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The America We Want to Be

Conversation Guide

America’s promise of liberty, opportunity and equality has drawn people from around the world. We have been a magnet for people that have been persecuted. Today there is a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe — families are fleeing for their lives. Nobody wants children to suffer, yet they do. Europe and the world are trying to respond to the needs of these families. What is our role?

Background Information:

Political diversity is essential to some conversations. Especially with polarized topics, we encourage you to take extra care to include people who hold different political views. Engaging only with people who hold similar views can lead to further entrenchment of our own beliefs and more polarization. 
 
When inviting guests, consider all kinds of differences – age, culture, political leaning, gender – what voices are you most interested to hear from? What voices might best enrich your conversation?

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 The America We Want to Be?

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:
  • What is the country (or countries) of origin for you and your family? What brought you here?
  • Have you or anyone in your family ever altered your/their name, changed their appearance or in some other way altered themselves to better fit in?
  • How do you see the US acting in the world? How do you want the U.S. to act?
  • Is it possible to be welcoming of refugees and concerned about terrorists crossing borders? If so, what kinds of solutions could address both considerations?

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?

Please complete the feedback form to help us continue to improve Living Room Conversations.

Thank You!

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