Community & Government

Working Through Differences

In this lesson, adrienne and Gloria share methods for conversation, mediation, and conflict resolution.

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Topics include: Working Through Differences Moving Through Conflict Seeding Change With Talking Circles Bringing People Together


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I've been really working hard to change the way people orient towards conflict. And it feels so important to me that we get this right or we get this closer to right. The movements that I've held are primarily Black liberation movements. And what I've seen is how easy it is for us to be turned against each other right when we're about to succeed at actually changing our conditions, right? And I'm like that's because we don't know how to fight fair because we're not in a society that knows how to fight fair. So one of the things I've been practicing with people is, like, how do we sit down and have the right to be angry and know that you can be angry without causing harm? How do we have the right to understand that everyone actually gets to have a voice here? And there's not necessarily a right or wrong, but there's what can only be built between these people? How do we understand that each of us is holding old ideas that need to be evolved because of the way we live them? So I do a lot of, like, when I see people fighting with each other, inviting them to come sit at my table and take a deep breath and say what they actually need. So many people, their needs get caught in their throat, and then they're surprised that no one meets them. I feel like part of what I'm also changing is our right to speak our truth in real time and stop lying and then see what kind of life unfolds from that truth. [MUSIC PLAYING] When harm happens in your community, or harm happens in a relationship or space, two things. One, were you really clear about your needs? Or were you really clear about your boundaries? A ton of harm is happening because there's unspoken boundaries or assumed boundaries in a space. And my friend Prentis Hemphill said this beautiful thing. "Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and myself simultaneously." And I loved it because I was like that's what we're trying to do all the time. - What are the processes that you see work? - My process that I recommend people do is called kitchen table mediation, right, where I'm like there's-- - Already, I have faith in it. - If it happens at the kitchen table-- - The minute you say kitchen table-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] - I mean, it's like, you know, you could have tea. It's the idea that, like, when-- when conflict is happening, it mostly means you're not hearing each other. And if you're not hearing each other, it's very easy to be like, this person is causing me harm, they intend horrible things for me, whatever. But mediation can help us really break down, like, what is it you're actually needing in this moment? Here's what I'm actually needing in this moment. And it really mostly just needs a third person, someone who can be fairly neutral on the topic, to sit and listen and allow you to slow down and move out of your assumptions and hear each other. So the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute ...

About the Instructor

Women’s rights activists and political changemakers Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen know there’s strength in numbers—especially in the fight for equality. Now, they’re coming together to dissect the issues women have faced in the U.S., talk about their advocacy efforts and personal challenges, and introduce ways you can play an active role in the feminist movement in your everyday life.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen

Four women’s rights activists discuss the feminist movement in the U.S., ways they’re creating change, and how you can join the fight for equality.

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