FFNVC Hosted Sunday Salon in January
By: Carol Crossed, Board Member
In the Victorian Age, Sunday Salons were popular. These were informal gatherings in homes where artists, poets, philosophers and ordinary interested people discussed values, politics, and culture in friendly settings over tea.
How often have we as pro-life women assumed to know why a co-worker or family member is pro-choice, only to discover our assumptions were wrong? And likewise, we don’t often make the time to listen to those who disagree with us. Having personal in-home gatherings allows dialogue in a disarming atmosphere.
Feminists for Nonviolent Choices has held its own Sunday Salons for more than six years. We issue personal invitations to women with both pro-life and pro-choice perspectives to come together to discuss relevant issues in thoughtful, nonviolent dialogue.
I recently read of a group of women going around the country doing similar dialogue. They call themselves ‘pro-voice’.
We call them Sunday Salons to honor the early feminists, but for modern-day convenience and to accommodate the host, these listening sessions occur on different days of the week. Hence, Sunday Salons can occur on Wednesday or Sunday, or Saturday. We hold the gathering in a place where we can speak freely. Our recent Sunday Salon took place in the upstairs room of a social club that offered neutral ground.
Only a few ground rules are established. Unless otherwise agreed, we pledge confidentiality. We try to have a balance of voices, but with only a few people, since intimacy is key. And out of respect, we agree to use identifying nomenclature that we ourselves want to be called during the dialogue. Is it ‘pro-life’ or ‘anti-abortion’ or ‘pro-peace’? Is it ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-abortion rights’ or ‘pro-woman’?
We know in advance we aren’t going to leave the dialogue being converted to the other side. Our only hope is to learn that we really don’t dislike each other.
I feel somewhat selfish doing these because I personally learn so much from my opponent. Opponent is the term Gandhi used but in settings like these we realize we are not enemies. Rather we are wives or partners or daughters trying to live our lives with hope and without grief.
For more information on upcoming Sunday Salons or to organize your own, please contact us at FFNVCoffice@gmail.com