“More than ever, our country needs ways for diverse people and institutions to come together to create deeper understanding and systemic change ... we need to talk, and to listen.”
When Beverly Braxton, a forty-eight year resident of Warwick, proposed the We the People initiative back in March of this year, she wondered how much interest there might be in an effort to encourage dialogue around issues facing our community in a time of growing divisions across the country.
Over one hundred of us, with a wide variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, signed up to participate in dialogue circles that convened over four weeks in May and June.
We met by Zoom in groups of eight to ten people, assisted by volunteers — our fellow townspeople — who had trained as facilitators.
Discussion focused first on us as individuals: how we see ourselves, how others see us and the ways we fit into our community.
We then examined our views of America more broadly: what unites us and what issues get in the way of finding common ground.
Finally, we focused on our own community — its strengths and its challenges, those issues that bind us together and those that divide us. We sought to identify opportunities to bridge the differences and proposed specific actions we each might take to build a stronger, more inclusive community.
The program itself was engaging, the process both eye-opening and rewarding. More importantly, it is ongoing.
Another series of dialogues is planned for late September through late October, and for those who wish to continue on, an action planning meeting will take place in November.
During this next series, we hope to involve even more eager participants, representing all segments of our Warwick community - in its diversity and commonality. Even as we continue assessing the initial round, we will update you on plans for this next one.
This initiative was truly a grassroots effort, made possible by many volunteers who offered their talents, their skills and/or their financial support. We believe in the promise of this country and are willing to address our differences and move forward toward greater fellowship.
Please consider joining us.
We the People Warwick