Conversation Guide

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In the 1980s, the issue of gangs in America received a great deal of
attention, with a focus on the role of gangs in the drug war, dangers to
Americans and their impact on youth, in particular. Since that time,
there has been less public discussion about gangs, even though they
haven’t gone away. It is well established that our criminal justice
system is filled with gang members. Have gangs touched your life? Or
someone you know? What is it about gangs that they continue to flourish
in the most dismal conditions? What we learn about gangs may well assist
us in improving our communities.

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Gangs?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • Where have gang members or gangs touched your life? What happened?
  • What are the elements of gang culture? How does this serve gang members?
  • What is the best possible community response to growing gang membership?
  • Where is concerns about gangs on your top-10 community focus list? Why?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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