Monday, April 2, 2018

Building Bridges Through Living Room Conversations

April's program continues our emphasis on VOTING, but with a twist. Too angry and discouraged to talk with your rock-ribbed conservative neighbors, friends, and relatives?  
When was the last time you had a thoughtful conversation with them about values and politics?
Why even bother?  
Wait, don't they VOTE?
Is it possible that we have some common values? Can we heal the disconnect?   
The challenge is real, but the solution is powerful. Please join us for an inspiring evening with our own Jane Grossman who will present Living Room Conversations, a simple technique for having civil and meaningful conversations in a structured format with those whose views and values differ from our own. Jane will guide our members through practice conversations. Don't miss this opportunity to explore this simple method for building bridges.  

Living Room Conversations is a nationally recognized program devoted to healing the divide in our country. Some recent participants' comments:
For once I wasn't standing on my soapbox trying to win someone to my side or defend my stance with strong words. The ground rules threw all that out the window and put in its place a curious mind and an attitude of respect for my neighbor.

Living Room Conversations is a critical step in helping people to see they have a lot in common with those they've been told by politicians and the media that they should hate. Only by learning to respect each other and work together in this way is real change possible.

Jane will provide an introduction to the practice conversations, then we will break into small groups to practice the format for Living Room Conversations. Jane has adapted the questions especially for South Washoe DEMS. To review the questions, please read the Newsletter section below, "Living Room Conversations - Questions for Practice Conversations".

For more information, go to  

Our meeting location is at the:

South Valleys Library.
15650 Wedge Pkwy
Reno, NV 89511
[see map at Our Next Events page of the South Washoe DEMS website] 

There is no admission charge.  Our meetings start at 5:30 p.m. with a social time where we serve light appetizers. A brief business meeting commences at 6 p.m., then our featured program runs for about an hour. Donations are welcome to cover the cost of appetizers. Please invite your friends as we welcome both new and long time members to our meetings. We look forward to seeing you!

Our monthly meeting date is now the first MONDAY of the month. 
SAVE the DATE: Monday, May 7th for our May meeting, at the South Meadows Library.
To suggest future topics, please email Carol Cooke. 
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Notes from the Chair -
When Children Lead the Way (Part II) 

On Saturday, over a million people took to the streets – in Washington, DC, in more than 800 cities across the country, and even in foreign countries – in support of the children who are demanding solutions to the gun violence that plagues the US. Many of us marched with them. 

At the DC march, Jennifer Hudson took the stage and sang Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changin'." It was a bittersweet moment and I smiled as I sang along. For those of us who came of age in the Sixties (which, I suspect, would be most of us reading this) that song and the passionate activism of these children should seem uncannily familiar. 

As I have watched the children of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School take to the streets, the legislatures and the airwaves this past month, I have become convinced that this has become a powerful movement. Despite what the NRA and many lawmakers with Rs after their names might think and hope, it's not going away. The children are rising up and taking on the establishment, the government and the NRA – planting the seeds of change. They are determined to bring those seeds to fruition. 

"REV," they chant.  "Register, Educate, Vote!" Smart kids! They know where their power lies. 

At our meetings, we have sometimes wondered how we could get the younger generation interested and involved. Well, they certainly are engaged now. In fact, they are leading the way! This is the moment for us to stand behind them and support them in any way we can. Speak out! Call or write your elected officials –  state and federal – and let them know that you demand reasonable and effective solutions to the gun problem, starting with expansion of background checks, closing gun show and internet sale loopholes, along with sensible limitations on the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. 

For years, we've been told that this gun battle cannot be won. These children believe otherwise. Who are we to doubt them? Remember? In our youth, we were told our battle was hopeless – and we ended a war. 
                                                                    -- Barbara Twitchell, SWD Chairperson

Living Room Conversations - Questions for Practice Conversations 

(This section contains a further explanation of our April program.)
After Jane Grossman explains the Living Room Conversations principle and strategy, we will break into small groups to respond to these questions. Jane adapted the questions especially for South Washoe DEMS.

Getting Started - Answer both of the following questions:
  • What brought you to Reno, NV?  And if you were born here, what keeps you here?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for our region/state, now and long-term?
Your thoughts and concerns  - Answer all of the following questions:
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
  • What were some of the biggest influences in your life that shaped who you are today? How did those influences shape your political identity?
  • What core values do you think most Nevadans, regardless of political persuasion, fundamentally agree on?
  • What two to three issues do you most wish we could solve together (even if it seems impossible)?  How did you come to feel so deeply about these issues? 
Reflection - Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based on the conversation you just had? 

Spring Neighborhood Gatherings -
Moving Forward in 2018 

Our first two spring Neighborhood Gatherings have been lots of fun and very successful. These meetings are held in members' homes and will feature candidates or their representatives for various state, local, and Congressional offices. Sending a special thanks to Sarah and Tony Ramirez and Paul Nguyen for hosting the March meetings and to everyone who volunteered and attended. The good news is that we have more coming up. We will reach out to Democrats in each precinct, but you are welcome to attend any that are convenient and interest you. 

Note that South Washoe DEMS does not endorse any candidate until after the Primary in June. In races with multiple candidates, we've extended invitations to all Democratic candidates for that office. All may not be
available to attend each gathering.

MARCH 2018 Neighborhood Meetings

MONDAY, 3/26, 6:00 - 7:30 PM,  Damonte Ranch, Precinct #2041 (north), hosted by Tracy Warriner. 

