Grandmothers Against Gun Violence Join the Peace Party!

Judy Sherry and Susan Blaney

Judy Sherry and Susan Blaney

Judy Sherry and Susan Blaney were strangers until they were drawn together by their shared concern about gun violence. The co-founders of the Kansas-Missouri chapter of’Grandmothers Against Gun Violence’ (GAG) state that they are not against guns per se, but want to raise awareness about gun violence.

In October, 2014, Ms. Blaney contacted me to ask if I would consider speaking at their monthly meeting. Their membership was interested in hearing ways to talk respectfully with people they do not agree with. My answer was “absolutely”.  At the Center for Conflict Resoluition we know that the skills for ‘listening to hear and talking to be heard’ are the same no matter what the topic or situation.

On November 10th, I presented to more than 70 members of the local chapter of GAG, affiliated with the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence. The questions that followed confirmed that they understand the value of and the necessity to open conversations between people who disagree, in public, on social media and at the kitchen table. Position vs. Interest, ‘I’ language instead of ‘You’ language and Open Ended Questions help to encourage incrimental shifts in perspectives.

The other invited speaker for the evening was newly re-elected Kansas Legislator Melissa Rooker.   Ms. Rooker talked about ways to have an impact with leaders and answered questions about current concerns in the state government.  I attended a seminar at the Kansas State Capital Building in Jefferson City last summer, made posible by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City , and presented the 3-3-1 tool for talking to legislators; 3 points, 3 minutes, 1 page. Ms. Rooker confirmed the helpfulness of that approach.

That evening I saw evidence of an emerging attitude from ‘win-lose’ to ‘win-win’ and ‘learn-learn’. Many people are beginning to pursue collaboration on important issues in their community. Welcome to the Peace Party!


To reach Judy and Susan email to

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