Nikita Sam, Project Coordinator, National Conflict Resolution Center
In these extraordinary and difficult times, it has been more important than ever to listenand understand one another, to explore our capacity for having a positive impact in our world, and to discover what it looks like to be an ally. How can we make everyone in our community feel valued and supported through the spaces we help create? How do we do this both in-person and online? The National Conflict Resolution Center, in partnership with the County of San Diego made sure that when the doors to our homes closed, our hearts stayed open.
In the last year, the National Conflict Resolution Center held 100 open enrollments (open to the San Diego County public) and over 1,000 other virtual workshops for clients and organizations that brought people of all backgrounds together to participate in peaceful, productive discussions during a time when they were unable to attend in-person events.
Carole Morales, who has participated in over 50 of these workshops, sat down with us to discuss her key takeaways.
Having been a world traveler for most of her life, Carole hoped to get out of these virtual circles what she got out of traveling: meeting people from all walks of life, getting to hear their perspectives, and sharing stories with people who may not be on “the same wavelength” as her. She has always had a strong desire to engage with others on a variety of topics and a knack for recognizing opportunities to do so (even though she says that these opportunities often find her).
“My biggest takeaway from all of the workshops I’ve attended last year?” Morales questioned. “Resilience. Human beings have a tremendous amount. When you're resilient, you find the positive and keep searching for something that’s going to get you around those obstacles.”
Morales explains that a National Conflict Resolution Center workshop is a place where conversation is possible, everyone is friendly and there is never any hostility even when people disagree. The workshop speakers captivated a sense of optimism in Morales for a better future.
“We don’t know what the future has in store, but I feel more okay with this now. I’m not afraid of going into something new. I know that we can figure it out and not live in the past.”
National Conflict Resolution Center has made it their mission to provide the community with a safe place to discuss current issues arising both within our neighborhoods and the nation when we all faced one of the most challenging years of our lifetimes. In an online community restorative format, participants had the opportunity to engage with one another in guided conversation, with equal opportunity to share unique perspectives and connect meaningfully with one another.
Here are just a few examples of our open enrollments from the last year:
● Virtual Community Circle: Building Connection While Apart: For those of us who are feeling generally isolated from others, how can we build meaningful connections despite our physical separation? (4/1/20)
● Bridging the Divide: Being an Ally in Difficult Times: Exploring our capacity for having a positive impact in our world, and discovering what it looks like to be an ally rightnow. (6/13/20)
● The Practice and Promise of Anti-Racism: Exploring the power we have to individually and collectively take action to uproot racist systems and create positive change. (9/1/20)
● The ART of Inclusive Communication: Meeting Along the Political Spectrum: How to find common ground with people who are politically different from you- without sacrificing your values in the process! (3/2/21)
● We’re Coming Back, But Things Aren’t the Same: The Bystander Challenge: After a year of seismic diversity and inclusion shifts, how will you be an upstander when you are back in-person? (6/3/21)
The National Conflict Resolution Center will continue to provide both in-person and virtual opportunities for people to have a chance to learn more and contribute to these important conversations. To hear about upcoming opportunities, please reach out to email@example.com or visit https://www.ncrconline.com/.