Building Bridges

Helping Us Have Those “Difficult Conversations”

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together, we have to talk.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Advocacy is hard work. Constantly butting up against opposition can wear us out. As an antidote to frustration and burnout, sometimes we just need to sit down and talk to one another. But how do we do that in today’s polarized society?

The Building Bridges program uses the Living Room Conversation model as a way for people from differing perspectives to have meaningful conversations. Rather than seeking to convince one another, we practice listening and engage our authentic curiosity. Good conversations help build relationships and illuminate the places where values align—which is where agreement can grow even if opinions differ.

We encourage you to explore Building Bridges through conversation events and training workshops.

Upcoming workshops:

Difficult Conversations: The Art and Science of Working Together
Part I: Thursday, February 8
Part II: Thursday, February 15
1:30 – 4:30 pm PT / 4:30 – 7:30 pm ET

For more information contact Lise at

Sacred Listening Workshop with Daniel Epstein
Friday, March 15
10:00 am – 1:00 pm PT / 1:00 – 4:00 pm ET


Daniel Epstein has interviewed more than 500 people from 28 countries creating the world’s most extensive set of portraits and testimonies on the subject of faith, the meaning of Life, one’s purpose. This unique project led Daniel to understand that even more important and powerful than telling one’s own story is “the act of listening and receiving the story” especially someone perceived to be the “other”. This he calls “Sacred Listening.”

We are honored that on Friday, March 15 at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET, Daniel will bring his three hour Sacred Listening workshop to Elders Action Network. The workshop will conclude with a meaningful sharing of “who do we see as the other?” “when have we felt like the other?” and “what can we do to dismantle our misperceptions of the other?”  In these challenging times this is a step we can take to seeing each other’s humanity.

Making the Implicit Explicit: What Neuroscience Reveals About Controlling Our Unconscious Biases with David Rose
Tuesday, April 30
1:00 – 3:30 pm PT / 4:00 – 6
:30 pm ET


The Building Bridges team is honored to sponsor this special class by neurophysiologist David Rose. In recent years, there has been a great deal of scientific and popular interest in what are called “implicit biases.” Such biases—like racism, sexism, ableism—are largely unconscious and unintentional and yet can profoundly affect perception, behavior, and emotion. David will explore what modern brain research can teach us about the origin of these implicit biases, and especially about how they can be prevented, reduced, or controlled.

Some questions he will address:

  • When and where do unconscious biases emerge in the brain?
  • To what extent are social biases inherited or learned?
  • What are the primary types of implicit social biases found in the brain?
  • Why are implicit biases easier to learn than to unlearn?
  • Why are most anti-bias trainings and educational programs unsuccessful?
  • What does brain research reveal about how to design educational interventions that are successful in reducing, controlling, or preventing the injustices that follow from implicit biases?
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