Human Connection

Robert Stains

Program Director, Public Conversations Project, Watertown, Massachusetts

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

When people come to an event, we usually try to do some sort of human connection activity before there's a formal dialogues. So we'll have a meal, or some way for people to interact with each other without talking about the issue, so there is a common human connection that's made before people identify where they stand. That's often the place where the stereotypes start to fall away. When we were doing abortion work for instance, we would do these dinners, people would talk about their vacations, or kids or whatnot, and of course everyone is trying to suss out who's pro-choice and who's pro-life based on what they wore, or where they were from, and then they'd get into the dialogue room and discover that they were really wrong, and a lot of the time about people on their own side too, which was a pretty cool thing.