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Our Cultural & Conversational Norms

Make Valid Statements

  • Engage in meaningful dialogue and discussion that allows for a logical premise and conclusion. 

  • Choose statements grounded in empirical evidence — those that have been tested and proven through research and scientific inquiry.   

  • Expect others to believe the validity of your words, and offer the same in return. 

Assume Positive Intent

  • Approach people with the assumption that they want what is best for you, others, and the community at large. 

  • Remain optimistic about a person’s words and actions — that those words and actions are ultimately good-natured. 

  • Be open to constructive feedback for the sake of growth and understanding, and when in doubt, ask clarifying questions to uncover truth and intent.  

Remember Context Matters

  • Remain aware that a person’s context and experiences often influence their understanding of themselves and the world. Be cognizant of your own background, and be open to what you might learn from others. 

  • Try your best to look at things through different viewpoints, especially through a lens of equity and inclusion. 

  • Treat each person as the unique individual God created them to be, and avoid making generalizations or assumptions. 

Keep an Open and Inclusive Mind

  • Remain open to different perspectives, which help us uncover knowledge, truth, and greater understanding about ourselves and the world around us. 

  • Remember that none of us has all the answers. We are constantly changing as humans and as a global community. 

  • Extend grace and empathy — work to gain deeper insight into one another’s humanity.  

Embrace Differences and Celebrate Diversity

  • Remember that our differences are what make us unique in God’s image. 

  • Celebrate diversity and differences as an important part of our collective and communal strength. Together, we are greater than the sum of our parts. 

  • Try your best to seek out relationships with people whose backgrounds differ from yours, and expose yourself to diverse experiences that aim to increase cultural competency.  

Respectfully Listen

  • Remember the power of the pause, and be thoughtful when responding to others.

  • Discern a careful approach to dialogue and discussion, using words and clarifying questions that seek to comprehend rather than convince. 

  • Affirm others through active listening, and use words of encouragement and empathy to ensure others feel heard and that their words hold value.

Separate the Person from the Argument

  • Approach individuals with civility, dignity, and mutual respect, and be willing to leave the conversation with the same respect and dignity, even if you disagree. 

  • Try not to let personal relationships or feelings dictate the flow or energy of the discussion.

  • Remain cognizant that people are constantly growing, learning, and changing, which means their ideas are, too.