BETTER ANGELS MINNESOTA

Welcome!

Better Angels in the North Star State is happy to have you as a member. Our volunteer MN coordinator of regional activities, Pat DeVries, is here to help. You may contact her at [email protected] for registration and for more information.

How to get involved:

The best way to stay in touch is to join as a member ($12 annually) at better-angels.org. This will allow you to receive emails regarding monthly member calls, new initiatives, and local events.

To experience and learn about the Better Angels way of understanding political differences, participate in workshop or event.

Workshop & Event Descriptions:

Depolarizing Within: Becoming a Better Angel in Your Own World
(Depolarizing Within Workshops)
Learn the discipline of non-polarizing attitudes and words about the political “Other” with whom we share a national past and future. Become more aware of polarization inside us and between us. Practice skills for being critical—even sharply critical—without demonizing, dismissing, and stereotyping. Learn to constructively intervene in social conversations that veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Bridging the Political Divide: Conversation Skills
(Skills Workshops)
Learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground and affirm the importance of maintaining relationships with those on the other side of the political divide. Practice conversation skills in pairs with someone of your same political persuasion.

Bridging the Political Divide: Listening and Understanding (Red/Blue Workshops)
Focus on listening and reflecting during this structured conversation between balanced groups of Republican- and Democratic-leaning citizens. The conversation is designed to increase understanding of the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide.

Better Angels Debates
You probably haven’t experienced anything like a Better Angels Debate. It’s not a political debate, where competing candidates attempt to win votes. Nor is it a high school or college debate, where people advocate positions in which they may not believe for the sole purpose of vanquishing their foes.

A Better Angels Debate is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships.

Using the parliamentary debate process, the conversation grows and develops through a series of speeches supporting or opposing the resolution. The structured format of a Better Angels Debate encourages the passionate and energetic expression of ideas. The speeches that support or challenge the resolution together with the questions to the speakers from those in attendance lead to a stimulating exploration of the topic through civil discourse. The primary rule of these debates calls on participants, speakers and questioners, to articulate what they actually believe, even if it’s complicated or incomplete, instead of trying to provide an air tight case or advancing a position they don’t really support.

Registration is required for all events.

Events are typically three hours and none require advance preparation, knowledge of any specific subject, or fees. Just find a workshop or debate that works for you and register. All events are highly structured to ensure respectful and constructive conversation.

If you register, please keep in mind that the group is counting on you to attend so be sure to let the Organizer know well in advance if your plans change.

Additionally, if you would like to Organize a workshop in your community, and would like to enroll as an Organizer, click here.

If you have seen a workshop in action and would like to apply to become a Better Angels-certified Moderatorclick here.

If you are interested in the emerging Better Angels Debates, learn more and apply to be a Debate Chair, click here.

Alliances:

An alliance is a regular meeting of Better Angels members who have attended at least one workshop. The Alliance discusses policy and opportunities for civil engagement.

Eagan Alliance

The Eagan Alliance typically meets the third Tuesday of each month. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

St. Paul Alliance

The newly formed St. Paul Alliance will have monthly meetings to discuss important topics across party lines. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to join or just learn more about the alliance.

MN Volunteer Positions

State Co-Coordinator – Looking for a Red (R) in northern Minnesota to share duties with current Blue (B) Coordinator in the Twin Cities.

Greeter – Need friendly greeter to welcome new members to Better Angels, tell them what’s happening in their area, and answer basic questions.

Please email Pat DeVries for more information at [email protected].

Upcoming Events

A New Better Angels Workshop

FAMILIES AND POLITICS: HOW TO TALK WITH LOVED ONES ON THE OTHER SIDE

Ramsey County Library – Roseville
Tue, November 12th, 5:30-8:30 pm
Registration link will be posted when it becomes available
Location: 2180 North Hamline Ave, Roseville, MN 55113

Ramsey County Library – Maplewood
Sat, November 16th, 9:00 am – noon
Registration link will be posted when it becomes available
Location: 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood, MN 55109

Family relationships are becoming casualties of our toxic political environment.  Family members are having nasty political arguments, avoiding each other, and even cutting off lifetime relationships. If you want to preserve important family bonds while still being true to your values and political beliefs, this workshop will offer you:

  • Insight into why family differences over politics are uniquely challenging
  • Recognition of common roles that family members play in political conversations (for example, the Gladiator, the Defender, and the Sniper).
  • Strategies and skills for handling family political differences in a constructive way

Although the focus is on family relationships, you can apply the skills to any important relationship.

You’ll laugh and have some fun in this workshop—it won’t be all serious.  After all, we all come from quirky families.

Better Angels Minnesota presents:

Better Angels Debate (Fort Snelling)
Tue, November 5th, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
A registration link and topic for the evening will be posted as soon as it is available.
Location: Northern Star Council Boy Scouts of America
6202 Bloomington Road, Saint Paul, MN 55111
View Map

Please join us for an informative and provocative evening of good conversation and the civil exchange of ideas regarding an important topic confronting our nation.

A free-will offering will be requested at the event to help defray the expense of renting the facility.

The debate resolution does not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, and opinions of the Better Angels organization, its individual members, its event organizers, or any cosponsors of debate events.

Faith Community hosted event:

Plymouth Congregational Church (Minneapolis)
Sat, October 26th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Depolarizing Within Workshop
Click here to register

Dakota County Library hosted events presented by the Eagan Alliance:

Pleasant Hill Library (Hastings)
Sun, October 13th, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Skills Workshop
Click here to register

Heritage Library (Lakeville)
Sat, November 9th, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Red/Blue Workshop (3-hour)
Click here to register

Heritage Library (Lakeville)
Wed, November 20th , 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Skills Workshop
Click here to register

Hennepin County Library hosted events:

Washburn Library (Minneapolis)
Sat, October 12th, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Skills Workshop

Click here to register

Edina Library (Edina)
Sat, October 19th, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Depolarizing Within Workshop

Click here to register

Golden Valley Library (Golden Valley)
Sat, November 16th, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Depolarizing Within Workshop

Click here to register

Media

Better Angels in Local Media

Local Media Archive


Let’s Go DePolarize Minnesota!