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LISTEN: Five Strangers From Kansas And Missouri Being Honest About Honesty

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Kristen Kessler and Angela Caruso-Yahne spoke candidly when asked whether they felt they could be honest about their beliefs and values during a Zoom call with other strangers.

On March 11, 29 strangers from across Missouri and around Kansas City met on Zoom in an event hosted by Missouri Humanities and KCUR. They gathered to see if — in these dramatically polarized times — regular people can actually have a civil dialogue.

These conversations are some of nine different breakout groups recorded as part of an event hosted by Missouri Humanities and KCUR. We'll listen in on a few of the participants.

Angela Caruso-Yahne is a US military veteran and a democrat. The LGBTQ community helped shape Angela’s political outlook.

Kristen Kessler of Johnson County works in communications. Kristen is a mother, a Democrat and wants to find common ground while challenging her own beliefs.

Cliff Guy describes himself as a mainline Protestant and Republican and hopes to bridge the political divide by seeking respectful conversations that honor differences and seek commonality.

Dustin Hawkins is a former Catholic with no party affiliation. Hawkins is also an electrician who is pro-union.

John Halloran of St. Louis works in the medical sphere. John, a Republican, tells KCUR that he’s not “seeking to change anyone's mind about anything” and that “finding common ground” was his aim in these discussions.

These five people from seemingly different walks of life, but found they have more in common than previously imagined when asked, “Do you feel like you can be honest with others about your beliefs or values?”

Listen to hear their responses.

New Rules of Engagement - Group 1 full conversation
Deborah Shouse, Richard Potter, Jennie Fowler and Carla Rosen facilitated by Ashley Beard-Fosnow
New Rules of Engagement - Group 2 full conversation
Susan Armstrong, Wendi Douglas, J Howard Fisk with Alisa Barba facilitated by Ron Jones
New Rules of Engagement - Group 3 full conversation
Erin Fisher, Nicholas Rein, Fariha Shafi, Jack Cashill facilitated by Marci Bennet
New Rules of Engagement - Group 4 full conversation
Ned Kelley, Krissy Sinor, Ruth Bigus facilitated by Marilyn Webster Brown
New Rules of Engagement - Group 5 full conversation
Delia Gillis, Seth Schibler facilitated by Mike Russo
New Rules of Engagement - Group 6 full conversation
Candy Birch, Michael Billings, Mary Gerlt, Dick Mellinger Facilitated by Claire Bruntrager
New Rules of Engagement - Group 7 full conversation
Jarian Champ, Edgar Gonzalez, Richelle Hansen and facilitator Debbie Atwood.
New Rules of Engagement - Group 8 full conversation
Kristin Kessler, Angela Caruso-Yahne, Franklin Ruff and Clif Guy facilitated by Byron Love
New Rules of Engagement - Group 9 full conversation
Dennis Lane, Dustin Hawkins and John Halloran facilitated by Matthew Long-Middleton

As an on-demand producer, I am focused on using my skills and experiences across multiple digital applications, platforms and media fields to create community focused audio, video and on-demand products for KCUR Studios. The media that I produce aims to inform, entertain and connect with the Kansas City metro area as we continue to learn from each other. Email me at byronlove@kcur.org.
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