Pro-Voice: How to Keep Listening When the World Wants a Fight

Aspen Baker. Berrett-Koehler, $18.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-62656-110-6
The founder of Exhale, a nonjudgmental post-abortion talkline, urges an approach toward compassionate dialogue around contentious issues that is centered on listening to individuals' stories of "nuanced, complicated personal experience." Baker expresses frustration with the polarized parameters for public discourse about abortion that are established by politicized activism on both the pro-life and pro-choice sides, and urges instead a empathetic, nonviolent "pro-voice" approach that "rehumanizes toxic dynamics" by focusing on listening, telling, and engaging with the personal accounts behind controversial issues. This method embraces the gray areas of polarizing topics, and offers respect and human dignity across the diversity and complexity of emotional experiences. Baker believes strongly in the power of narrative to communicate across conflict, opening minds and allowing people to see themselves in the experiences of others. Though the emphasis on the success of Exhale can come across as off-puttingly self-congratulatory, Baker's message to activists is powerful: when we hear one another as people and not as enemies, we create a world in which authenticity and innovation can help us find a way past entrenched obstacles to social change. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/18/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
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Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-62656-112-0
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-4596-9461-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-68262-964-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-68262-963-5
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