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Season 4: Ep. 5-6 Dignity and Belonging with Dr. Donna Hicks and Dr. Mica Estrada


This is a two-part series exploring dignity with Dr. Donna Hicks and Dr. Mica Estrada. In this first episode, we spend time with Dr. Donna Hicks to discuss the magic of dignity, a South African heritage of Mandela Consciousness and Ubuntu, and what happens as we allow humility, vulnerability, and awe to foster an expansion of the self toward greater intraconnectedness.  In the second episode, we explore psychological research on dignity, stereotype threat, belonging, self-efficacy, identity, and kindness with Dr. Mica Estrada. We also examine the legacy of Dr. Herbert Kellman and his influences on identity construction. We conclude the two-part series with reflections on Hicks’ elements of dignity.

keywords: Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, dignity, Hicks, climate change, ecological care humility, vulnerability, awe, identity, values, belonging, cohesion, Ubuntu, Donna Hicks, Mica Estrada, Dan Siegel, Dacher Keltner, stereotype threat

Dr. Donna Hicks

Dr. Donna Hicks is an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.  Dr. Hicks was Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR).  She worked extensively on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and founded and co-directed a ten-year project in Sri Lanka.  She has also worked on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Colombia and conducted several US/Cuba dialogues. She is the Vice President of Ara Pacis, an Italian non-governmental organization that is working on a dignity restoration project in Syria and Libya.

Dr. Hicks worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on a BBC program, Facing the Truth. This three episode program facilitated encounters between victims and perpetrators of the Norhern Irish Conflict and was aired throughout the United Kingdom and on BBC World.  

Dr. Hicks teaches, conducts domestic and international trainings and educational seminars, and consults to corporations, schools, churches, and non-governmental organizations. She is the author of the book, *Dignity: It’s Essential Role in Resolving Conflict,* published in 2011 and republished as a 10th anniversary edition in 2021 by Yale University Press.  Her second book, *Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People,* was published in 2018 by Yale University Press.

Dr. Mica Estrada

Dr. Mica Estrada received her Ph.D. (1997) in Social Psychology from Harvard University and now Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity for the School of Nursing and a Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her research program focuses on social influence, including the study of identity, values, forgiveness, well-being, and integrative education. Currently she is engaged in several longitudinal studies, which involve the implementation and assessment of interventions aimed to increase underrepresented minority student persistence in STEM fields. With the NSF Climate Change Education grant, she directed an interdisciplinary team, to provide learning opportunities to San Diego leaders about the changing climate. She continues to advise on the Climate Stewards project.

Dr. Estrada utilizes the Tripartite Integration Model of Social Influence (TIMSI; Estrada et al., 2011, 2018) to inform the design of educational interventions as well as form the basis of evaluation and research used to assess if and why educational interventions work (or do not work). Dr. Estrada’s work focuses on ethnic populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education, most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and are providing diverse and creative solutions. As a leading scholar on issues of diversity and inclusion, she is currently serving on a National Research Council Roundtable. She also was recently selected by Howard Hughes Medical Institute to be a Facilitator-Scholar, as part of a cohort who will assume curricular design and facilitation of mentorship skills development courses for HHMI scientists.

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe the magic of dignity language? How does the language of dignity open space for vulnerable dialogue when other words might close dialogues? What other forms of language offer an opening of vulnerability and dialogue?

  2. How is the notion of dignity enriched and informed by the South African context of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and 'ubuntu'?

  3. How does Hicks' notion of the 'Me-I-We' operate within conflict dialogues? Why is an expanding sense of self necessary in conflict contexts?
  4. Describe connections between Dan Siegel's notion of 'MWe' and intraconnectedness with understandings of Me-I-We. How do our notions of an isolated self inform our "illusions of certainty"? How is intraconnectedness a form of expansion and possibility?
  5. As you watch Facing the Truth, how do conversants demonstrate transformations in their identities and sense of self? How does Archbishop Tutu model a setting of space as a place for awe, humility, vulnerability, and dignity?
  6. How do you experience entanglements of awe, vulnerability, and joy? How might awe and reverence be necessary to enter deeper forms of collective relationships?
  7. How did you experience affirmations of violations of dignity in COVID?
  8. What role does joy play in contexts of vulnerability and humility? How do these three dispositions need each other?
  9. Peacebuilding is framed as highly contextual and cultural and simultaneously grounded by universals of concepts like dignity and connection. How do we hold paradoxes of contextuals and universals in peacebuilding work?
  10. How might dignity be enlarged to interspecies being in a time of ecological crisis? What might we learn from the Tripartite model about the ways in which self-efficacy, identity, and values impacts our response to ecological crisis?
  11. How are feelings of impostor phenomena realized in new or challenging contexts of belonging uncertainty? What is belonging uncertainty?
  12. How do self-efficacy, identity, and values work together and separately to offer minoritized students in STEM fields feelings of belonging that enhance belief and persistence?
  13. Describe the role of values in building up the self and offering connections to community. How are values measured or used differently in research on belonging and inclusion?
  14. What role does kindness have to play in offering markers of inclusion, support, and belonging? How are kindness and dignity interconnected?
  15. What is stereotype threat? What are the harmful effects of stereotype threat?

