Press Release: Free, Professional Facilitation for Healing Conversations Available to Utah Residents

Following the Supreme Court ruling last week, the divide in Utah and across the nation remains intense. Instead of healing conversations, however, average Americans continue to be inundated with a political discourse full of anger, attacks and growing fear.

Today, Village Square Salt Lake City announces broadly a plan to help personally facilitate 100 healing conversations for Utah residents this summer. 

In doing so, we acknowledge that some people are weary and impatient to stop talking about this.  As John Backman wrote last week, "In dialogue after dialogue, controversy after controversy, I've heard people all over the spectrum of politics and faith lose their cool and just want it done. Some of them hope that, if they can close the door on the issue, the people on the other side will go away" (See How Do We "Move on" After the Supreme Court Ruling?)

While this kind of a need for space among some should be respected, it's important to realize that others may need something more to find healing.  In my own Huffington Post blog last week, I shared more of why we are hoping to invite these healing conversations in a country so deeply conflicted (See Celebrating (and Mourning) Marriage's Evolution in America). In a previous article, Tracy Hollister and I wrote about our universally positive experiences bringing together Mormons and their neighbors in the LGBT community in similar healing conversations (see From Aversion to Affection). 

If we can have such a positive experience, why not many more? We plan to use the same Living Room Conversation model that has proven effective in some of the most divisive issues facing our nation. In my personal experience, these conversations have evaporated my fear and anger in incredibly healing ways (see KUER interview clip). 
We have observed, however, that many people remain scared and worried about doing something like this.  That's why we've decided to offer our professional facilitation support at no cost – and why we're turning to you, our Utah media contacts, to help spread awareness about this opportunity.      
Over the next two months, we invite any Utah resident who wants to try a conversations like this, to contact us.  At absolutely no cost, our non-profit will help guide the planning and preparation for individuals to have a successful and productive experience. 
We believe that people who try this will experience almost immediate benefits.  Fear can diminish. Anger can de-tox…and our body politic can experience some real healing!  At the end of the summer, pictures will be posted of all the conversations – as well as lessons and insights.  
Thank you for sharing our invitation with Utah! As John Backman writes, "Ultimately, there is no 'other side.' There is just us, all of us, together in this world whether we like it or not."