Episode 58, 40 min listen.
If you want to discover how to become a better listener and learn techniques to help you listen with greater respect and love, this episode is for you. In this episode, Victoria Chance and Mary Anne Inglis of My Neighbor's Voice offer an approach to strengthen our listening skills and, at the same time, build community with our neighbors.
Learn more about My Neighbor's Voice or check out their upcoming events HERE.
Buy a set of My Neighbor's Voice Listening Cards at the My Neighbor's Voice Site, or, if you're local to Upstate South Carolina, you can stop in at As the Page Turns in Travelers Rest, S.C. to purchase a set.
Learn more about Just Faith Ministries and find out if there is a group near you.
Learn more about Osher Life-Long Learning Institute and find a program near you.
Victoria Chance is Executive Director and co-founder of the nonprofit My Neighbor’s Voice (MNV) in Greenville, South Carolina. After 30 years as a teacher in public schools in rural South Carolina, she left the high school classroom to follow her vision of creating a safe and deeply hospitable forum called My Neighbor’s Voice. MNV is a place where all voices can be heard and protected, through a moderated format, as a deliberate and direct way to make our communities safer and more welcoming for everyone. Ms. Chance received her BA in English from Furman University in Greenville, SC and her Masters in Contemplative Education at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She is the recipient, along with her co-founder Mary Anne Inglis, of the Peacemaker Award from the Upstate Mediation Center in 2019 for her nonprofit work and was a speaker for the local TEDx Greenville salon in January 2020. Victoria Chance is a past board member of Interfaith Forum Greenville and is an accomplished yoga and meditation teacher with 24 years of experience. She is married to Potter Bob, has two lovely children, and two stupendous granddaughters.
MARY ANNE'S BIO
Mary Anne Inglis is a retired ESL teacher. Before teaching ESL, she managed her husband, Bob Inglis’ political campaigns for the SC-4 Congressional District. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations. She is a member of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church and a board member of A Rocha USA, a Christian conservation organization engaged in ecological awareness and habitat improvement. Her husband is Executive Director of RepublicEN, a non-profit whose goal is to educate and encourage Republicans about free enterprise solutions to climate change. Together, they have five children.
Ame Sanders 00:11
This is the State of Inclusion Podcast, where we explore topics at the intersection of equity, inclusion, and community. In each episode, we meet people who are changing their communities for the better. And we discover actions that each of us can take to improve our own communities.
I’m Ame Sanders, welcome.
If you've followed our State of Inclusion Podcast for a while, or maybe you've subscribed to our newsletter at The Inclusive Community, you probably know that we often talk about the conditions that are necessary for communities to become more inclusive and equitable. We talk about what we call the practice of GroundWork. That's the idea of preparing the community soil, for the seeds of equity and inclusion to be able to take root and grow. And one of the most important aspects of GroundWork is this idea of community conversation, and deeply listening to our neighbors. If that interests you, you're going to love this episode. In this episode, the focus is placed squarely on the simple act of listening. Join us as we talk about how listening to our neighbor's voice is an act we can all take. You'll hear my guests even describe listening to our neighbor's voice as an act of love, and grace. Join us as we learn steps that we can take to begin this practice of listening in our own community with our own neighbors right away.
Today, I'm happy to welcome Victoria Chance.
Victoria Chance 01:48
Good morning, Ame.
Ame Sanders 01:49
And Mary Anne Inglis.
Mary Anne Inglis 01:51
It's wonderful to be here.
Ame Sanders 01:53
They're co-founders of My Neighbor's Voice. Welcome, ladies.
-About My Neighbor's Voice
Would you guys tell our listeners a little bit about your nonprofit, My Neighbor's Voice? That's such an interesting name for an organization.
Victoria Chance 02:09
Well, the name of the organization is intentional, because when we were first starting this up in 2016, we needed a name that involved everyone and was also connected to a spiritual approach to living on this planet. And that's by loving your neighbor. We decided together that listening is a form of loving one another. And so, My Neighbor's Voice was a pretty natural name for us that we could both agree on, readily.