Part 1:

2:45 Magic of Dignity Language
11:48 South African Ubuntu
19:21 Nelson Mandela
23:16 Me-I-We Expanding Self
25:53 Facing the Truth
30:43 Body Language
32:03 Vulnerability, Humility, and Awe
38:53 Awe, Vulnerability, and Joy
39:50 Dignity in COVID
44:44 Joy
45:18 Universal and Contextual
47:38 Ecological Dignity
50:28 Closure
52:00 Closing Narration

Part 2:

2:23 Donna Hicks at Harvard
7:56 Impostor Phenomena, Belonging Uncertainty
9:47 Meeting Donna
11:13 Herb Kellman
15:34 Rule, Role, Value Orientation
17:10 Tripartite Model of Social Integration
20:29 Self-efficacy, identity, and values
21:58 Focus on Self-Efficacy in STEM
23:28 Climate Change and Social Integration
26:15 Dignity, Challenge, and Accompaniment
27:35 Values
32:28 Stereotype Threat
35:38 Kindness
39:02 Affirmations and Persistence
41:53 Expansive Communities
46:19 Closure
47:33 Closing Poem



Dalai Lama XIV, Tutu, D., & Abrams, D. C. (2016). The book of joy: Lasting happiness in a changing world. Avery.

Estrada, M., Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P. R., & Schultz, P. W. (2011). Toward a model of social influence that explains minority student integration into the scientific community. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(1), 206-222.

Estrada, M., Schultz, P. W., Silva-Send, N., & Boudrias, M. A. (2017). The role of social influences on pro-environment behaviors in the San Diego region. Journal of Urban Health, 94, 170-179.

Estrada, M., Eroy-Reveles, A., & Matsui, J. (2018). The influence of affirming kindness and community on broadening participation in STEM Career Pathways. Social Issues and Policy Review, 12(1), 258-297.

Estrada, M., Young, G. R., Nagy, J., Goildstein, E. J., Ben-Zeev, A., Márquez-Magaña, L., & Eroy-Reveles, A. (2019). The influence of microaffirmations on undergraduate persistence in science career pathways. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 18(40), 1-15.

Hicks, D. (2018). Leading with dignity: How to create a culture that brings out the best in people. Yale University Press.

Hicks, D. (2021). Dignity: Its essential role in resolving conflict. Yale University Press.

Kelman, H. C. (2006). Interests, relationships, identities: Three central issues for individuals and groups in negotiating their social environment. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 1-26.

Kelman, H. C. (2010). Looking back at my work on conflict resolution in the Middle East. Journal of Peace Psychology, 16(4), 361-387.

Kelman, H. C. (2012). Social psychology and the study of peace: Personal reflections. In The Oxford handbook of intergroup conflict (pp. 361-372). Oxford University Press.

Keltner, D. (2023). Awe: The new science of everyday wonder and how it can transform your life. Penguin Press.

Lowery, B. (2023). Selfless: The social creation of “you." Harper Collins.

Parker, P. (2018). The art of gathering: How we meet and why it matters. Riverhead Books.

Siegel, D. J. (2022). IntraConnected MWe (Me + We): As the integration of self, identity, and belonging. W. W. Norton & Company.

Steele, C. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: And other clues to how stereotypes affect us. W. W. Norton & Company.

Stellar, J. E., Gordon, A., Anderson, C. L., Piff, P. K., McNeil, G. D., Keltner, D., & Kawakami, K. (2018). Awe and humility. Journal of personality and social psychology, 114(2), 258-269.


