Tue, Nov 02 | Location is TBD

Coming Soon: Listening With the Heart in Alabama

Journey to the heart of Alabama to engage in deep self-reflection and bring the healing gift of Compassionate Listening to our fellow Americans.
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Coming Soon: Listening With the Heart in Alabama

Time & Location

Nov 02, 12:00 PM PDT – Nov 11, 12:00 PM PST
Location is TBD

About The Event

Our country continues to suffer from deep racial tensions and increasing political polarization. We can do something about it. Using the peace-making philosophy and powerful tools of Compassionate Listening and Speaking, we can build our skill of deep, empathic listening even in difficult conversations; we can learn to engage in our own self-reflection about our own biases, conscious and unconscious; and we can bring the healing gift of Compassionate Listening to our fellow Americans. Our three decades of experience in conflict zones throughout the world have proven that the practice of Compassionate Listening and Speaking is the surest way to melt fearful hearts, heal conflict, enhance understanding and turn former "enemies" into allies for peaceful coexistence. Join us for our Second Compassionate Listening delegation to Alabama and Mississippi, Nov. 2-11, 2021.

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?”.

Part of the delegation experience will be the online training provided by Will Osmun, Ph.D shortly before the trip. This training will focus primarily on racism but applies to other discriminatory “-isms,” as well. 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 The training will consist of two two-hour, online sessions given shortly before the trip itself.

Our “road map” will be the Five Core Practices of Compassionate Listening. 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 Self 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.

Leadership Team:

The 2020 Journey will be co-led by Compassionate Listening facilitators Yael Petretti and Joel Berman. Will Osmun will provide pre-trip implicit bias training. (See trip leader bios below).


Please check back soon for itinerary updates.

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. Several are being offered online through the Compassionate Listening Project. 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 National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Lynching Memorial) in Montgomery.


You will be invited to at least one orientation call before the trip to connect and build relationships as a group. As stated above, we will provide two two-hour trainings on Implicit Bias before the trip, via Zoom. During our time together we will have time to reflect on our experience and to deepen our understanding 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 with travel insurance highly recommended. We will meet up at the starting point of our trip at a hotel in Jackson, MS.


Please check back soon for cost updates.

Your Trip Leaders:

​Yael Petretti, Western Massachusetts

Yael’s connection to the civil rights struggle grew out of her participation in the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington, her life-changing experience of helping build Resurrection City and tutoring children of color whose schools were being desegregated in southern Virginia. Certified as a CL facilitator in 2004, she led and co-led a number of CL delegations to Israel-Palestine where she lived for 29 years. Yael co-authored “Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding (Peace and Security in the 21st Century, 2018.) She lives in New England where she facilitates CL 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. In January 2020, she initiated and co-led the first domestic Compassionate Listening delegation, “Listening in the Heart of Alabama.” You can visit her website at listeningwiththeheart.org.

Joel Berman, New Hampshire

Joel's bio coming soon!

Will Osmun, West Michigan

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 current role at the Urban League of West Michigan, Will provides 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.

Feedback for Listening with the Heart in Alabama:

"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!"

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