Dr. Katherine Wilson serves as Executive Director of the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, a non-profit that facilitates civil dialogue between groups in conflict. Based in Milwaukee, WI, the most racially segregated city in the US, the Zeidler Center’s current projects include facilitating meetings between the Milwaukee police department and communities of color; and facilitator training in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite her cheery disposition, Katherine focused her PhD research on genocide studies and theories of atrocity testimony. Interested in community building at both the local and global level, Katherine is passionate about sharing tools for humanizing and building trust across boundaries. She finds balance in sailing and salsa.
Contemplative Listening Circles About Racism
Many of us avoid talking about race, especially if we think we might disagree with or offend others in the community. And some of us feel it’s not “safe” to speak up or share, especially if others in the community have assumed that we all agree. This dialogue will give us an opportunity to speak about our values, our concerns, and our hopes, and to speak not only about our strong beliefs but also our confusion and ambivalence. We’ll be using a contemplative circling method that includes meditative dynamics of listening and sharing. The goal of the workshop will not be to agree. Rather, it will be to better understand each other’s perspectives and perhaps, in the process, we will come to better understand our own. This will be a structured, facilitated conversation, not a debate. Our facilitators will ask us to make communication agreements that will encourage us to listen attentively, speak honestly in ways that promote learning and genuine inquiry, and resist the urge to persuade or fix others.