Dr. Donna Hicks at PeaceCon 2018

Facing the Truth

Kindness with Dr. Mica Estrada




HicksEpisode1 - 12-14-23 5.45 AM

Thu, Dec 14, 2023 5:53AM • 54:11


dignity, connection, hicks, humility, conflict, belonging, awe, human, writes, sense, work, dialogue, vulnerability, word, treated, humanity, peacebuilding, ubuntu, experience, archbishop desmond tutu


Donna Hicks, Nelson Mandela, Kevin Shorner-Johnson


Donna Hicks  00:00

If we're going to survive as a species we have to get take that last step. And I believe that dignity can take us there. I use the word yearning to describe the universality that we all yearn to be treated with dignity. It's a feeling and it's a spiritually deeply spiritual yearning, to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized to be treated fairly to be apologized to if someone mistreats treats, us that's what we all want from relationships. And I think a knowledge of dignity can take us there.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  00:34

You are listening to season four of the music and peacebuilding podcast, a podcast season focused on multifaceted textures of belonging. Our podcast explores intersections of peacebuilding, sacredness, community, creativity and imagination through research and story.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  00:54

Dr. Donna Hicks is an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She was deputy director of the program on international conflict analysis and resolution. Dr. Hicks worked extensively on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and founded and co-directed a 10 year project in Sri Lanka. She has also worked on conflicts in Northern Ireland and Colombia, and conducted US Cuba dialogues, Dr. Hicks worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on a BBC program, Facing the truth. This three episode program facilitated encounters between victims and perpetrators of the Northern Irish conflict.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  01:40

Dr. Hicks teaches conducts domestic and international trainings and seminars and consults to corporations, schools, churches and nongovernmental organizations. She is the author of the book, dignity, its essential role in resolving conflict, published in 2011, and republished as a 10th anniversary edition in 2021 by Yale University Press. Her second book, leading with dignity, how to create a culture that brings out the best in people, was published in 2018 by Yale University Press.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  02:17

This is the first in a two part series on dignity, belonging, awe, humility, kindness, and identity. In this episode, we discuss the magic of dignity language, a South African heritage of Ubuntu, and pathways of self expansion, through humility, vulnerability, and awe.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  02:44

The word dignity is magical, because it seems to open doors to dialogue when other words like maybe grievance or harm, might closed doors, or create defensive postures. And so as I wanted to know about what you've learned about the magic of the dignity frame, to open doors, when other words don't?


Donna Hicks  03:02

Well, that's quite a long story, too. But I'll give you the highlights. Because all those years that I was sitting at the negotiating tables, you know, trying to bring these parties together for dialogue. And these were intractable conflicts. These weren't just 30 Day conflicts, these were some of them, Israel Palestine, for example, they were centuries old. And so my colleagues and I, we were always struggling with what we really need to get to the human dimension of these conflicts, because every, the issues that they were arguing about were all sort of political issues, objective political issues, that you could really, you know, sort of talk about and discuss. But every single time that we convened a group, there would always be this kind of explosive moment in the dialogues where the parties were just like, we regressed to, to an earlier point in the discussion because something happened inside somebody. And it would be, I used to call them emotional tsunamis would fill the room. But there were no words to that emotional tsunami, they were still arguing about the politics, whatever it was they were discussing. And so I realized, oh, my gosh, well, we've got to figure out what was the trigger for that explosion. And so one day I said to my colleague, I'm going to ask them what, just tell me what happened there when you just got so upset, and you were so emotional that so I said that to them once and they said, emotions, this isn't about emotions. This is about justice. This is about you know, so on and on. And so wrong word. Do not let me just warn anybody who's no, don't use the word emotions when you're talking to people about who are in intractable conflicts. So then I thought all right, how about trauma? How about because underneath that there had to be some kind of a wound, you know. And so I went back to Harvard, I remember saying, let's convene a group of people who know about trauma let's, and for a whole year, I convened a trauma group. And I was convinced that was the way to go to talk about their underlying traumas. Alright, so I went to this one next time, I think I was in Sri Lanka. And I remember seeing that same explosion, because it happened everywhere we went. And I said, Excuse me, but you know, I just have a feeling that the, you know, the emotional reaction that you just had, or the trauma or the I didn't say trauma at that point, I said, the reaction that you just had, is, you know, deeply embedded in the trauma that you have endured and lived through. And they said, trauma. No, this isn't about trauma. This is about justice. This is about oh, boy, okay, two times, I messed up, I got the wrong words, even though I thought about them so deeply. And then one day, it was almost like, Okay, what's going on here, and I remember sitting, I didn't even I wasn't even at a table negotiate. I was just like, taking a walk one day. And I thought, I know what this is about. If I were to put words to it, it would sound something like, if they were to say, How dare you treat us this way? You know, can't you see we're human beings, can't you see, we're suffering, and you're doing nothing about it. And so once I got that, I said, Ah, this is about their dignity. This is about not even being treated as like a human being. And, you know, something settled inside me after that epiphany, you know, that breakthrough? And it was almost like, Okay, thank you. Thank you for that insight.


