MEDFORD, OR: On August 22, 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially issued a new trademark for a process called a “Conversations Journey® to help individuals, companies, organizations, government agencies and institutions effectively engage in honest, civil and productive conversations about race. The process was created by Mike and Emily Green, a married biracial couple raising their family in southern Oregon. Mike and Emily are co-founders of Team Green Ventures, LLC, dba “Common Ground Conversations on Race in America” (CGC – commongroundconversations.com).
Ironically, this unique Conversations Journey process was established in an Oregon county named after President Andrew Jackson, a notorious antebellum white supremacist and architect of the “Trail of Tears.” Jackson County is 91.9 percent White, and Oregon is a state that was founded in 1859 as a “White Utopia” with an exclusion clause in the state constitution prohibiting Black people from living in the state. Yet, it is an Oregon company blazing a trail for others with a replicable process for building a common ground of knowledge and understanding about race in America, and helping leaders across the nation learn how to transform the culture of work environments.
Over the past three years, Mike and Emily Green have developed, tested and refined their Conversations Journey® as a group-learning and engagement process that has proven to be effective with consistently positive outcomes across a broad spectrum of industry sectors. These include:
· Police Departments
· K-12 school districts
· Higher Education Professional Development
· Community Nonprofits
· Evangelical Churches
The Conversations Journey® process began in 2019 as an experimental workshop, “How to Talk to Kids About Race in America,” launched at Kids Unlimited, a charter school in Medford, Oregon. Following the murder of George Floyd, the market for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracist supportive programming ballooned, as did interest in finding ways to build a common ground of knowledge and understanding about racial issues.
From May 2020 to October 2022, more than 1,300 leading corporate CEOs have committed more than $340B to racial equity efforts. Today, researchers continue to study the impact and effectiveness of such investments, which remain inconclusive. CGC entered the racial equity training market believing that participants in DEI and Antiracist trainings would be better prepared if they entered the process with an established common ground of accepted knowledge and understanding.
“Conversations about race can be hard,” Emily Green said. “But they don’t have to be. We believe people cannot teach what they don’t know.”
“Our Conversations Journey® process provides people with paradigm-shifting new knowledge, practical tools and a process of conversational engagement in a safe, no-blame, no-shame environment that equips them to become empathetic societal change agents,” Mike Green said.
Earlier this year, retired Police Chief Kristine Allison joined CGC as a consulting partner to help facilitate CGC training with police departments. Mike and Emily also recently launched a new monthly CGC Journal to engage general audiences. To learn more, visit commongroundconversations.com and subscribe to our new monthly CGC Journal.