So, that's part of it. Our nonprofit is a way to gather people together. It's a way to hear stories, hear opinions, hear ideas, and suggestions about how to live in community. We do that by answering community questions. Mary Anne, do you want to talk a little bit about how we got here?
Mary Anne Inglis 03:09
Yeah. When we started this nonprofit, both of us were aware that the 2016 election was putting people in boxes and very far apart. We just felt like that was not a healthy way to have community. We were not comfortable with that direction, and watching the community go that way. So, we decided that again, just reemphasizing the act of listening as a way of loving and people weren't listening to each other. They were just assuming and reacting and just not listening.
This model is built on what used to be in Greenville an interfaith dinner community that met once a year. Victoria got in touch with them and said, "Can we use this model?" And they went, "Of course." They were some of our first big supporters, of course. So, we had a model to go by as far as a listening model and how it worked in the community. Then we built the questions around that model and have continued to refine it. The word we say is we're always changing as far as questions. Not as far as mission, but as far as how we get the mission accomplished. So, it's a very fluid way, and it's also very approachable, and it's very appropriate in a lot of different settings.
-How it Works
Ame Sanders 04:34
Yeah, so I recently had the great fortune to attend one of your community dinners, and for some of our listeners, this may sound a little abstract to them. So, it might be helpful if we could talk a little bit about how this idea of community listening actually works in a room full of potentially strangers. I mean, you may know people there, but you may not. You know how that really works. So, you mentioned that your process starts with questions. Tell us a little bit about the questions and how you arrived at this set of questions, and maybe how you've learned and evolved in those over time?
Victoria Chance 05:14
Well, we started off with four categories: civic rights and responsibilities, health and environment, our society, and political thought. Now the political thought category, there's only one question in that whole category where you would need to name a specific politician. That's the question, "Who's your favorite past or present?" Otherwise, those political questions are about the body politic and how we live together and organize ourselves as a people, as a culture, and as a society. But we did that because those were the topics of the day in terms of maybe the political climate. Since then, we have nine categories, and they include American Culture, Home and Hearth, and Hello Neighbor, and probably something else that I can't think of right now. But we have more categories.
Mary Anne Inglis
And Spiritual Thought.
And Spiritual Thought. Exactly. So, we expanded, and that's just since COVID. Because our audiences have changed and shifted a little bit. But what happens is we put out an invitation to either a dinner, or an online forum, or we also teach classes online through OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute). We talk to various groups, and we invite people to come together, and then we host usually a simple, simple dinner. One of the reasons why we focus on simplicity is because (1) it works, and (2) other people who come, think and look and observe what we've done and go, "Oh, I can do this. I can get my friends around my back table and do this." So, that's intentional on our part. But we bring people together, and we assign a moderator to that table or that space. Then we take turns answering questions. There are a couple of things in that to ensure equity at the table. One is you have a moderator. You have timers. You have a time limit. Then there's no cell phones, no pushback, no discussion, no commentary in between the questions. And the next question is always new. Sometimes that's frustrating for people because these questions are big, and they're interesting, and they're fascinating, and they're important, and people want to discuss them. But when you're getting ready for discussion, often you're not listening. You're ginning up your response to when someone else is speaking rather than just listening and then letting it be. Whatever that person says, we hold it, and we sit with it. Then the next person is new and has a new question. A lot of times, people believe that they're gonna hold on to an idea and they're gonna say it at the end because at the end, we open up the table for comments and questions and all of that. So, they hold on to this idea, except that the next question is so compelling. And then the next question is also so compelling that they forget what they were going to say about that one gun topic, or whatever it was. So, there's that kind of energy at the table that we hold the space for.
Ame Sanders 08:43
So just to be clear, because I'm gonna reflect on the session that I attended. So, we had a very, I would say, a light-touch moderator who participated in the session as well. She actually opened the session with her own answer. She had a little tray with two decks of cards on it. I guess you guys had pre-chosen some of the topics that we would talk about. She picked one, and she answered the question. Then she put that card on the bottom of the deck and handed the tray to the next person. We all listened to her. She had three minutes of the floor to tell us whatever she wanted to tell us, however she felt, whatever she thought. Then she handed it to the next person. And we picked another card.