Donna Hicks  06:54

And so I, I was called to do another dialogue. I was in Latin America this time, or South America. And I, I said, Look, you know, I have a feeling that one of the reasons why this so hard to, you know, to discuss this conflict, and to come to some agreement about resolving it. I said, some, the problem is, there's a human dimension here to this conflict. And I think that so much of what's happening underneath the table, is that your dignity is being violated, you're being treated as less than you're being treated like, you're not even a human being like you don't even matter. I said, Is there any way we could have a discussion about the ways in which you feel your dignity has been assaulted by this conflict? Kevin, was like talking about the doors swinging open. You know, those other two words, shut the doors. But this one, I mentioned this word dignity, and it is magic. They sat up straighter, they all raise their hand, because I asked for a show of hands, every single one of them. And they would say to me, and yeah, you know, this isn't just about my dignity, but it's about my ancestors dignity that I'm bringing into this conversation. And I'm glad you brought that up. So anyway, we spent the two days instead of talking about, you know, the usual politics and this and that we just spent two days talking about dignity. And by the end, you know, there was a there was a general in the audience and the audience in the at the table. And he said, at the end, he came up to me, and he said, Donna, you know, you really did help us restore this relationship, and thank you with your dignity approach. At the same time, I think even more important than that, I think you saved my marriage. So Kevin, at that juncture, I realized this isn't just about international conflict gone awry . This isn't just about intractable issues between warring parties. This is about all of us. There isn't any person on the planet who I've ever met, who said, No, don't treat me well. I don't care. You know, you can be mean and nasty to me. I know. We all want that. It's like a universal human yearning. And, and I think of it as our highest common denominator, because it is the one place that we can all agree that yes, our dignity is important to us. And if we can get everybody to try to get down that path and say, Well, how do we do this, then? How do we end this conflict by helping restore our dignity and make sure that it's intact moving forward?


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  09:41

I experienced if I reflect back to you that it takes a very limited timescale in the conversation helps you enlarge the timescale. And it also where so many words just talk about what was wrong. It opens the door to talking about repair, as well. And I think it's really powerful in that way?


Donna Hicks  10:01

Yeah, well, you know that in what I want to emphasize, and I always say this when I give a talk or interview is that there's enormous ignorance surrounding this issue of dignity. You know, most people haven't really even thought about it. They hear the word and then they say to me, oh, yeah, that's really nice. That's nice work. Thank you. That's great. But then I asked them to elaborate, what does it look like in your world? You know, tell me stories. And they're like, Oh, well, I think we just all, I don't know. And they stopped, they don't have a working definition. They don't have any sense of what it looks like in their everyday lives. And not because they're not, you know, smart, or educated or anything, because these are really powerful people that I work with. And I have to admit, I didn't understand it, until I started researching it myself. And so I think our challenge here is that the ignorance surrounding it is, is greater than the consciousness that we have. And I think it's nothing less than, you know, trying to evolve our human consciousness to a point where we actually do see the shared humanity that we all are yearning for the same thing, we want to be treated well, we want to belong, we want to be in a environment where we feel seen, we feel heard, we feel listened to, we want to feel connected. So you know, the neuroscientists tell us that, you know, we have this profound inner workings of our brain where we do thrive on connection. So that's what we want. It's universal, yet. The ignorance surrounding it is it's tragic, really.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  11:47

The Ubuntu concept flourished within the theology and personhood of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu writes, Ubuntu is the essence of being human. It speaks of how my humanity is caught up and bound up inextricably with yours. It says, not as Descartes did "I think, therefore, I am," but rather, "I am because I belong." The completely self sufficient human being is subhuman. I can be me only if you are fully you. I am because we are for we are made for togetherness for family. We are made for complementarity. We are created for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence with our fellow human beings, with the rest of creation.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  12:43

As a person in the humanities, I'm really, I'm fascinated by the ways in which cultures and worldviews color a word. And so I wanted to ask about South African heritage, because you spend time with with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, I think that you're very inspired by Nelson Mandela. I also hear you talking about the South African concept of Ubuntu. So tell me about how that context of apartheid, inform your understandings of dignity? Well,


