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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Let's step up and be better about how we approach issues

Originally published in The Commons issue #407 (Wednesday, May 10, 2017).



RE: “A matter of disrespect” [Viewpoint, May. 3]:

On a Facebook page last weekend, I read about the Turquoise Grille putting up signs and how angry people were. I then met with the owners of the café, contacted a few people who were so angry, and immediately facilitated a meeting with the owners and the people who were so upset.

The meeting was interesting, everyone understood one another’s points, apologies were made, friendships were born, and we moved on with our lives.

Then a long piece was printed in The Commons with a small sidebar giving a few lines about the apology from the restaurant owners.

Folks, this is no way to deal with issues.

People on both sides were triggered for all sorts of reasons. One side went public with no background information and no real attempt at understanding the full story. And what good did this do?

When someone does something stupid, the first step is to talk with them. Explain: This is how I feel about it. Ask: Why did you do this? Discuss: How can we fix this issue and move on?

Good activists first communicate with who we see as the opposing energy. Through communication, and afterward, we focus on education (why this action is “wrong”), and then there are probably 10 more steps before going public blasting a person or business. Going public in such a way is not going to make things better, so that’s one of the least-used steps to actually deal with a problem.

I understand that we’re all very tense and angry with what’s happening in our government. That’s why it’s critical we all step up and be the very best we can be.

The people who came to the meeting to discuss the action of the restaurant owner were stepping up. Everyone was uncomfortable but everyone tried their hardest. They were open to understanding and moving forward and, I think, they would tell you that they came away as better people for having talked it out.

Let’s all be like those people from both sides of the issue who attended the meeting. Let’s step up instead of inadvertently behaving like those we truly oppose.

Julie Tamler


Putney

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