Monday, May 18, 2015

"Our Minnesota" Cascading Conversations Tour 2014 Analysis: Theme 1 of 6

In honor of our sixth anniversary celebration, Minnesota Rising is excited to release the initial six findings from the "Our Minnesota" Cascading Conversations Tour! Watch the blog in the coming days to learn about how this group of emerging leaders views and does leadership in Minnesota. You can read more about the report methodology and participant profiles in the first post of this series. And as the name implies, we are looking to continue cascading these conversations across the state this summer - and invite you to join us. Let us know if you'd like to be invited to participate in a conversation and/or join our Advance Team and help host 3 to 5 conversations this summer!

Theme 1 of 6: Emerging Leaders believe that listening and spending time together is at the core of building trusting relationships

Whether to build more inclusive and welcoming communities, bridge political differences, or resolve conflicts, emerging leaders highlighted the central importance of trusting relationships. In order to build trusting relationships, participants noted the necessary ingredients as listening and spending time together, highlighting the importance of face-to-face interaction. “These days, communities are so large that you’re not going to be able to have one-to-one conversations with 20,000 people. But if you talk to your neighbors, your neighborhood, start on that smaller level, you can keep building up and up and up. Express the ways that you want to improve the community, present some ideas and others can give you feedback and you can trust-build from one-to-one, face-to-face conversations. Not just giving words, but also giving actions. Words are important to build upon with actions, but without action, the trust doesn’t really have a foundation." 

They emphasized it is the way that emerging leaders can learn about people, share in their wisdom, and build common experiences. Participants expressed that building trusting relationships will create spaces where people can have difficult and necessary conversations about topics like race, gender, and socioeconomic status, and their implications for how we live and work together. “Within Minneapolis and just in the Twin Cities in general, we have a really hard time talking effectively, openly, and honestly about all sorts of things. Especially things like racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia. I think we're really afraid to talk about race in particular in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Oddly enough we're okay talking about gender, at least for white women and white men. We haven't learned how to talk about race or class effectively yet, and we'll need to learn to do that well in order for there to be more trust within communities."

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