Donna Hicks  13:09

I've got a great story about that. So as you pointed out, I worked with Desmond Tutu, and known him for about a decade, you know, before he died. And we work together in Northern Ireland on a project where we were bringing together victims and perpetrators of that conflict in Northern Ireland, and I was co facilitating those encounters with him. And when we first met, that was when i very i met him for the first time and it was like, Oh, my God, I was just so starstruck. Can you imagine meeting Desmond Tutu, it was like one of my heroes of all time. And so he sit down, let's go have a cup of coffee. I want to hear more about how you arrived at this dignity work. And I just want to hear about your journey with this. And I said, Sure. And I told them that I've been working with all these conflicts on all these conflicts with groups who were willing to, you know, fight with each other in order to restore their dignity. And I said, they would always say to me, yeah, we are fighting for our dignity, the other side has stripped us of our dignity, and we want it back. And Tutu said to me, "what did you say" in this kind of like, Oh, my God, he's, he's shaming me. What did I say? He said, What did you say? And I said, yeah, they said, they stripped had their dignity stripped, and they're fighting to try to restore that. And he said, Look, I don't ever want to hear you say that again. I said, What what happened? And he said, nobody has the power to strip you of your dignity, or anybody's dignity. And he said, How do you think we got through apartheid are black South Africans and All those years of being humiliated and treated as less than how do you think we could stand up straight. And he said, The only reason we got through that was because we knew that our dignity was in our hands and our hands only, and nobody could strip us of our dignity. That was the one thing that we hung on to, that got us through. And he said to me, and, you know, read Nelson Mandela's book when you go home, because he too felt the same way. You know, he went into prison for 27 years. And he figured out that one of the things that the prison guards were trying to do was to strip them up their dignity. And he, you know, he's he writes that, and, oh, I was so relieved, because I knew that nobody was gonna win that battle over my dignity, because I'm not willing to let it go for anything for any man, any institution. So it was fundamental to the black South African reality, that even though they were, you know, as I said, humiliated and treated so badly for so long, and structurally, obviously, with the apartheid regime, and not only individually, but just structurally. And so I thought, Oh, wow, that is amazing that they feel that nobody can take their dignity away from them. And I said, but there's so many people that I encountered who are suffering, thinking that they have had their dignity stripped from them. And so the way that informed my work, Kevin, was it, it made me realize that the first order of business whenever I work with people, is to be sure that they have that truth, securely embedded inside their soul, that nobody can take away their dignity, because Tutu always said, it's not that it can't be injured, it can be injured, it can be traumatized, assaulted. But at the end of the day, what you need is healing, you don't need a restoration of your dignity, because it's already there, you need to heal those wounds, that's very different from saying it was stripped from me. So that is the first thing I do. And I promised him, I would never say that word, this somebody can strip you of your dignity. I promised him and he said don't perpetuate that myth. But it is a myth. It really is a myth. And I think the Ubuntu concept also is, you know, I am a person through another person. That's how I become who I am, is through my relationships and my connections with others.


Donna Hicks  17:37

I just, that's those two things I think helped me understand that. Really, dignity is about connection, I talk about three connections. It's about connection to your own dignity, because that's fundamental. Thank you, Archbishop for telling me that the connection to other people's dignity having a relationship that's based on that mutual, you know, you like the word mutuality, the mutual recognition of each other's dignity, and humanity. And then the third connection is about a connection to something greater than ourselves bigger than ourselves beyond ourselves. And so that we don't all get into this little narcissistic tendency, thinking that we're the center of the universe. But you know, we are part of the universe, but we're not the center of that we humans, there is a big beautiful universe out there. And for people who are religious, you know, that connection to their creator is absolutely fundamental. And, you know, when I teach these classes on dignity, the students always say about this third connection that they want, purpose and meaning in their lives. That's the way they think about that third connection. It's not just about making enough money to buy a house or a car or go away on these fancy big, it's about doing something that contributes to the greater good. And that third connection is, I think all of us in education are doing that to we're trying to contribute to the greater good by, by addressing that ignorance for one. So three C's, connection, connection and connection. That's what dignity consciousness is.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  19:18

This conversation and Hicks scholarship on dignity, led me back to Nelson Mandela's framing of dignity, in two of his most famous speeches. In 1964, Nelson Mandela delivered a four hour speech at the Pretoria Supreme Court as he was convicted of sabotage. This speech names poverty, and an experience of a "lack" of human dignity as oppressive to Black South Africans. As Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, I sensed that this lack of human dignity became something that was invioble. Hicks writes, because Mandela, his sense of his own value and worth was so deeply ingrained. He never lost sight of the inherent value and work of others, no matter how badly he was treated. In his 1994 inauguration speech presented here, Mandela builds language around the inalienable right of human dignity, and closes with never again, to the suffering of indignities. I present you with two excerpts here,


Nelson Mandela  20:36

Without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation, at peace with itself, and the world. We understand it still, that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well, that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world, let there be justice for all. Let them be peace for all, Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul had been freed to fulfill themselves. Never, never. And never again, shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one another, and suffer the indignity [applause].