APRIL  2018 Neighborhood Meetings

MEET JUNE JOSEPH, Democratic Candidate for AD26;
           TINA DAVIS-HERSEY, Democratic Candidate for State Senator #16;
           STEVE WOLGAST, Democratic County Commissioner 

THURSDAY, 4/5, 6:00 - 7:30 PM, Galena Forest/ST. James Village, Precinct #8236, hosted by Jane Grossman.

MEET NAOMI DUERR, Democratic Candidate for Reno City Council; 
           STEVE WOLGAST, Democratic County Commissioner – pending

MONDAY, 4/9, 6:00-7:30 PM, Steamboat/Pleasant Valley, Precincts #8201/8210, hosted by Robert Maddox.

WEDNESDAY, 4/11, 6:00-7:30 PM, Kivett Lane/Toll Road, Precinct #8256, hosted by Lani Bonar.

MEET JUNE JOSEPH, Democratic Candidate for AD26
TUESDAY, 4/17, 6:00-7:30 PM, Field Creek, Precinct #8277, hosted by Peter & Karen Barber.

THURSDAY, 4/19, 6:00-7:30 PM, Arrowcreek, Precinct #8203, hosted by Mary Ann and Jim Gaebe.

Click here to RSVP to attend any of these meetings and get the host addresses. If you'd like to volunteer to host, make outreach calls, help with sign-ups and greeting, or in any other way at these meetings, please contact Suzy WilliamsAny updates to these meetings will be on our South Washoe DEMS website. We look forward to seeing you at a Neighborhood Gathering!  

Washoe County Democratic Convention

All are welcome to attend the Washoe County Democratic Convention: 
April 14, 2018  
UNR, Jot Travis Building
Sign in begins at 8:30, Convention time: 10 am - 1:30 pm

Even if you are not a delegate or alternate delegate, the convention provides an opportunity to learn about the Washoe County Democrats' platform and meet many Democratic candidates.

For more information, contact WashoeDEMS Executive Director, Denise Lopez: or 775-323-8683.

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful - March 10th Cleanup! 

As part of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful's 'Adopt-A-Spot' program, South Washoe DEMS cleans Wedge Parkway 3 times a year. Nine dedicated members tackled the trash on Saturday, March 10.

Often is seems there is not much trash along Wedge Parkway. We managed to fill a good number of bags - and found found a tire and $20 bill (which was used to purchase RTC Bus Passes for Record Street Assistance Center)! 

 Wally Prendergast.coordinates our clean up days. Look for our next clean up date sometime this summer.  

South Washoe DEMS Annual Leadership Elections at our March Meeting

At our March meeting, our existing leadership was re-elected for the next year, April 2018 – March 2019. 

Our Officers are:
  • Chair: Barbara Twitchell
  • Vice-Chair: Fred May
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Kathy Peltier / Reed Willaims
  • Communications Coordinator: Mary Federico Katz
  • Program Coordinator: Carol Cooke

Election News: Chip Evans' Campaign Kickoff!

Chip Evans is running for Washoe County Assessor this year. Chip ran a great campaign for Congress in 2016, and is counting on his support base as he begins his new campaign.

Please join Chip for his campaign's Kickoff Party

Wednesday, March 28th at 5:30 PM
4635 Longley Lane, Suite 109 (corner of Longley and Corsair)
RSVP: Laynette Evans- or 775.230.6466
For more information and to donate:
All are invited! Enjoy refreshments, meet the candidate and other progressives who are running in 2018, and grab a yard sign on your way out. 

If you can't make it but are interested in posting a yard sign or volunteer for the campaign, contact Laynette at the above email address or phone number. 


Our optional e-mail Alerts program has been in operation since March 2017.

Action Alerts!!!   
Our Action Alerts announce upcoming rallies, marches, meetings or other important issues that need quick action.
Election Alerts!  
Election Alerts provide information regarding 2018 candidates and elections, such as Meet & Greets, campaign info, fundraisers, and important election dates and info. Note that the South Washoe DEMS will not endorse any candidate until after the primary. 
To receive our Alerts via email, please click on this 'Sign Me Up' button: 

South Washoe DEMS Book Club
May 10th, 2018

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm hosted by Joyce Destefanis and Dave Penning. Their home is located in the Saddlehorn community at 14210 Powder River Court (from Thomas Creek Road, turn west onto Saddlehorn Drive and then south onto Powder River Court.) See map inside our Book Club webpage.

Our next book is We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.


In these "urgently relevant essays," *the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me reflects on race, Barack Obama's presidency and its jarring aftermath — including the election of Donald Trump.
       *Kirkus Reviews (starred review)                                                                         
"We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president."

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation's old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.
The book is available in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats from your local or online bookstores.

Please email Joyce for updates or details. For more information about our current book, a list of articles, and past books we have reviewed, visit our Book Club webpage.

Save The Dates...

  • April 2nd - Monthly meeting
  • April 5th - Neighborhood Gathering, Galena/St. James
  • April 9th - Neighborhood Gathering, Steamboat/Pleasant Valley
  • April 11th - Neighborhood Gathering, Kivett Lane/Toll Road
  • April 17th - Neighborhood Gathering, Field Creek
  • April 19th - Neighborhood Gathering, Arrowcreek
  • April  22nd - Lunch at Record Street
  • May 7th - Monthly meeting
  • May 10th - Book Club
  • June 4th - Our Annual Picnic in the Pines, Galena Forest  - Save the Date!