The Declaration of Independence points to an ideal of inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Throughout our nation’s history, access to those rights- as well as others- has varied among different groups and communities. The opportunity gap, wage gap, and education gap as well as access to health resources all point to a society still striving toward social equity. Social equity moves us toward fair, just, and equitable recognition and provision of basic needs of all residents and the total community. This conversation is designed to explore our own personal and community experiences of access to basic needs and resources and how we see and understand social equity playing out in our country.
Background Information:Interested in having further conversations? Additional guides you may be interested in include Status and Privilege, The Opportunity Gap, and Social Identity.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Social Equity (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What does social equity look like to you?
- Where have you seen examples of a socially equitable community?
- Have you, or has someone close to you, ever been unable to access basic resources like health care, education, or voting? What barriers were faced?
- Are there “social equity” concerns in your community? If so, what are they? If not, should there be?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?