One of the relief valves that I liked was if you picked a card you really hated, like "I just cannot talk about this. Or, "I'm gonna go on for two hours about this if I talk about this one," you could put it at the bottom and choose one more to give you another shot at it. So, you weren't forced to answer the next thing on the top of the deck. So, then we went around the table. I don't know how many times we went around.
So, I think your process is lovely. As a professional facilitator, myself, I think the design of the process is really nice, and a light touch of facilitation really helps the table to feel more relaxed and comfortable and to know what to do. But I think that it really does force you to listen and to pay attention to what others are saying. Sometimes you hear things that are similar to what you believe, but sometimes you hear things that are very, very different. The other thing that was nice about it is, at least at our table, she opened up with the Hello Neighbor, which was sort of a--I don't know. Tell me about how you guys designed that because that's really nice too.
Victoria Chance 10:45
Those are our softest questions. They can be an ice-breaker in in any situation, whether it's with realtors, or Sunday School class, or your neighbors.
Mary Anne Inglis 10:56
Just to follow up on the experience, a little bit of how it all works together and you have that space to listen to each other. Victoria has heard this story a lot. It happened at her house. It was one of our first times that we met. One of the gentlemen there after the first round said, "I could have answered every one of those questions." I was moderating, and I said, "That's great. At the end, we'll have time to go through if there was a question that you wish you had had, and you didn't have, you can take that up." So, he was pacified by that answer. He was satisfied.
So, then we got to the time at the end and he says, "Do I get to start?" And I said, "Let's just hear from a few others." Because he said, "Because I could take the whole time." He was very honest about it. And I said, "Well then let's give the others a little bit of time." This is a very diverse table and so by the end of that evening, when it was his turn to come in, it obviously was a wonderful thing for us to hear his voice. He just kind of dropped it all and he said, "I just found out how much in common I have with my fellow neighbors."
And it was the light bulb that went off for him was such an encouragement for us at that moment, because we were just starting. And it was, wow, this method really does work. Because we hear over and over and over again from people that they just let themselves go as far as trying to provide another and answer to the question. They let themselves listen. You can even see the body language change around the table as a result.
-Listening vs Conversation
Ame Sanders 12:39
So, this may be a good place to talk to you guys a little bit about the choice you made to structure this around listening versus conversation. I've interviewed other folks who have a conversation practice, or who have dyads. Like in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation work, there are sometimes two people who will talk with each other. It's a little bit like yours, but they're telling their story and their truth. But how did you guys arrive at this distinction of listening versus conversation? How do you feel that this plays into broader conversations?
Victoria Chance 13:21
The reason why we focus on listening for me is because after that surprise election in 2016, I woke up the next day thinking, what did I not hear? What was I not listening to--in my neighbors, in my students, in my world? How did I miss this? How did I miss it?
So, for me, it was very personal in that I thought I've got to figure out how to listen myself. Because I'm missing something, and it's something that's in my community, and it's something that I can do at my table. I don't have to go anywhere. I can do this in Greenville. So, for me, it was that. But also, I think listening is a lost art. And it has power. It's so full of grace and so full of kindness, which is missing in our common world right now. It’s that common courtesy is gone or is fraying. Let me put it that way. Mary Anne?
Mary Anne Inglis 14:29
Yeah, I think, obviously that personally, I was in a little bit different place. I saw a lot of things coming because I had been involved in politics on the congressional level for 12 years with my husband. So, I had seen the fraying start and really start heavily in 2010. So, for me, it was a sadness of feeling like we were losing the thread that we are all Americans. no matter which side of the aisle you sit down. I didn't know what to do about it.
So, Victoria actually called me. We had done a little bit of this a few years before all that--just having casual dinners and bringing people together. She said, "Can you come by, and we can just talk about an idea I've got?" I said, "Sure. I'll pop by tomorrow or whenever." That's when she said, "What do you think about doing what we've done before in a more structured way?" And I said, "Sure. What are you thinking?" That's when we just kind of sat down and talked about how to bring more structure to an active listening exercise.
