• 59°

Guest Opinion: Differences make us strong

By Jordan Feyerherm

This last year was a difficult year for everyone, for a multitude of reasons. Of the many challenges that came to national attention throughout the year, perhaps the most apparent was the lack of civil discourse among those with different identities, beliefs and political affiliations.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we have always believed our differences make us strong, but only when we can engage with those differences civilly and with our best intentions.

While this can be a challenge, we believe it is well worth the effort and for this reason, the Center urges community leaders to use the Civity method, practicing intentional, genuine and respectful conversation across difference.

Civity is the idea of purposefully engaging in relationships of respect and empathy with others who are different. This helps community leaders transform the dialogue in their towns to understand and celebrate differences – across race, class, culture and politics.

The goal of Civity, as it grows, is to transition from a “we/they” mindset to a “we all belong” mindset. When people have the sense that we are in this together – when they feel confident reaching out to and connecting with others – differences become springboards rather than barriers.

The method deepens the ability of community leaders to leverage their passions and visions in their professional and personal lives by developing strategic relationship-building skills centered on connecting with people who are different.

Some ways Civity can be used:

  • Practice reaching out to people different from themselves.
  • Acknowledge and take on the risk of telling their own story.
  • Create listening spaces to invite and truly hear the stories others have to share.
  • Discover the power of small “wise interventions” to make everyday interactions count.

Jordan Feyerherm is a community development manager at the Center for Rural Affairs.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

News

Cooper and Cohen tour Kill Devil Hills vaccine clinic

Lifestyles

High school seniors honored with NCCF Coastal Stewardship Awards announced

News

Mega Millions ticket sold online in North Carolina wins $1 million prize

News

NC State researchers predict 2021 hurricane season will be active

Crime

FBI increases reward for information on deaths of three women in North Carolina

Crime

Former Ft. Bragg private sentenced to over 12 years in prison after taking minor across state lines in fake kidnapping

News

Construction accident at old Bonner Bridge demolition site results in death

News

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

News

Nags Head commissioners approve text amendments to UDO

News

State and local COVID-19 update

News

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City hoists two people stranded in marsh near Mockhorn Island, Virginia

News

Interstate 85 Welcome Center, rest area near Virginia state line closed for renovations

Crime

Driver faces multiple charges after child struck, killed in North Carolina

News

Dare commissioners take next step in Home Health and Hospice process

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 years in prison for drug, firearm charges

Hyde

Ferry routes between Swan Quarter, Cedar Island and Ocracoke resume service, dredging continues

News

NCDOT to install temporary zipper merge in Carteret County

News

Court rules Duck beach access is private

News

Wake County won’t pursue criminal complaint of Louis DeJoy

Lifestyles

Lineman Appreciation Day recognizes critical role

News

Halifax County man becomes latest Millionaire Maker top prize winner

Crime

North Carolina sheriff’s office identifies two found dead; foul play suspected

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to prison, ordered to pay over $6 million in restitution for wire fraud

News

Corridor in place to access Cape Point due to oystercatcher breeding