Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Our Minnesota" Cascading Conversations Tour 2014 Analysis: Theme 2 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 2 of 6: Emerging Leaders express a common desire to connect through shared values and shift the focus of public discourse to broad community benefit.

Throughout the conversations, emerging leaders repeatedly expressed frustration with the current political state, which they characterized as partisan and laden with rhetoric. They expressed skepticism regarding the collective ability of Minnesotans to address significant issues under these kinds of conditions. In its place, participants commonly desired to connect via shared values in place of positions or arguments. “For me, a lot of it comes down to talking to people, talking to each other. Coming into conversations and different spaces knowing we may disagree about a lot of things but that we come to talk because we're in this together. When we talk and listen, we learn. Come in with the agreement that I will listen to you and you will listen to me and then that we will try to figure out what to do. I'm okay with compromise, which doesn't seem too popular these days. I know that if my opinion should be heard, I need to do the same for others. We sink or we swim together as communities.” 

The hope would be to elevate conversations past the yes/no binary to shared community concern. Participants named what some of these values could be, including integrity, empathy, intentionality, and respect across difference. Emerging leaders that participated in the second round of conversations expressed with a greater frequency than the first round of conversation participants that the time is now to become a generation that works for the benefit of all Minnesotans. One participant stated it in terms of geography, “With Minnesota that would be paying attention to what is going on in Greater Minnesota and making an effort to impact the lives of people who live there.” Another mentioned it in terms of racial and ethnic diversity, “We're better than the racial disparities in our state. They don't align with Minnesotan values. [I] hope people are getting to a point of not accepting them anymore. Let's get real about inequality and come up with solutions."

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