Can We CHAT (Conversations about History, Awareness and Transformation) is a facilitated group discussion process designed to advance and deepen conversations about any topic or issue. Rather than a classroom design with students and instructor, a staged presentation with an audience, or a training exercise, Can We CHAT draws upon the personal experiences, perspectives and inquiry of individuals in the group to determine what is important to convey, absorb, and apply based on a particular subject.
These interactions allow participants to exchange experiences, thoughts and feelings as well as increase their understanding of issues without fear of being condemned, dismissed, or rebuked.
This dialogue space is created and controlled so each person—whether highly informed or quietly naïve—can be part of an experience that potentially builds their confidence and capacity to constructively engage in difficult conversations.
Key features of the Can We CHAT model include communication coaching and resource sharing. Participants especially value the chance to meet in small groups to discuss a prompting question and then share key observations with the larger group. Special effort is dedicated to connecting historical events and perceptions with relevant issues of the day.
Originally developed as a series of monthly discussions to address issues of race and all of its complexities in the workplace, each Can We CHAT session is designed as a standalone process with a pre-sent agenda, recommended resources and a meeting summary. Discussion topics generally fall into the following categories: History, Culture, Education, Health, Social Justice, Environmental Justice, Art, Media, or Current Events.
Sessions are specifically designed to create a safe, engaging and enriching space for all participants to voluntarily explore diverse viewpoints and experiences. Each topic is framed knowing that information and perspectives related to race can produce strong and varying degrees of interest and emotion. As expert practitioners in dispute resolution, Lang & Associates facilitators shape these opportunities to cultivate collective understanding, foster peer-to-peer support, and practice both critical thinking techniques and communication tips for deepening dialogue.
Can We CHAT sessions are currently delivered exclusively online.
Different than trainers or presenters, Can We CHAT facilitators function as the neutral caretakers of the process and purpose. Additionally, as a mixed-race team, they bring to bear a depth of knowledge, skills and experience that support individuals and organizations in not only learning to think together and be more empathetic, but to also practice more effective and meaningful ways to communicate.
The Power of Conversation
Can We CHAT conversations are explicitly designed to provoke new thoughts, exchange different viewpoints without judgment, and stimulate enough curiosity to help us better understand, keep talking, and move forward. Recent topics of conversation include: “How to Talk About Race,” "Structural Racism," “White Privilege,” “Race and the Media,” “Racism: A Public Health Crisis,” “Race and Allyship,” “Race and Voting Rights,” and “Race and the Holidays.”
Because Can We CHAT sessions can be intense in content and emotionally-triggering, each meeting concludes with a brief feedback poll and a Positive Note related to recent advancements—both large and small—toward achieving racial equity.