Resolving Community Conflicts
The Fire Next Time relates the story of what happens when people in a small town who disagree about the direction their town should take stop listening to each other. They are facing the same conflicts and challenges of many places: economic dislocation, growth, change, anger, fear and devastating loss.
How would you encourage someone to disagree respectfully? What ground rules would you set for a respectful conversation, discussion or dialogue?
Create a Not In Our Town proclamation declaring your community's opposition to hate groups. For a sample, see: www.pbs.org/niot/get_involved/sample_proc.html
Create a non-partisan fact-checkers task force to regularly assess claims made in your local media about controversial issues or people. Publicize the reports on a website and/or partner with local media outlets to broadcast or print your findings.
Help facilitate community exchanges. Arrange for groups from different perspectives or parts of town to visit one another (e.g., a church might pair with a synagogue or with a church in another part of town). Help pair families to do dinner exchanges in their homes.
Choose an environmental or land management issue relevant to your community. Hold education forums on the topic. Bring together a coalition of people to takeaction on the issue.