Nelson Mandela  22:01

And suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. The sun shall never set on so glorious, a human achievement. Let freedom ring. God bless Africa, I thank you.


Donna Hicks  22:23

And I also believe that when those three connections are intact inside us that we know that we've embraced our own dignity, we've claimed it, we were taking care of it, we're protecting our own dignity, as well as the dignity of others, and then contributing to the greater good. That's what I think fulfillment is like, that's what the that's what it looks like. And you know, I have colleagues at Harvard who are doing work on human flourishing. And I was on a panel a few years ago with them and I say, hey, look, you're not gonna get anybody who's flourishing if they don't know they have dignity, you know, if they don't have these three connections, that's what human flourishing looks like. So it has in its, the African tradition is clearly embedded in the dignity model.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  23:16

Collective human flourishing is an expansion of self to the betweenness of relation. Hicks writes about the me, I we transformation as enlarging perspective taking, and an embrace of shared dignity that opens windows in conflict dialogues. Our me's are worldviews of self protection and limited vision. As individuals embrace connections to self, others and larger purpose, our visions of unconditional dignity come into focus. Hicks writes, "When we are firmly grounded in the eye, we can experience all dimensions of dignity, a connection to our own dignity to the dignity of others to the natural world, and to something greater than ourselves. Unlike the me, the goal of the I is self expansion and growth, not self preservation."


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  24:22

I layer this beside Dan Siegel's work on intraconnection and the enlargement of the me into the we or Mwe. Siegel writes that solo self construction is a fantasy of certainty, and a limiting story toward disconnection and delusion. Our visions of self and intraconnection, influence quote, constructions of categories concepts and symbols we use to name identify and shape how we belong. We might imagine a different story that lets go of isolated certainty and expands into planes of possibility. Siegel writes, If we explore our identity and expand our belonging and sense of self beyond the body, we differentiate and link our inner and relational selves into an integrative, intraconnected narrative of who we are. This integrative and intraconnected sense of being offers the emergence of kindness, compassion, and love. How might we embrace self expansion as peacebuilders and educators to build environments of mutual understanding, listening, and care.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  25:53

And if I, if I stay with your relationship with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, I went back and rewatched facing the truth. So um, and, and I have some things I want to reflect back to you. So I paid a lot of attention as I watched that, again, about the malleable nature of identity through the lens of the Me-I-We. And I want to reflect back to you that as I rewatched, the conflict dialogues I saw many of the participants begin with a me frame, using kind of dehumanized abstractions, stereotypes, passive voice a lot of times, and some protective posture as they began their dialogue. And I heard like language like objectives and actions that seemed to just happen without a human acting. And then I feel like I noticed a shift towards using you, or, or I and sometimes we, and an ability to imagine the self at another level of identity, maybe one that's more inclusive and connective. So first question, did I capture this shift correctly? And how have you experienced these identity shifts and conflict mediation and transformation?


