Truth and Reconciliation
Nelson Mandela said, “In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of people.” This guide builds on Mandela’s vision of reconciliation by inviting participants to share what is happening in their hearts and minds within the context of racial justice. Truth challenges and liberates us. Reconciliation opens the door to working together for a brighter future. Truth and reconciliation together offer us a pathway toward a world without racism. What would that world look like? What do we need to do and talk about in order to get there?
Background Information:This conversation was designed in conjunction with a documentary for Nelson Mandela International Day 2020. Please watch the film before having this conversation. If interested, you may choose to record your conversation and submit it here for the chance to be part of a follow up documentary premiering on Nelson Mandela International Day 2021.
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 family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Truth and Reconciliation (~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..
- To what extent have recent events around racial justice impacted your everyday life and movement in the world? What has surprised you?
- Where do you see yourself within the context of the racial justice movement? What does that mean to you?
- In the documentary, Khalil Osiris said, “Forgiveness takes one person, reconciliation two”. Where have you seen this play out in your life? What could it look like in a conversation about race?
- Do you feel like you can personally take action toward making positive change around racial justice? If so, what can you do? If not, why not?
- How have recent events or the experiences shared in the documentary opened your mind to a perspective you hadn’t considered before? How do you challenge yourself to stay open and continue to learn?
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?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?