am shocked by the racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy in this country that led, in part, to the election of Donald Trump, but I am not. Having done diversity work for 30+ years, I am not shocked by the fact that racism has always existed, that our nation was founded on racist principles, that our systems are rife with racism. It went underground, perhaps, in some well-educated and polite portions of our society, but it’s always still been there. If you’re a white person and you are shocked, you haven’t been paying attention to your friends who are people of color, or perhaps you don’t have any friends who are people of color, who are gay, who are trans, who are Muslim, who are disabled. There’s no time to rue that fact; let’s change it. In my Hard Conversations: Intro to Racism course, I show the clip that is featured above. In it, Marshall Rosenberg talks about “nonviolent communication,” a type of communication our nation needs now more than ever. Watch and listen. Here are the questions we must now ask ourselves: What are the unmet needs that have just been expressed via our democratic process? The core unmet needs, not the superficial ones. What are the unmet needs of those opposed to having Donald Trump serve as our nation’s President? In what way can we find commonality among those two seemingly conflicting unmet needs in order to move forward together? And in all interactions: How can I be in full presence to what is alive in this other person?...

Walking into this new day.

We have a lot of work to do. To my friends who are people of color, who are gay or lesbian or transgender or gender queer or anywhere on the sexual orientation continuum that is not straight, to my friends who are Muslim or Jewish or anything that is not evangelical Christian, to my friends who are women, who are people with disabilities, to all my friends who are now in danger under a Trump presidency, I want you to know first that I am sorry.   I am sorry that we’ve been so complacent in this country, thinking that since it’s so obvious human rights should extend to all humans, we forgot that you are not seen as fully human by some. I’m sorry that we’ve assumed well-educated, good-hearted people will always win over racists and misogynists and homophobes and those who rule by fear and ignorance. I’m sorry we’ve assumed that this nation was better than this. It’s not. This is our country, at this moment in time. Evolution is messy, and we’ve put our faith in democracy. But this is democracy, a resounding call from the disenfranchised white working class. They, too, are American. They, too, are worthy. They, too, are individuals with real lives and loves and fears and hopes, dreams, and needs. We’ve discounted them, and they’ve responded. That’s ours to own. We have much to learn from this.   Secondly, I want you to know, my friends who are in danger with Trump as President, that I will not give up in the fight for your rights and the demand for recognition of...

Let the healing begin.

On this (and every) day, bless our hearts. Bless our well-educated and sure hearts. Bless our less educated and unsure hearts. Bless our blind spots and bless our clear vision. Bless our scared, disenfranchised hearts and our sure-footed ones. Bless our angry hearts and our hearts filled with love. Bless those with hatred and racism in their hearts and bless those who tirelessly work for social justice. Bless the hourly workers living in poverty and bless those who shine a light on those disparities in order to have all of us walk into them more consciously. Bless the visionaries and bless those who are too near the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy to have a vision. Bless the liberals and bless the conservatives. Bless the wealthy and bless the wealthy who use their privilege to help others. Bless those who run toward trouble to help and bless those who feel helpless. Bless those trying to break through and bless those who extend a hand to help. Bless the people who agree with us, and bless those who don’t. James Carse wrote a book called Finite and Infinite Games. I learned of it decades ago from my intellectual mentor, Charles Hampden-Turner, and I think of it daily. A finite game is one we play to win and end the game. Like football, or the World Series. There are rules, we play by them, and at the end, there is a winner and a loser. An infinite game is played not to win, but to learn. If we see this election as a finite game, we have all lost. This election has...