Donna Hicks  27:06

Well, I think you did it beautifully. Thank you. That was lovely. The way you summarized that, I think that shift really reflects a lack of understanding of what it means to be a human being, frankly, because when you're in war, and when you're like, these guys were who were present at those encounters. You know, you're in self preservation mode, you're not in expansive mode, where you're thinking about, Oh, what impact do my actions have on others? No, you're thinking about annihilating the threat. That's what you're thinking about. So war in and of itself, I believe, is, is really a me driven, although some people say, well, there's the bigger picture to I'm fighting for my country, I'm fighting for this and that, but when that second connection is severed that the.. connection to others, then I think we can't operate from the "I", which is the part of ourselves that is able to reflect on our behavior and able to think about the impact of our actions on others, we just can't do it. The so you know, if I talk about the I in the Me, and part of you know, the I is that piece that I just said that can reflect on other people and how how they're receiving your, you know, interactions. But if we can, as peacebuilders, or as conflict resolution people, if we can create the conditions and create the space for that I to emerge, let's say, because we all have them, the I and the me, and let kind of tame that what I call the tyranny of the me, which is pummeled them, get them, you know, get the threat, then we can start in the South African tradition, by creating the we, here we are in this space now. And you know, I don't know if you remember the episode with Malcolm and Ronney the episode, which was, I think, the most powerful one in terms of that reconnection of the We, because they started out in their me's, and then they listened to each other and their I's started emerging. And then, you know, with a couple of interventions, they you know, when one one of them said to the other boy, if I had grown up in that circumstance, I probably would have done the same thing. There was that opportunity for the "we" to emerge, you know, and, and the two of them after, I mean, that was, I think, the greatest reconciliation session that we had of the 12 that we did. And after that these two went out into the, into the, into their communities and talked together about reconciliation, what it looked like. And this one, one guy was a policeman, a British police officer, and the other guy was an IRA volunteer. Can you imagine you can't get more polarized? So that process? I mean, I do see the dialogue process that you've just, you know, brought up with that we did with facing the truth. That process itself is one that I think and listening to you summarize it, I'm convinced now that listening to what your summary was, that that is the process that we have to go through from that, from the me to the I to the We.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  30:43

Yeah, I think it was actually that interaction that inspired me the most. And I. The other thing that I saw, too, I was also watching their bodies to in the interaction, that and also when their body was maybe turned away with their conversant in turn more towards the Desmond Tutu, and it was more open. And that as, as they move into a sense of imagination of other perspectives, I saw the body kind of move in a little bit. I'm trying to describe it over audio, and it directed more towards.. it took up less space.


Donna Hicks  31:12

I think the other thing that happened now that I'm reflecting on it is that created a sense of safety for them too, it felt safer to lean in, you know, it felt safer to get curious, like, whoa, and it felt safer to imagine what it might be like to have a connection with that person. You know, instead of wanting to shoot one another or kill one another, whoa, here we are in this amazing environment where the BBC is filming everything we do. I mean, that that's the other thing that, that.. sometimes it felt so intimate that we should I thought, oh my gosh, we shouldn't even be here. This is so profound, a reconnection of the humanity that I just felt like we had to be really silent and just witness what was going we had to be witnesses not intervenors at that point, because they were doing a masterful job on their own.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  32:04

Our vulnerable smallness and a vast universe that lies beyond our comprehension is the center of awe experience. We can wonder at the stars, and we can wonder at the awe of moments of generosity, forgiveness, kindness, and moves to repair what seems irrepairable. Hicks writes that a hallmark of good leadership quote, "is the capacity to feel awe and wonder at something greater than oneself. Feeling reverence creates the sense of humility necessary to avoid the temptation to abuse one's power by harming, exploiting and disempowering others." In his book on the science of awe, Dacher Keltner writes of awe as a sense of vastness, or a revision of understandings that are deeply entwined with humility. In 2018, Keltner, joined a team of researchers to explore entanglements of awe and humility. Participants in five research studies completed Self and Peer reports, watched videos of galaxies, or ascended to the top of a bell tower for a breathtaking view. In these measures, researchers found significant entanglements of awe and humility. Researchers wrote that humility diminishes the centering of the self, quote, emphasizing the value and concerns of others, they write, "awe would appear to be one way to encourage this balance of self interest for the interests of the group. Humility offers unique and independent pathways to social cohesion."


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  34:02

In the facing the truth series, Desmond Tutu expressed delight and awe with the phrase, "thank you for being vulnerable." His expression of this phrase sounded like gratitude, layered with an awe infused witness of vulnerability as he accompanied participants in journeys of human reconciliation, and transformation.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  34:27

I think that one of Archbishop Tutu's superpowers is his playful, mischievous smile. And he would put that smile together with thank you for being vulnerable. And, and he would remark about kind of like a sense of awe watching people being vulnerable with each other. And so I guess the spirit of my question is going to be about vulnerability, humility and awe and reverence. Yeah. And I think I listened to you in one podcast interview. You named that. You you may have wished that You've included humility, more central in the dignity model. And yet in the book, I kind of hear humility as being embedded within everything...  especially when you're talking about reverence. Yes. So my question is this, is there an interplay between vulnerability, humility and reverence, in belonging and dignity? And if so, what inspires you about the interplay in dignity conversations?


