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Online sessions offer space for post-election healing, learning, venting

In the midst of a global pandemic and a presidential election that has deeply divided the country, it's a painful time for many people.

The Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester has scheduled a series of virtual events aimed at helping the community move forward and engage with one another in a healthy way.

"I want to be able to have good fights with people," said Kit Miller, director of the institute. "I want to be able to disagree with one another, to speak our truth. But I want to do it in a way that I don't feel contempt or feel tempted to dehumanize the other person."

Miller said it's possible to have conflict without contempt.

Her organization is offering several online sessions on Friday and Sunday. They are designed to help people process grief, understand hate, and have more productive and less contentious conversations.

"We need to be unskillful and messy sometimes when we're learning, and we need to be able to also bring a sense of worry or anxiety or fear or even despair that many people are walking with now, so all of that is very welcome," Miller added.

She said the sessions do draw people of varying political views. In fact, Miller said the institute welcomes this.

"Those are the most satisfying conversations, I think." 

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.