- March 24, 2022
- 7:00 pm
- Online (PDT)
Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding one another is hurting our relationships and our broader society. Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using—our own built-in curiosity. She believes that even though we think we have the answers, we need to be asking a lot more questions.
Mónica is the chief storyteller for the national cross-partisan depolarization organization Braver Angels, which brings her to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. Through her work and writing she explores how to overcome the fear and certainty that surrounds us to do what only seems impossible—understand and even learn from people in your life whose whole worldview is different from or even opposed to yours.
Drawing on the cross-partisan conversations she’s had, and ones she has organized, or witnessed from the echo chambers on social media, to the wheat fields in Oregon, and the raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica’s latest book I Never Thought of It That Way invites you to put your natural sense of wonder to work. In doing so, you can find the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking the questions you want, with curiosity.
Whether you’re left, right, center, or not a fan of labels and you’re ready to fight back against the confusion, heartbreak, and madness of our dangerously divided times—in your own life, at least—Mónica provides tools and fresh, surprising insights to prove that seeing where people are coming from isn’t just possible, it’s easier than you think.
Join CIIS Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion Damali Robertson in a conversation with Mónica about her life and her work and learn how to have fearlessly curious conversations.
Mónica Guzmán is a bridge builder, journalist, and entrepreneur who lives for great conversations sparked by curious questions. She’s director of digital and storytelling at Braver Angels, the nation’s largest cross-partisan grassroots organization working to depolarize America; host of live interview series at Crosscut; and cofounder of the award-winning Seattle newsletter The Evergrey. She was a 2019 fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she researched how journalists can rethink their roles to better meet the needs of a participatory public. She was named one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle, served twice as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes, and plays a barbarian named Shadrack in her besties’ Dungeons & Dragons campaign. A Mexican immigrant, Latina, and dual US/Mexico citizen, she lives in Seattle with her husband and two kids and is the proud liberal daughter of conservative parents.
Damali Robertson joins the California Institute of Integral Studies as Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion after a 15-year career in progressive non-profit leadership. She brings an unshakable commitment to equity and justice along with rich lived experiences to her role at CIIS. From 2008-2011, Damali helped pioneer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives at the Haas Center for Public Service (long before the uprisings of 2020 and long before many organizations were ready to invest in this critical work). More recently, she spent a year leading an in-depth racial equity project to address the achievement gap between Black students and their peers at a Bay Area high school. That project inspired her to become an even more vocal practitioner, advocate and thought leader in the DEI space and motivated her decision to pursue a MA in Social Justice and Organizing. Most recently, she co-led DEI initiatives at Root & Rebound while also leading their fundraising and communications efforts, creating campaigns about the systemic injustices and disparities built into America’s criminal legal system. Damali grounds her work in antiracist and anti-oppression praxis. She is also a restorative justice and mindfulness practitioner who approaches everything with a ‘restorative impulse,’ integrity, lots of deep breaths and compassion. Damali identifies as a Black, queer, differently abled, Jamaican-American woman, poet, writer, and teacher who is also a mother of two young adults and pet parent to two adorable and sometimes noisy doggies. Damali lives in Oakland, CA and loves travel, spicy food, Reggae and Hip-Hop music.
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