Listening, learning and building bridges through Aspirations to Actions

Listening, learning and building bridges through Aspirations to Actions

Posted on April 08, 2015 by Mike Mansfield

The Aspirations to Actions initiative of The Patterson Foundation asks us to listen and learn. As a “guide on the side” I have listened and I certainly have learned!

Some think it’s easy to listen and learn. What if the group you are listening to speaks a different language? What if there are cultural implications creating communication road blocks? How can one learn and listen when communication is compromised due to language barriers?

I have had the great pleasure of working alongside a team from SCOPE and a team focused on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Both groups have held community conversations in Spanish or included translators and the results are breathtaking.

The communication barricade was lifted and the opinions and beliefs of the community could be confidently exchanged. The conversations have been themed and there have been many common threads, regardless of language.

People were asked what their aspirations were for their community:

- A place where people can live and work together regardless of cultural differences.

- A community of compassion

- A safe community where children have an opportunity to thrive and learn.

- A community where there are job opportunities for everyone.

What I have learned is everyone has a voice and everyone has an aspiration. We need to listen and learn from all of our conversations and continue to create communication bridges rather than settle for barriers in order to generate new realities for all members of our society.


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