Richmond-based TMI Consulting is using its skills with US leaders participating in the Congressional Leadership Institute on Race and Democracy convened by Search for Common Ground and The Faith & Politics Institute. Throughout the 15 month effort, small groups of Congressional delegates from both sides of the aisle meet for dinners and dialogues. They take pilgrimages as they explore with their peers ways to handle political challenges including jobs and the economy, immigration and voter participation. TMI facilitates discussions, held in private, to allow the delegates freedom to consider the issues in an open and constructive atmosphere.
The first pilgrimage was a trip to New York City where members of Congress —including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) — visited Ellis Island, The African Burial Ground National Monument, 9/11 Memorial, Museum of Jewish Heritage and a naturalization ceremony.
“TMI’s role was to help design and facilitate the sacred space for members of Congress to listen, share, and reflect on the issues surrounding immigration and its role in US history,” says TMI President Matthew Freeman. “We helped bring people with diverse opinions together to hear and share personal stories and participate in honest dialogue about challenging topics.”
“We need dialogue,” says TMI CEO Tiffany Jana. “We need to rebuild trust by getting to know each other across differences.”
“It was heartening when it became clear that there are many politicians of good will who are willing to reach out across the aisle, find common ground, and honor the humanity of each other and the people of our nation.,” says Freeman. “TMI hopes that we can continue to be part of efforts that foster dialogue instead of debate, bi-partisanship instead of polarization, and ultimately legislation that treats every human being in our immigrant nation with respect.”
The Congressional Leadership program began in July with a kick-off dinner and the New York pilgrimage. Additional dinners, pilgrimages, and activities were spread out through November, 2014.
Photo of TMI co-founders and Senator Tim Kaine at Medgar Evars home during the pilgrimage to the Mississippi Delta.
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