July 15, 2020
Category: Open Minds Respectful Voices
Tags: Community, Community-Building, Inclusion, Open Minds Respectful Voices, Respect, Testimonial,
This is the first in a series of spotlights on community leaders in the Triad who have signed their names to NCCJ’s Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative to affirm their commitment to practicing the initiatives 5 Community Practices in their daily conversations. John Cross of Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard PLCC explains why he signed his name, and why these practices matter to him:
Why did you sign on to the Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative, committing to the five Community Practices?
These are worthwhile practices at any time, but their value is enhanced at this particular time in our history. In all of my different communities (work, church, nonprofit volunteer, and family), the discussion of racial justice and equity is at the forefront. I’m impressed at how many people appear newly dedicated to improve equity in our country and our community. We don’t want to lose that motivation or momentum, and these practices will hopefully assist to achieve a positive change we desperately need.
What are you learning through your practice?
I’m learning that a lot more people are willing to engage in difficult discussions now than at any other time I can remember, but they remain hesitant for fear of saying something “wrong” (or what may be viewed as wrong). As a result, it’s important to keep them engaged and not discourage their efforts to be part of something meaningful. The Community Practices do not come naturally to many of us. We will need to be intentional about listening patiently and responding respectfully.
What do you hope happens in our community as more people sign on to the Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative, and commit to the five Community Practices?
Wouldn’t it be grand if we could just have these discussions in a respectful manner? If every conversation had just one person following these practices, I believe that the discussion will be more valuable for everyone. If people can invite others to follow these practices, or teach their children these practices, the future for civil dialogue and developing solutions to difficult problems will be brighter.
What advice do you have for others who are just starting to engage in these practices?
These practices may not come naturally, and they may not be as easy as they sound. We have all unintentionally developed bad communication habits. However, if a real effort is made to improve, you will improve, and that will benefit everyone that is part of your discussions.