A Compassionate Listening Journey:
Listening with the Heart in Alabama
(Postponed - watch for new dates!)
Read about our ground-breaking first Journey here
"A life-changing journey that will deepen your appreciation and understanding of the complexity
of racial relations, of the construct of race, and of your own implicit racial biases; and, particularly,
of the depth and breadth of the damage inflicted by slavery and racism. It highlights the work
that still needs to be done concerning reparation, restitution, and reconciliation."
As racial tension and political polarization intensify around us, we are more committed than ever to continue our Compassionate Listening Journeys to the Deep South, which we initiated in January 2020. As we prepare for our second Journey in October, we do so with a renewed, three-fold purpose: to build our skill of deep, empathic listening even in difficult conversations; to engage in our own self-reflection about our own biases, conscious and unconscious; and to engage the healing practice of Compassionate Listening.
We come together as a group of peacemakers who seek to discover the implicit biases that inhibit us from seeing the full humanity of our fellow citizens. This journey will provide training and self-reflection within the context of historic sites and deep-listening sessions with community members. We commit to gaining a better understanding of our history and of our own relationship to that history. We will ponder hard questions, such as, “What role can we play in dismantling a social infrastructure which was established to benefit one group at the expense of others?”. The training provided by Will Osmun, Ph.D. will focus on racism, but all aspects of 'othering' will be addressed throughout. While the focus of this trip/training is on individual relationships and responsibilities, we acknowledge that systemic and institutional racism/oppression needs to be addressed in our communities (some of our group members are already engaged in this work locally).
Our “road map” will be the Five Core Practices of Compassionate Listening. In our trainings and debriefing sessions, we will use these concepts to process and deepen our learning and our connections with the people we meet as well as with one another:
Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others
Developing the fair witness (Suspending judgment)
Respecting self and others
Listening with the heart
Speaking from the heart
We invite you to participate in this deeply transformative Journey of the heart, to listen, learn, engage in anti-bias work, and to build relationships.
"This was truly a life-changing journey and I hope many more people will take it. For me, on the outside it
was a journey to the South to confront a very painful history and on the inside it was a journey to become
aware of my own biases and triggers. It also allowed me to practice my Compassionate Listening skills through listening to difficult stories with a wonderful group of travelers whom I now call friends. My deep faith, that love is stronger than hate, was renewed through all the stories I heard. What a gift! I could not imagine taking this trip with any other group than the Compassionate Listening Project. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
The 2020 Journey will be co-led by Compassionate Listening facilitators, Yael Petretti, Journey founder, and Debby Haase.
Will Osmun will provide pre-trip implicit bias training. (See trip leader bios below).
We will begin and end our Journey in Atlanta, and will travel to Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham. Participants will encounter a diverse range of people - from civil rights icons to right-wing conservatives. The trip is carefully crafted and balanced so participants’ time is divided between listening sessions and group reflection. We will also visit museums and major historical in the struggle for civil rights, including the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum, "From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration", the National Memorial for Peace and Justice; the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Is this Journey for you?
The Journey is limited to 22 participants. We seek participants who have a genuine interest in the experience, hopes, dreams, and humanity of all the people we meet – across racial, class and political divides. If you have not had at least a 1-day Compassionate Listening introductory training, you will need to take one before the trip. We will offer an online intro training on Zoom so participants will not have to travel to take the training. Besides the formal training offered, we encourage you to carefully consider that parts of this journey will be quite intense. We urge you to think about whether you can safely enter a zone of trauma such as the Lynching Memorial in Montgomery.
We will hold orientation calls to connect and build relationships as a group. We will also provide two, 2-hour trainings in Implicit Bias before the trip, via Zoom. The group will meet on a regular basis throughout the trip to reflect on our experience and to deepen our understanding of bias work and practice of Compassionate Listening. The Journey is designed as an experiential training. We live our practice and trust in it deeply
Participants arrange and purchase their own airfare. The group will meet for Opening Circle at 7:00 pm on October 8th at the Holiday Inn at Atlanta Airport South. The Journey ends at noon after our Closing Circle on October 16th.
The Journey cost is $2,375. Your $500 deposit is due at the time of registration and the final balance is due by August 15th.
Deposits and final payments can be made by check payable to TCLP (The Compassionate Listening Project) and sent to:
TCLP , P.O. Box 17,
or, you can pay by credit card by visiting our event registration.
Please note that there will be a 3% processing fee added when paying by credit card.
Price includes a double-occupancy room with private bath and shower; breakfast every day; dinner on 3 days; ground transportation; trip leaders; guides; tips and gratuity for hotels and drivers; honoraria for speakers and hosts, anti-bias training and facilitated group debriefs. Single rooms are available for an additional $560. If we are unable to provide a roommate, the single room supplement may apply, depending on hotel policies. Your early registration increases our chance of finding a good match for you. Lunches and some dinners will be on your own. Approximately 10% of the trip proceeds go to organizations engaged in civil and human rights.
Important Note: Registration requires filling out this form and paying your deposit.
Please contact Yael with any questions you have about this Journey.
Click here to access the trip preparation page.
About our Journey leaders/trainers:
Before moving to Jerusalem in 1978, Yael earned a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations at the University of California Berkeley. She already had become passionately involved the struggle for civil rights during the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington, helping build Resurrection City and tutoring children of color whose schools were just being desegregated in southern Virginia. Certified as a Compassionate Listening facilitator in 2004, she led and co-led a number of Compassionate Listening delegations to Israel-Palestine where she lived for 29 years. She currently lives in New England where she facilitates Compassionate Listening trainings and volunteers as an Alternatives to Violence facilitator in a men's high security prison. Witnessing the “new Jim Crow” there has brought her around full-circle to rejoin the struggle for racial/social justice here in the U.S.
Debby Haase, Journey co-leader
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Debby has been passionate about facilitating groups for 30 years. The forms have changed, but her trust in the synergy and transformation that can emerge in groups with clear intention remains. She is certified as a Compassionate Listening facilitator, holds an MA in Whole Systems Design, and has training in Mindfulness, Restorative Circles (peacemaking), energy healing, and Family & Systems Constellations. She has participated in Compassionate Listening delegations to Israel-Palestine and Alabama. With the increasing divisions in the world, she’s dedicated to finding ways to build bridges. She engages in her own racial inner work, co-plans cultural community events, participates in racial justice actions, and facilitates Compassionate Listening. Debby designed and facilitates a series in which Compassionate Listening skills are applied first to uncover one’s own biases and white fragility, and then to practice compassionately speaking up to interrupt racism.
Will Osmun, MM, MS, MA, Ph.D., Journey trainer
As a volunteer on a Crisis and Suicide Hotline, Will was trained in Empathic Listening. He has a BA in Communications and is certified in Compassionate Listening, Mediation, Immunity to Change and Motivational Interviewing. In his recent role at the Urban League of West Michigan, Will provided trainings on Implicit Biases related to the ‘othering’ of historically marginalized groups. As a CL facilitator, Will understands the change process and lovingly encourages participants to lean into their discomfort as they develop new skills and deeper understanding of themselves and their ‘other’. See Will's website here.