Like Victoria, I just feel like listening is such an act of grace and love, and we aren't doing very well on loving each other these days. If we can show kindness through listening and really intentionally listening, I think that will bridge a lot of the divides that we now have in our in our culture and country and world.
Ame Sanders 16:06
So, one of the things I really like about your origin story--I always love a good origin story, because that just gives you insight into what prompted people to do the work that they're so connected to. But I really like the fact that as friends, and community members, and ordinary people, you guys decided to do something about this in your community and beyond your community. To make a difference and to practically find a way to really bring about more and more effective listening, and grace and love, as you guys say. So that's really, it's a nice origin story to hear about how you guys got started.
One of the questions some of your comments made me think about is, in this day of such politically charged conversation, and this sort of everybody feeling like they need to be politically correct (or they need to call people out about it, or whatever), how do you guys in this process help people feel more comfortable with that? How do you guys address that kind of concern with the participants even? How do you make sure that it stays civil?
Mary Anne Inglis 17:22
Well, I would just say that the format that we have makes it stay civil. There's no pushback. We have a little script that we read before we start that talks about how we will just listen and say that the opportunity for pushback comes at the end. But by that time, you've had three or four rounds of listening, and you don't have a desire to push back. It's just not a natural reaction. At that point, you have a desire to say, "Oh, I'd like to know more about your answer there. I'd like to dig a little bit deeper. I'd like to hear more about what you were thinking there." But you know, that's the kind of questions we get. Tell me more. That was a great story.
And Victoria chime in here, but I think our questions are meant to elicit stories. Stories are deeply held in our souls. So, a lot of folks will also walk away saying, "I know you better than I know my family." Right? It's a real soul connection that you have with these folks by the end of your hour, or if you do it a little bit longer, an hour and a half. You really can know that person in a way that you wouldn't if you were just meeting them on the street. We've had people that are very different at tables. I mean, that is what happens. You get people from very different backgrounds and very different thought processes. But there's never been a scene of anger.
Victoria Chance 18:58
Because you can't argue with someone's story. And our format is so very simple. Our moderators are asked to start the event, to answer the first question, but to whatever that first question is to tell a story. There are no right answers to these questions. They're just not. There are nuanced answers. There are some wacky answers. There are some funny answers. There are some maybe uninformed answers. But it's all okay. It doesn't matter for three minutes.
One, you can hear anything. And two, sometimes it's a gift to just watch someone unpack their thoughts that they've maybe never said out loud about a given topic. And it's fun. It's a community. It's a way to bring people together in a pretty simple, forthright way. But, again, to protect everyone's interest, that timer and the rules also hold the thing together.
-The People Who Come
Ame Sanders 20:05
They provide that safe container. So, maybe this is a good time to ask you guys about the people who come. So, maybe you can tell us about what kind of people come to these events? Do you see the same people over and over again? Do you get new people? How do you make sure that you get a mix of people so that you get this kind of give and take?
Victoria Chance 20:28
That's been an evolution? When we first started, we were dead set on getting, we were asking people to politically identify. So left, right, independent, moderate, Jedi. We didn't care who was coming, but we just wanted a mix. What we discovered was--and this was in 2017, even--people did not want to identify politically publicly. That's so fascinating. Even though they felt very strongly about their political stance, they did not want to identify.
So eventually, we figured out that whoever showed up at the table was exactly who needed to be there. That has worked for us. So, our invitation is to everyone. Sometimes the only difference at the table is that you have a 20-year-old and a 66-year-old, and that generational difference is so refreshing and so interesting. We get lots of different religions. We get lots of different ethnicities. The invitation is out there.
We recruit people who maybe are not as represented as we want to. That's one of the reasons why we decided that we were going to reach out to our Spanish and Latino community, because they're here, they're in our world, and we don't get to share table with them very often. But we also know that everyone on this planet needs to be listening. So, it's our pleasure to also give it to that community. We've just started, I mean, like yesterday, or maybe a month ago. It just really just started. And it's happening, and it's working. And it's wonky. It's absolutely wonky. But it is such a pleasure, and the feeling from that community is warm. It's working.
