Talking Together in Challenging Times


Drawn by a participant at the initial community building conference in December 1997.


By now each of you is aware of the shooting that took place in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon (09.21.16) and the reactions that followed last night and into the early morning. Perhaps you may have followed the various statements that have been issued at Wednesday's press conference and through other media sources. Within a story and circumstance that is sadly all too familiar we confront a story that is part of our national narrative but that will unfold over the next days and weeks in our community. We have a chance to see ourselves within the story - some more directly than others - and to work together for understanding, response and change.

We express our condolences to the family of Keith Lamont Scott. We send our support to our colleagues at CMPD and their families. We reach out in concern for all those living or working in affected areas, including in our schools and with our children, and we stand with our leaders as they work to protect and stabilize our city. There are harsh realities, deep challenges and rich opportunity in what has taken place – the harsh realities of what is in our nation’s and our city’s ground with regard to race, but the rich opportunity to build connections and bridges where none exist and to acknowledge our shared history as we work to move forward together.

In this spirit we offer these questions for reflection:

What has been your immediate feeling upon learning about what has happened?
Have these feelings shifted or become more complex? If so, how?
What is the dominant story you are telling yourself and others about what happened?
What other stories are you hearing? Who is telling these stories?
Whose story don’t you know or understand?

How can we – as leaders and individuals - connect and stand with those who are vulnerable and marginalized in our community?

What must we confront that’s “in the ground” in our community and in ourselves in order to interrupt the culture of fear of and violence toward “the other” – whomever that may be in our worlds and spheres?

To download the "Talking About Challenging Times" discussion guide, click here.