• Sharon Dunn

SEE OUR STRUCTURED DIALOGUE PROCESS AT WORK

Hands Across the Hills members, three each from Letcher County KY and Leverett MA, participated in an hour-long dialogue on Zoom in early February 2021. Facilitator Paula Green has been guiding dialogues for this group since its inception in 2017. This Zoom recording allows us to see the dialogue process first-hand.

This is the first time an actual Hands Across the Hills dialogue has been available for viewing. It was created for the purpose of demonstrating the dialogue process at the request of CBS Evening News. As a sample dialogue, it features six participants rather than the 20-25 members who usually participate. Due to the time constraints of CBS, broadcast of this dialogue did not occur. However, all six participants agreed to make this dialogue public as an educational tool.

The dialogue process used by Hands Across the Hills is highly structured. It begins with a carefully crafted question to begin discussion. This session’s opening question was: "How do polarizations impact you personally, your community, and our country? And how does three years with Hands Across the Hills shape your views and responses?"

Our dialogue group members have agreed on guidelines to ensure full participation and safety, such as careful listening, confidentiality and respectful speaking, which are documented in our website’s RESOURCES section under “Ground Rules for Dialogues.”


Other materials relating to dialogue are available in our RESOURCES section.


Paula Green, who is an international and domestic peace-builder and long-time dialogue facilitator, observed that this dialogue models both the process of dialogue and the positive outcomes of three years of intensive exchanges. The dialogues have enabled us to know each other in our full humanity and to care deeply about each other’s wellbeing.

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