Ame Sanders 22:35
So, I know you're based in South Carolina, where I'm based, but you guys hold these sessions beyond South Carolina, and you do some remotely. So, you know, I'm a Zoom nerd. I spend a lot of time on Zoom. But how does that change the dynamics, and what's that like if you're participating in a session remotely?
Mary Anne Inglis 22:55
I'll pick up on that one because I lead a lot of the remote classes that we do. We started out doing this in person with OLLI, which is Osher Lifelong Learning, which is in 125 different universities across the country. We started doing it at Furman University. During COVID, the director there said, "I'm going to send a letter to the other OLLIs because this will be a great class for them to have in their pocket."
So, we ended up doing it in Arizona, Montana, California, and North Carolina. In those places, we've done repeat. Some repeat, and some of them just one. Just depends on the interest level of the program and things like that. As you know, in-person and online are different. But with the same rules that we have, you still connect with these folks. So much so that we have people who have trained to be moderators in their own communities, have taken it into their communities, and have really grasped this. The other online facet of this is that we are part of Just Faith. They have a class or module called Want to Communicate. Think that's right, right Victoria,?
Want to Talk.
Mary Anne Inglis
If you're familiar with Just Faith, they always have an action. Like you can go do these actions as part of their modules. We are one of those actions. So, we have people picking up our online class from there, which is really neat. We just had some folks write us about what that experience was like, which was quite encouraging because it was just what we've been talking about here is what they had experienced in their Just Faith group.
So, this is a tool that really is so versatile that online and in person, I feel brings the same kind of connection and also the same reaction of, "We'd like to take this into our community." With COVID, for everyone, it was like, "Oh, what do we do now? Aren't we thankful for Zoom." We were not outside of Greenville except for one trip out to Arizona, and now we are in a lot of places. So, it's been a really silver lining for us
Victoria Chance 25:22
On our online forums, a couple of things. Just Faith Ministries is a national program, and it is everywhere. It was started in the Catholic tradition, but it has a large presence. That's why we get orders for our boxes all over the country, and we have no idea what happens. We mail them off, and we never hear another word. So, people have our boxes and our plan and are doing it, and we don't even know anything about it. But one of the tricks we do on online events is we disable the chat. Because if you're chatting, you're not listening. Sometimes people go, "Oh, my chat does work." And we go, "We know!"
Ame Sanders 26:06
Oh, that's interesting. So, one of the things that we didn't mention earlier about your process, which when we talk about the online, it also is relevant, is you typically do this in small groups. So, when you have these dinners, like at the dinner I was at, there were another maybe 40 people or 50 people there. But we were at a table of six maybe, including the moderator. So, it's a small group. It's pretty intimate.
So, when you're using Zoom, do you guys break out into small rooms like that as well use the Zoom feature to do that? So, you keep that small closeness and intimacy of a small group.
Victoria Chance 26:46
Yeah. We learned that the hardest way possible. We'd have tables of 12, and it took too long. It just took too long, and there were too many voices. So, we've learned that six, seven is just perfect. You have the variety, but you also have that flow.
-What Does Neighbor Mean to You?
Ame Sanders 27:07
You guys have talked a lot about what listening and conversation means to you. I'd like to ask each of you a question that was actually one of the questions that was at our table when I was at the dinner, which is, what does a neighbor mean to you? Victoria, would you like to answer that first? And then I'll ask Mary Anne.
Victoria Chance 27:29
Well, I'm gonna start with somebody else's answer. We had a group of Muslim women who came to my home to do My Neighbor's Voice. There was a young woman there from Palestine. This was this was right before COVID. She got the question, "What does the word neighbor mean to you?" And she said, "Well when I was a child, my father taught me that your neighbor is the person who lives in the house in the next 40 houses over. That's your neighbor in every direction." And I thought, "That's everybody if I count 40 houses over!" So, I love that. I love that definition of who is your neighbor. Everyone.
Mary Anne Inglis 28:17
Likewise, I say that my neighbor is the person who lives next door, but I'll say the person who lives around the world because we're all connected. We are all connected in this world, this beautiful globe that we sit on. So, when things happen, the wars happen, I feel like those are my neighbors who are in the midst of strife. When famine happens, when storms happen.
