TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Steps to heal the divide in our community starts with healthy conversations.
Local leaders told a group of several dozen people, responding not reacting, and being a better listener are two key things we all can do to deescalate heated conversations.
The Multi-Faith Council of NW Ohio hosted the event open to everyone. Toledo Police Chief George Kral said with social media we're losing a lot of interpersonal communication skills.
In today's world of social media, where people can fire off hurtful comments from behind a screen, Kral said don't get sucked in to the chatter. That means even if our elected officials sound off on social media.
"Learning by watching our elected officials," Kral said. "Regardless if you agree with his politics or not, as I said before you have to put that stuff aside and if you want any true results you have to act like adults."
Chief Kral said no matter who you are or what you do for a living we can all be better communicators and listeners.
Judy Lee Trautman, the chair of the Multi-faith council said differences in our community should not make us divided. She said our goal as a community should be to respect our differences.
She gave the crowd of several dozen tips to keep calm when things get heated such as not taking it personally.
Trautman said with all of the negative commentary on social media and in the news daily, it can make us all on edge and even defensive. She said often our toughest conversations are close to home.
"It's sometimes easier to work with someone we don't know than talking about some of these issues," Trautman said. "But when we're talking to our good friends or family members it sometimes gets really sticky."
The Steps To Heal The Divide initiative will be a yearlong effort to bridge the divide through constructive conversation.