Better Angels in 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 a Red/Blue and/or Skills Workshop.

Our signature Red/Blue Workshop brings together 7 conservative-leaning participants and 7 progressive-leaning participants for moderated activities and discussions that clarify disagreements, reduce stereotyped thinking, and begin building the relationships needed to find common ground.

Our Skills Workshop teaches practical skills for having better conversations with friends and family members with whom you have strong political disagreements.

Both workshops are typically three hours and neither requires advance preparation, knowledge of any specific subject, or fees. Just find a workshop that works for you and register. The workshops are highly structured to ensure civil 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.

Upcoming Events

Better Angels invites you to attend a kickoff event for the 2019 University of Minnesota Science Court.  This is a new and exciting opportunity for Better Angels members to participate by bringing Better Angels identified issues for alliances and debate to our newest generation of voters.

Science Court is a project designed and run by the University of Minnesota to combat polarization in American society and strengthen democracy.

Science Court is run as an interdisciplinary course in the University of Minnesota Honors Program. The students select a controversial issue, study it in depth to determine the facts, then argue it in a mock trial in front of a jury of citizens with a mix of views and backgrounds. The public is engaged through compelling audio, video and online content generated by the students about the preparations, trial and verdict. The trial is open to the public.  To learn more about Science Court, check out the website at https://scicourt.umn.edu/.

Take it to Science Court: Brainstorm for the Next Controversial Case (University of Minnesota)

Sat, June 15th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm   

What case should go to trial in Science Court this fall? Come to this dynamic workshop to work in groups to identify potential cases. The ideas from this workshop will form a pool of cases that the students will consider in the fall.  This event is open to the public and Better Angels members are encouraged to participate.

Registration information: To reserve a spot, email [email protected].

The Workshops

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. Learn 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.

Registration is required for all workshops.

Dakota County Library hosted events, presented by the Better Angels Alliance of Eagan:

Burnhaven Library (Burnsville)
Sat, June 1st, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm    Red/Blue Workshop (full-day) 
Click here to register             

Galaxie Library (Apple Valley)
Sat, July 13th, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm   Red/Blue Workshop (3-hour) 
Click here to register

Wentworth Library (West St. Paul)    
Sat, July 13th, 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm    Skills Workshop
Click here to register

Farmington Library (Farmington)
Tue, August 13th, 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm    Skills Workshop
Click here to register

Robert Trail Library (Rosemount)
Sat, September 14th, 10:30 am – 1:30 pm     Red/Blue Workshop (3-hour)
Click here to register

Ramsey County Library hosted events, presented by the Better Angels St. Paul Alliance:

Mounds View Library (Mounds View)
Sat, August 3rd, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm    Depolarizing Within Workshop
A registration link for this workshop will be posted when available

Maplewood Library (Maplewood)
Mon, August 12th, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm       Red/Blue Workshop (3-hour)
A registration link for this workshop will be posted when available                          

Shoreview Library (Shoreview)
Thu, August 15th, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm    Red/Blue Workshop (3-hour)
A registration link for this workshop will be posted when available

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. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Saint Paul Alliance

Ray Wallin and Markus Fasel are starting a new Better Angels alliance in Saint Paul. The Alliance will have monthly meetings to discuss important topics across party lines. If you would like to join or just learn more about the alliance, please contact [email protected].

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].

Handouts

Click here to read Bill Doherty’s dos and don’ts of political discussion at the Thanksgiving table.

Better Angels in Local Media

In-depth interview from Rochester’s KAAL (ABC 6 News ) Better Angels Mission to Bring Back Civility in Politics

‘Better Angels’ — pushing back on political polarization in the TwinCities.com Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press’s “Their antidote for red vs. blue political poison: conversations” features a Better Angels Workshop at the Inver Grove Heights Library

West Central Tribune “Talking politics with the “other” side? A few tips for better conversations

Twin Cities PBS segment of Almanac at the Capital featuring a Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop at the Inver Grove Heights Library

Local Media Archive

StarTribune Article about family relationships and polarized politics

Article about Better Angels in the Farmington Independent

A student workshop at St. Olaf College was profiled on the campus website

Our local Eagan Alliance was featured in the Dakota County Tribune newspaper

Bill Doherty and Better Angels were featured in an StarTribune article about building relationships as an antidote to incivility

Better Angels recently partnered with Trademark Theater on their production of “Understood” which was covered by the StarTribune and MPR

Let's Go DePolarize Minnesota!