But I also do enjoy getting to know my close by neighbors as well and interacting with them and taking them things out of my garden and things like that. So, you know, it can be on a small scale, and it can also be on a larger scale that I see neighbor as defined.
Ame Sanders 29:05
Also, being a data nerd, I would say I don't imagine that it's easy to measure or assess the impact of this work. So, I'm not going to necessarily ask you about your metrics and things. But I do want to ask, how is it you think about that? How do you think about the impact of the work that you're doing and whether you are having the impact that you hope?
Mary Anne Inglis 29:31
I'm just going to say one little thing, and then Victoria, you've got some figures, I’m sure. We were at an event locally, and somebody asked that question of us. Afterward, my husband was there, and he also runs a nonprofit. I said, "How do you think that answer came across?" He says, "You can't measure love." I was like, "Okay, got it." But he said, "That's a frustration of something that we do. It's hard to measure the impact all the time."
I mean, like Victoria said, we don't know all the ways that these boxes are being used. But we know what we hear. We do have a survey that we ask people to fill out and so I'll hand it over to you, Victoria, about how those surveys are being put together and data.
Victoria Chance 30:19
[Laughing] Please don't. Okay. Just this week, we got an email, and it says, "Greetings from Richmond, Virginia." Someone wanted to share some comments that they had just received because through Just Faith Ministries, they had been doing this in their church.
So, I'm just gonna read one of them, and it goes like this: "There's something magical about the simple rules of My Neighbor's Voice that allows participants to gain a sense of understanding of each other in a way that normal interactions did not. In just over an hour, I gained what I believe will be a lasting impression of what is in the heart of the other participants at my table." So, that's how we know we're doing the good work is when we get this kind of feedback out of the blue from the Holy Mother who loves this organization. That is the best feedback, when it's unsolicited.
We do have an online survey on our website that anyone can fill out if they've participated. We encourage people to do that. But just as Mary Anne said, this is a hard thing to measure, except everyone at the end of each of these forums, everyone is always so satisfied, and so encouraged, and so proud of themselves for listening.
-How Has This Work Changed You?
Ame Sanders 31:50
The spreading of it says something in itself as well. So, that's part of the equation. One of the things I want to ask you guys, I'd love to hear your response on this. So, I know the work that I'm doing has changed me. So, one question I have for each of you guys is, how has this work changed you? Or has it?
Mary Anne Inglis 32:12
Oh, it definitely has. Even my children say, "This has changed you." I've always been a listener. I mean, that's kind of the joke of my family is I'm the one that listens. It was interesting. We had some folks over, and it was getting kind of heated, and I came in with, "Why do you feel that way?" Just looking at it from a different angle, and just getting them to tell their story about why they felt the way they felt. It diffused everything.
I just think it's a skill. It's a muscle that needs to be used more for all of us and certainly has been a muscle that I feel like I've been able to build on. But it's also as Victoria mentioned, having people tell their stories and unpack something that they might normally not speak about. It's been for me, personally, being able to verbalize answers to things that are dear to my heart but maybe I was too hesitant, and to speak on it has been really empowering. In a way that's powerful. I mean positive, not empowering in a negative, not like I'm talking down to anybody, but just learning more about myself and being able to be comfortable in my own skin in a way of verbalizing and articulating.
Victoria Chance 33:33
Yes, listening is a skill, and it's a lost art. Learning to practice it for myself, because I knew I needed to, has been invaluable. But I've also learned that I can listen and hold a tender space for every voice. I don't have to answer that topic, or I don't have to come back. It's part of the power of listening is letting something just be. Letting a story just stay there. And modeling that we don't have to push on each other.
I guess that's the thing I've learned the most is to stop pushing. If you're pushing, you're not listening. That need to come back, to have the last word. That has been so freeing and so empowering for me. And it is for others, and if we can do that together and community, we are going to be better for it. So, that not needing to have the last word or to be right. Oh my goodness. You can be right in the corner by yourself all day, or you can come to the table and listen.
