Different Together is inspired by the idea that when we mend division, we restore trust. In turn, trust allows us to work together to solve problems in an inclusive and respectful way, both in our communities and nationally. Every month, Different Together hosts meetings both in person and online that encourage dialogue between divided communities. We apply the best methodologies to help us build the skills needed to have productive, meaningful conversations with everyone, including those with whom we disagree. At some events, we also discuss our personal values and the various ways that our individual histories inform our opinions. In the process, we can understand the members of our community who hold opinions we might normally avoid. As we heal ourselves, we discover how to heal our communities. Subscribe to our mailing list and we’ll let you know about what’s coming up!
How often are meetings held and where are they?
Different Together hosts meetings monthly at various locations in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland. We also now host meetings through Zoom. Subscribe to our mailing list to hear about our next event!
What do you talk about?
Our goal is to talk about divisive issues in a non-divisive way. Therefore, we often talk about the most important issues facing our country and community. Topics in past meetings include the political elections, healthcare, freedom of speech, among many others.
How do you promote conversation while making it welcoming for everyone?
We acknowledge that these conversations can be uncomfortable. Yet, we encourage participants to lean into the challenge with a spirit of curiosity and respect. We provide a facilitator to assist this process and ask all participants each week to agree to a set of group agreements, available to review here.
What if I only want to observe? Or what if someone is monopolizing the conversation?
The facilitator will encourage participation but will not require that everyone speaks. The facilitator is also responsible for managing the group’s time and making sure that the conversation is shared among those who wish to share.
How do you handle disagreements?
We’re prepared to create an environment where disagreement is healthy. Just as our name says, our goal is to be different together. When we experience breakdowns in conversation, which happens from time to time, we pause and make time to work through the issue. Importantly, we do not expect to change anyone. Rather, we hope to increase our understanding of each other.
Do I need to prepare or study any issue before I attend? You are welcome to come as you are. Everyone has an important experience and story to share. We ask that you bring a notepad, pen, and a willingness to share and to listen.
Since these meetings occur in a church, is there a religious orientation?
No. We welcome everyone regardless of your faith tradition or whether you have any faith experience at all. Our goal is to create an environment where everyone is valued and respected.