Let's Talk: Communicating Across Political Divides

How do we have difficult conversations with people with whom we disagree on issues of discrimination? Together, explored civil discourse in uncivil times.

Dr. Kevin Deegan-Krause, Associate Professor of Political Science at Wayne State University, and Sarah Eisenberg, LMSW and Women’s March Michigan Organizer, facilitated a community discussion in June on how to communicate across political divides. Whether participants wanted to engage with their community through activism or just with friends and family for stronger connections, they were empowered with skills for identifying values, confronting your own bias, avoiding being defensive, listening to understand, and more.


In May, we launched the first installment of our new series, Let's Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Privilege with Our Kids—and Why It's Important, with an educational forum for parents featuring Dr. Jay Marks, Diversity and Equity Consultant for Oakland Schools for Oakland Schools.

This interactive workshop guided parents on bringing children of all ages into important conversations about power, identity, bias, and modeling anti-racist behavior.

 


mamasmarch.jpg

Ahead of Mother’s Day, we hosted a community yoga fundraiser to support Mothering Justice, their leadership training for women of color, and their lobbying efforts to support working mothers in Michigan.

After class and at subsequent events, participants were invited to join the movement and write a postcard to their representatives supporting equal pay and paid sick leave. We delivered the postcards to the Capitol during the Mamas' March on May 10.


Our rapid response coalition with Michigan for Choice and Women Organize Michigan created the Rally for Women's Health at the Michigan State Capitol in April. We stood with lawmakers and activists to send a powerful message that women deserve choices in their health care in Michigan. We educated the public on House Bill 4221 and Senate Bill 162 in the Michigan Legislature that would take away funding from family planning clinics. 


We extended much-deserved love and resources to our neighbors in Flint by raising funds and awareness with a yoga workshop for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund in March. The Fund invests in the long-term support of the most vulnerable population impacted by the water crisis, the children.

Harnessing the energy we created on our mats, we wrote to members of Congress about the human right to clean water, promoting the funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that will protect the inland waterways supplying drinking water throughout Michigan, including Flint.  


We partnered with the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center, a legal resource center for Michigan's immigrant communities, and their affiliate Welcoming Michigan, an organization that seeks to build mutual respect among foreign-born and U.S.-born people who call Michigan home.

We hosted a family yoga workshop in February to model celebratory activism for our little ones with music, movement, and lessons of inclusion and love. We explored literature to teach our youngest citizens how to integrate new neighbors into our community. We wrapped up by making "Love" signs for our windows to show what guides our homes and hearts.


For our debut event in January 2017, we were delighted to work with Affirmations of Ferndale, Michigan’s largest LGBTQ community center, to support their mission of providing a welcoming space of unconditional acceptance with diverse offerings.

We hosted a yoga fundraiser for Affirmations as our campaign launch. We now enjoy an ongoing relationship with the center, including coordinating future yoga classes and wellness support with the center's staff.