-How to Get Started?
Ame Sanders 34:55
So, I'm imagining that some of our listeners are thinking to themselves, "I need this. I need this community. My community needs this." What advice would you give them, and how would you suggest they get started? What should they do?
Victoria Chance 35:11
Well, we sell our listening cards online. So, you can always get a box of listening cards. Inside the box are instructions that tell you how to set it up. We also have a Resources tab on our website that describes an event and has the moderator’s manual. It has the opening script available. So, you could get started all by yourself.
Or you can contact us through the website, which is myneigborsvoice.org. You can contact us, and we can help you. We can set you up. We do moderator training in person and online. Those are free. So, we are happy to hear from you. We are happy to send you a box. But we're also happy to follow up with that and give you some support and some ideas. So yeah, we're ready. We're here. We're here to serve.
Ame Sanders 36:09
Mary Anne, did you have anything you wanted to add to that?
Mary Anne Inglis 36:12
No, I think it's just, it's an easy format. So, for those who are interested and ready to experience this, I think starting with ordering a box is the right is probably the first step. They're not that expensive. It's $35 for a box. We have both an English version and a bilingual version--so English and Spanish. As Victoria said, we're here to be support. We really do want this to just go. We are here to give this away. It's an easy concept. And it's fun.
So, people can see it as a game. Some people do describe it as a game. So, I think that's great, because then when you invite people over for a listening game, it doesn't sound so you know, "Oh, can I do that?" But yes, you can! So, it's fun. We have it for sale in a local bookstore here, and they just went like that [snaps]. People are hungry for this kind of thing.
Ame Sanders 37:11
So, I know on your website, you have your events as well. So, if someone wanted to sign up for one of your events if they just wanted to experience it first (because it may still seem a little abstract to people, even as you've described it so well). To go through the experience is in itself has an effect on you. So, you have your events on your website so people can sign up to those. I will post all this in the show notes so people have access to that. Is there anything that we haven't talked about that you guys want to bring up or cover?
Victoria Chance 37:42
The only thing that I might say is that the beauty and the power of My Neighbor's Voice is that it is an act. We can whine and cry and fuss and bemoan all the stuff in this world. Or we can act and coming together with other people creating a space for other people, encouraging other people to participate in this listening opportunity is an act that that works. And it is positive. And every time it works.
So, that's the beauty of it is that if you need something to do, if you need to feel like you're acting in this world, then here's one venue. One way to do it. We are part of many conversations and many kinds of efforts all over the planet of bringing people together. This is one. So, that would be our deepest invitation here's an act you can do.
-Conclusion and Summary
Ame Sanders 38:53
Mary Anne, Victoria, I just want to thank you for the gift that you've given all of us to be able to go through the My Neighbor's Voice experience and to have access to that. And also, thank you for talking with me today.
Mary Anne Inglis 39:07
Victoria Chance 39:08
Thank you. Our pleasure.
Mary Anne Inglis 39:11
Ame Sanders 39:14
Marianne and Victoria have created a simple process that we can apply in our own communities, and with our own neighbors, to begin to listen, truly and simply listen to one another. You know, building that muscle of respectful and empathetic listening. Learning to just make room for one another. Learning to not have to have the last word. It's something we can all practice more. By creating My Neighbor's Voice, they have given us a roadmap, a toolkit of sorts to share in community with others. Now, whether you choose to use the My Neighbor's Voice Questions and process or not, listening is a skill we can all practice and strengthen. It's a form of Self Work, and it will serve us well as we work to build a more equitable and inclusive world, one community at a time. T
his has been the State of Inclusion Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, the best compliment for our work is your willingness to share the podcast or discuss these ideas with others. If you'd like to hear more about the practice of building an inclusive and equitable community, head over to theinclusivecommunity.com and sign up for our newsletter. Also, feel free to leave us a review or reach out we'd love to hear from you.
Thanks so much for listening, and join us again next time.
Guests: Victoria Chance and Mary Anne Inglis
Host: Ame Sanders
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator: Kayla Nelson
Podcast Coordinator: Emma Winiski
Sound: FAROUT Media