A Real Future
The English Defence League was growing in influence. To make matters worse, detainees from Guantanamo had just been released into the same borough. Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. How do you stop the tension from escalating into violence?
As tensions mounted, the local authority looked to the Lokahi Foundation to prepare them for what could happen.
We created a special programme just for them: a chain of events that was the very thing they dreaded.
Mistrust. Rumours. One side triggers the other. Sparks of violence. Escalation. The familiar pressure points. Where will it escalate? How will people will react? What should we do? By playing these scenes out from different perspectives we identified precisely where conflict could be defused – and how.
Embracing a solution
Tackling the problems in role play together builds your understanding of everyone’s perspective. Uniting everyone’s perspective pools everyone’s ideas for the solution. And that brings hope and optimism – and a shared vision for the community we want to be.
I imagine a strong, tolerant, peaceful and enjoyable place: a place where people trust one another and people feel safe.
Sharing grievances, learning how it feels, and being understood in return – these are key ingredients in creating understanding, and with it, trust. Trust brings more honesty, and more confidence. And once the mood in the room changes, people imagine a future they can all sign up to. Finally, imagination flows and people see and share the concrete actions they need to take to make it happen.
A real future
And so we left behind a happy community with no more conflict ever after...?
No. Within the year the English Defence League came back to demonstrate against a proposed new mosque; damaged shops and cars, and left people injured.
A story of failure? No. Because when it happened, the community was prepared. Resilient. Staying in control.
Lokahi methods don’t wave a magic wand over your community’s future. They prepare you for the future that will hit you.
I will not feel threatened by the ignorance of people fearful of getting to know people who are different.
Can it really be possible to overcome entrenched mistrust in a single day?Learn more
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Abs Hassanali, University of London Union Senate Chair, explains what the Diversity Management course has meant for him and how his involvement with the Lokahi Foundation has changed a few of his perceptions.Learn more