Too often, we, and those in our communities, have found ourselves ill-equipped to navigate the everyday bumps and bruises of relational work: the passing comment laced with an unintended barb, the casual dismissal of one's experience; an awkward silence followed by a subject change. The result is that sometimes those harmed must either swallow their hurt to remain involved, or extricate themselves; in other cases, a minor incident that could have been handled in the moment escalates not something bigger, leading to a group's dissolution or to a person's banishment, absent a pathway to repair.
We set out to examine the conditions needed to reduce harm and bridge divides when faced with rupture. Over the last two years, we've gathered principles and practices, from the public and experts, to
map out a series of pathways to help us walk through
the journey of repair.
The result? An illustrated guidebook filled with relatable stories, metaphorical landmarks, exercises, and reflection questions to help navigate healing, trust-building, and human messiness.
Pathways to Repair launched in late 2021 as a joint effort between three organizations: The Dinner Party Labs, Faith Matters Network, and Rural Assembly. Our three organizations work in very different contexts and with very different communities: one, a grief community composed largely of 20-, 30-, and early 40-somethings; one, a women of color-led network of spiritual leaders and chaplains accompanying today's frontline organizers and movement leaders; and one, a politically and generationally diverse network of rural communities. What makes us surprising bedfellows, however, is also our strength, as it means we're able to point to the larger story that animates the individual challenges we see within our own communities. It necessitates that everything we develop be the product of a diverse set of voices, and be adaptable and applicable to the particular audiences with whom we work, enabling us to create tools that can further be of use to communities outside our own.
As Field Builders with experimentation support from New Pluralists, our organizations came together in an attempt to add to the growing conversation and work of repair. Pathways to Repair has focused on engaging experts from across the field of repair and harm reduction to address key topics of Rupture, Relationships, Readiness, and Responsibility.
We invite you, too, to spend the next few weeks with these videos (whether you’ve seen them before or you’re visiting them for the first time). We wanted to share some practices for deep listening with you — along with some journal prompts so you can join with us in paying attention to what these conversations surface for each of us, and what they invite us to do next.
Tuesday, October 25: Repair and Rupture: A conversation with Mia Mingus
Watch the replay
In moments that cause rupture or harm a relationship, it is important to think of ways to still engage with the other party in an effective way. Featuring Mia Mingus with SOIL: A Transformative Justice Project in conversation with Brittney Jackson from Faith Matters Network as Mingus shares how transformative justice can change the way we can minimize escalating overwhelming situations.
Wednesday, October 26: Repair and Relationships: A conversation with Bonsai Bermudez
Watch the replay
After moments of tension, making an effort to maintain relationships after is a way to show that you wanting to repair that connection. Danielle Buhuro will explore how to transform systems that are harmful to nourishing supportive human work with Bonsai Bermudez from the Youth Empowerment Performance Project.
Repair and Readiness: A conversation with Chris Moore-Backman + Leonie Smith from East Point Peace Academy
Conflict does not always have to be large disagreements or abrasive and rushing to a solution is not always proven to be the most effective next step. East Point Peace Academy will talk about the ways conflict can present itself, the role shared passion has in efforts to heal, and how historical context can impact a conflated strain.
Repair and Responsibility: A conversation with Anna Claussen and Ash Hanson
Watch the replay
When there is a strain on any type of relationship, knowing what is our’s to own can be difficult. Join Whitney Kimball-Coe with the Rural Assembly, Anna Claussen with Voices for Rural Resilience, and Ash Hanson, Executive Director of The Department of Public Transformation, while they discuss the importance in evaluating how harm affects a community, taking responsibility for what is in our control, and how to continue to build trust.