Civility

Memorial Museum Introduces ‘Better Conversations’ Program

The Oklahoma City Memorial & Museum has introduced a new program that encourages civility in our dialogue.

“Better Conversations – Looking Back Thinking Forward,” a program, was introduced at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Friday.

As the 25th anniversary of the Hurrah Federal Building bombing approaches, the museum is using the program to express its gratitude to “all of those who came together in 1995,” a statement said.

“During this anniversary year, the Memorial Museum is positioned to be a platform for ‘Better Conversations.’ ” the statement went on.

“We hope we can be a catalyst for initiating better conversations across’ all generations, improving discussions on hard topics challenging our community at work, home, school and across our nation.”

NPR host, Krista Tippett, founder and chief executive officer of The On Being Project, spoke on the importance of civility in our daily interactions with one another.

“This is the adventure of our lifetime,” she said.   “Do we live it to the best of our capacities?

“We can meet each other, and something new can happen and we can share life.

“And if nothing else, find the questions that we have in common as we walk forward.

“What you all are undertaking here is a local effort to model, to explore that and to model it.”

“In the aftermath of the deadliest, domestic terrorist attack on American soil, the museum forged a new model for engaging and teaching the lessons learned following the bombing, a statement released by the museum stated.

“This is exactly how the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was built and how Oklahoma healed.

“People came together, worked through tough issues, having civil discussions, face-to-face.

“While working through their own grief and vulnerability, those involved in the memorial process had to learn to listen to other perspectives, share their personal opinions and engage in authentic conversations.”

“The importance of teaching conversational skills, particularly, now, cannot be emphasized enough,” said Kari Watkins, executive director of the museum.

“With the program, there will be opportunities to look toward a forward-thinking vision of listening, sharing and inspiring,” the museum director said.

Six issues are noteworthy, around which there can be dialogue, she pointed out.

Those issues are:

  • Words That Matter
  • Humility
  • Generous Listening
  • Hospitality
  • Patience
  • Adventurous Civility

Bank of America is the underwriter of the program.

“Diversity of thought, gender, race, belief and age are assets in any community, particularly in one that is reflecting on and recovering from tragedy and building resiliency,” said Tony Shinn, Bank of America market president.

“Bank of America is committed to creating social progress and this investment in Better Conversations is a demonstration of our belief that thoughtful and guided discourse can bring about meaningful change and strengthen the bonds we share here in Oklahoma City.”

More information on the program is available online at memorialmuseum.com.

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