— This free session will help participants move past political discord and navigate their ways toward stronger relationships —
The Nugget Newspaper, Oct. 10, 2018
By Sue Stafford
In the spirit of election season, Citizens4Community is sponsoring an "Across the Divide" workshop 4-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 at City Hall. They are currently recruiting 12-15 people who identify politically as Red (conservative) and 12-15 who identify as Blue (liberal).
The workshop is designed to help people on either side of the divide understand and value their differences, while co-existing alongside one another, resulting in development of empathy for each other and mutual conversation.
Workshop presenter Heidi Venture, of Heidi Venture Consulting LLC in Hood River, received her master's degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. She has long been concerned about the lack of civility between political parties. She is taking on the challenge of helping people learn to have civil discussions and relationships across the political divide.
Venture will educate the participants around common values, the problems of dehumanization, and communication skills that don't strive to change people's minds but build bridges to greater understanding of differences.
The communication skills include reflective compassionate listening, listening for values, using "I" messages, and forming questions to deepen understanding. These skills make it possible to discuss political issues—and keep talking.
Venture's main goal is to have workshop participants from either side of the aisle end the evening with a hug and perhaps going out for pizza together.
This is an experiential workshop just for participants with no audience. There will be a light meal provided. It is offered free of charge thanks to financial support from the Ford Family Foundation.