David Fleischer is the Director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Leadership Lab. Through their work in talking to thousands of voters, the Center created “deep canvassing,” a method of exchanging narratives to find common ground and decrease prejudice. We discuss how changing minds begins with the heart.
After listening to this episode, try deep canvassing yourself! Click HERE to read the step-by-step guide. We’d love to compare notes and see how you did. After you’ve canvassed, tell us about your experience by leaving a message at (929) 262-0752. Thank you!
Deep canvassing was developed to better understand voters in response to California’s Prop 8 legislation, which outlawed gay marriage. Sharing personal stories and active listening techniques establish common ground, even among voters with totally different opinions. These kinds of meaningful exchanges lead to constructive, positive dialogue that can change minds and achieve political results at a higher rate than traditional canvassing.
How to deep canvass
Start with the change you seek. Put together a list of people to talk to. Recruit a buddy. Before the call, think about someone you love and why you love them. On the call, genuinely listen to people and ask meaningful questions based on what they say. Share a personal story with a loved one where decency and kindness — instead of judgment — was extended. Connect the issue with that person’s real lived experience. Regroup with the buddy and compare notes.
Voting is Personal
Voting is both a political and a personal act. Thinking about voting as a gift to our loved ones is a powerful way to make clear what the stakes are around voting and the world we live in. Deep canvassing taps into the real lived experience of how we treat each other, connecting the dots to why we vote and who we vote for.
Find out more:
David Fleischer is the Director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Leadership LAB. The Center’s carefully honed method of “deep canvassing” delivered the first empirically tested and proven process where a single conversation decreases prejudice in a long-lasting way. Developed after the shocking 2008 win for Prop 8, which made gay marriage illegal in the state of California, Fleischer was motivated to figure out why, in this seemingly open-minded state, people voted against gay and lesbian people who wanted to marry. To find out, he and the Leadership LAB organizers and volunteers went to the neighborhoods where they had lost the worst; 15,000 one-on-one conversations later, they had learned several universally actionable pieces of information.
You can learn more about David and his work here, and you can follow the LA LGBT Center on Twitter @LALGBTCenter