Just shy of two weeks after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the president of the United States, ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy held the group dialogue Impact Arizona: Post-Inauguration Dialogues in the A.E. England Building on Tuesday night.
The event was designed to give students and community members a chance to talk about issues impacting them, and discuss different perspectives.
Sandra Price, a faculty member at Arizona State University’s School of Community Resources & Development, facilitated the first phase of the event, which consisted of groups of four to six people made up of college students and faculty members from ASU and Maricopa County Community College, as well as Phoenix residents.
“We’re not arguing tonight, we’re shooting for understanding,” Price said. “In order for tonight to work we have to respect that there are people with multiple views in this room with us together and we’re all here for dialogue.”
Price had the small groups share their thoughts on the election and Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“Some of us in the room are very excited to have our apple cart overturned and to have a president who is going to shake some stuff up,” Price said. “For some of us the very same situation makes us nervous and fearful and we don’t know what’s coming.”
After the small groups broke up there was an open-mic session, which summed up the main topic discussed during the 30-minute small group open dialogue session.
“Not every person agrees 100 percent with everything of any candidate that has been president,” ASU student Tamei Shepherd said. “So, don’t become complacent if you want something changed; this is the time to make your actions louder than your words.”
Before the dialogue began, Price made sure every person involved in the dialogue was comfortable by introducing active empathetic listening as well as a get-to-know-your-group-members exercise.
“It was a good open dialogue to have and was nice to hear from other people concerned with issues concerning our president and the election that are going on in the country,” ASU interior design student Jessica Zielazowski said.
The open discussion was an idea that Price emphasized.
“The fact that you’re willing to hear somebody doesn’t mean you agree with them,” Price said. “Most of us are uncomfortable with conflict. We can’t get away from it but we can learn some skills for when we’re in it.”
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