Guest Column by Katherine Murphy

Join us for the next Cultivating Civic Conversations series

The 13-week conversational journey is anchored with Ijeoma Oluo’s bestselling book, “So You Want to Talk about Race.” Each week we tackle the questions she so generously asks and answers through the lens of her lived experience and extensive research. In the introduction, she writes: “These conversations will not be easy, but they will get easier over time. We have to commit to the process if we want to address race racism, and racial oppression in our society.”

To get a taste of Oluo’s style, candor, and grace, check out this May 2018 IMHO Segment from the PBS Newshour: https://youtu.be/WL5Vip_G4Zc. We pair her chapters with podcasts from “On Being” with Krista Tippett (https://onbeing.org/our-story/) and “All Ears” with Abigail Disney (https://www.forkfilms.com/all-ears/).

We listen to podcasts for two reasons. First, we get to hear thoughtful conversation on civic engagement modeled well. Second, we access large array of voices and resources that paints the expansive landscape of nuance, historical context, and challenges that race poses in our society.

During the hour-long Zoom sessions, participants discuss the question(s) of the week in large groups, small groups, and dyads. In the dyads, participants tell a story about how this week’s topic intersects with their lives. The dyads are a time to practice listening and storytelling—both are critical to becoming a more skillful conservationist. We adapt methods and tools used by the educational nonprofit “Facing History and Ourselves” (https://www.facinghistory.org) to create storytelling prompts that help us see our lives, biases, and values around more clearly.

Participants have the option of attending either of the two Monday sessions (10am or 5pm) and they have the option of following the discussion virtually through Sutra, which is an online conversation platform that we are piloting starting with “Learning to Talk about Race.”

Discussion Schedule

For more information or to join this important conversation, email Katherine Murphy at kbmurphy@lwvwa.org.

Katherine Murphy (Kittitas County LWV) and Wende Sanderson (Skagit County LWV) invented the Cultivating Civic Conversations (CCC) program to meet the need expressed by many new League members who want “to learn how everything works.” Since that is a tall order, we decided to use a seminar format and tackle one theme at a time because we believe that it easier to learn, grow, and thrive in community of learners.

CCC has five goals for each session:

  1. Increase understanding of historical context and governmental structures
  2. Encourage and expand the individual’s civic engagement
  3. Share new tools, information, methods, and ideas
  4. Cultivate and expand conversational skills in community
  5. Nurture humor, insight, joy, and perspective