Sunday, January 25, 2015

#MeetupMonday with Piedmont Triad Living

By Jessica Thomas Lewis

We're starting the conversation with #MeetupMonday.  Let's get together and talk about our neighborhoods and our nation.

In recent months our nation's need for community has become clearer than ever.  We want to ensure every American can be part of a strong community that will let their voice be heard.  That's why #MeetupMonday was launched.

Who:  Open to the public, please bring a friend.  Well mannered children are welcome.
What:  A guided discussion designed to bring the community together by fostering greater understanding, empathy and respect.  Tell your story.  Meetup with neighbors.  Be heard.
When:  The second and fourth Monday of each month.  7:00-8:00 PM
Where: The Cokesbury Room in Craven Hall, Maple Springs UMC, 2569 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem
Why: To create a sense of shared destiny and common purpose

#MeetupMonday Community Guidelines

#MeetupMonday seeks to promote a forum for community engagement, civic discourse, and open dialogue about local and national issues.

#MeetupMonday supports members that are trustworthy, honest, and respectful of their fellow members and the mission of #MeetupMonday at large. 

Each #MeetupMonday event should meet the following requirements: 
  • Promote civic and social responsibility
  • Support #MeetupMonday mission with integrity 
  • Build local community 

#MeetupMonday Discussion Guide
Created by Citizen University


These Monday conversations, launching Martin Luther King Jr. Day, are made possible by Meetup and facilitated by partners like Citizen University and others.

Our hope is for participants to:
  • see and hear each other more fully
  • build trust and empathy
  • create a sense of shared destiny and common purpose

We’ll follow a simple 60-minute “talking circle” format. Form circles of 6-8 people. Agree on a timekeeper to guide the process. 

Participants introduce themselves by answering, in 3 minutes or less, a simple question: Why did you show up today?

Everyone gets a chance to speak for 3 minutes to the topic you choose (see next section).

Participants respond to each other with questions or reflections.
Each participant commits to a next step, like volunteering or getting involved in local issues or organizing more gatherings.

Here are some ground rules for productive conversations:

  • listen deeply and compassionately – don’t interrupt to disagree or comment
  • respect the circle – turn off devices; don’t speak for more than allotted time
  • everyone gets heard – no one speaks a second time until all have spoken once
  • “yes, and” – don’t respond with “no” or “but”; try to bridge with “yes, and”
  • disagree well – don’t accuse others or be defensive; assume good faith

Here are a few possible questions that may start and center our conversation. 

  • What is your dream for America now?
  • How can citizens like us build what King called “the beloved community”?
  • How do we convert protest to empowerment?
Each time round the circle, unexpected human connections will emerge. Listen for them. If the conversation drifts, return to the topic. There’s no “correct” outcome—but if everyone commits to sustaining the conversation, you’ll come up with ideas. And you’ll be practicing the kind of citizenship our country needs today.

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