Deep Democracy: Facilitator Tools for Navigating Conflict
Whether within our group, the community we live in, or the issue we organize around, we all have experienced conflict. It’s a natural, inevitable and even necessary part of any group life. But supporting and harnessing the wisdom from this tension requires skill and practice. For our groups to grow, heal, take risks and create new solutions, we must strengthen our ability to disagree and seek what’s beneath the surface.
Often, conflict goes unaddressed; activists and organizers focus only on external goals and avoid disagreement within. There are good reasons for this. We may fear that acknowledging conflict will threaten our public image of strength and unity. Conflict can also explode and escalate, bringing up old hurts, reminding us of our families or the violence of the state. Playing nice has made it possible for communities of color to survive white and middle class culture. U.S. white folks learned to minimize their differences and assimilate into “polite” behavior that maintains the status quo. Structures set up to negotiate, mediate or resolve conflict don’t often consider power or rank, the impact that structural inequity has on those involved, or the context of the conflict.
When there is a conflict or a diversity problem, Deep Democracy suggests that we let the different sides express themselves and interact with each other. This includes giving our different roles, thoughts, points of view, feelings, and diverse inner experiences a place where they are welcome and can interact with each other. Out of that interaction, the wisdom of the group, organization, or individual can arise, and connection, community, and creative solutions can be built.
Applications are open until September 4th. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by September 8th.
Click here to APPLY. Please don't book travel or accommodations until we confirm registration.
We're committed to accepting a diverse group for each training and to supporting folks with less access to resources to attend. People of color, working class folks, and folks from less-resourced organizations are encouraged to apply. We also aim to accept people with specific groups, projects, or organizations back home to apply what they learn.