Donna Hicks  35:29

Well, I think, you know, vulnerability gets a bad rap most of the time, because typically, when we think of the word vulnerability, people often equate it with weakness, weakness, that, you know, I'm not going to be that vulnerable, this person is going to come back at man, you know, I have to defend myself, I have to. So vulnerability, I think, again, is has had a bad rap. Because I think vulnerability is where the truth resides. If you want to find truth, you're not going to get there, by being defensive by pretending something didn't happen by trying to save face by trying to, you know, take the bait, you're not going to get there, that way, you're going to get there by being quiet, being reflective, and suppressing that other part that wants to, not be vulnerable, you know. And in order to do that, that takes tremendous strength to stop and reflect and like, get into your "I" mode in the "i" part of you where you realize, okay, this is, you know, this is bigger than just me and I am I'm reflecting here, what are the consequences of my actions? What have I done here? And to be able to say, to the person you've harmed? Yes, I did, you know, I'm sorry, I really did. harm you by my actions. And take responsibility for it. You have to overcome so much internal self preservation, you know, that "Me's" are automatic responses that are so strong, they're survival mechanisms. But boy doing that can bring out a sense of, yeah, this isn't just about me. And this is where the humility comes in. I think this is, you know, you put yourself in that context of the relationship, not of you, the person but of the relationship. And what have I done, you know, what have I done here, and take a few deep breaths. And these neuroscientists that I've interviewed, they've said, you know, if you want to try to push the pause button on those automatic responses, where you're trying to defend yourself and all of that, just take 10 deep breaths, not count to 10. But you know, you're when you breathe, your vagus nerve connects your head, and you know this, yeah. And so. But it takes a tremendous sort of impact of humility that you realize, Oh, this isn't just about me. And you begin to see that how the outlines of the interaction expand. And includes the other person that takes humility that take to admit okay, I was wrong, I messed up, I did this. And it's also vulnerability, but to me, that is strength, that includes a spiritual strength, to be able to be that vulnerable. And that's where the reverence comes in, you know, having reverence for what we're capable of as human beings if we so choose, but we do have to choose.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  38:53

Hicks tells a story of the intersections of vulnerability, awe, playful joy and humility. Quote, at the end of a particularly hard day of filming, the Archbishop wrapped up the encounter by telling the two participants that he was deeply humbled by them. His closing words to them were, "thank you for being vulnerable." I pondered his ability to preside over such a difficult session, and to wrap it up so that the two participants walked out feeling enlarged in spirit. I asked, "Archbishop, how do you do that? It was such a powerful ending. You obviously hadn't rehearsed it. So where does it come from?" He giggled and pointed to a light in the ceiling. "What?" I asked, "I'm like a light bulb. When I'm plugged into the source, I shine."


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  39:49

I get to reflect back to you now, which is good about about so you know, I had read your leadership book And in the height of COVID, I was suddenly thrust into being a Dean of School of Arts and Humanities. And as I entered the pandemic context of like constant stress and ongoing decisions, I felt like I held your book almost almost as if it was a life preserver in that moment. Because COVID was a time when many citizens, especially teachers, experienced layers and layers of what they might call dignity violations. So, in COVID, I noticed that individuals experienced dignity violations in the ability to choose their own health and wellness, to have others value your care as expressed in decisions about masking or other decisions they might make. To center the voices of students, to be respected for professional expertise, I think, many ways teachers felt that other people were making all decisions for them. And no one was actually walking into the classroom and saying, how, how can we care for you? And so I just want to reflect back to you first, that, you know, as I moved into being a leader, holding that dignity frame in the midst of that helped me so much... to see everything through that lens. And so I just, I wondered how you experienced COVID. And what you noticed from that dignity lens about kind of the, the collective traumas we went through in that time.


Donna Hicks  39:49

Oh, those were hard times. And let's pray they're behind us. Yeah. Well, of course, you know, the whole dignity model is based on connection, connection, connection and connection to other people to the end, I found that it was very hard to maintain that connection with, on a zoom call, or teaching, you know, by zoom, I mean, I was grateful that we had it that we could stay at least minimally connected. But there there was something. I mean, I love being face to face with people. And I love speaking to an audience and I love teaching. And I just find that, you know, those mirror neurons we have in our brain that helps us feel the empathy for other people and feel what other people are feeling and isn't just, you know, any feeling that it was hard to do that over zoom, I had to kind of use my cognitive knowledge rather than my emotional connection with people to get us through. And students were so grateful to at least be able to have this kind of connection, even though it wasn't the kind that they're used to. And were yearning for at that time, because they were, so many of them were just stuck in their rooms and you know, their dorms and didn't have, you know, didn't feel safe to get out of there. And so lots of people were suffering from isolation. So zoom was better than nothing. Let's put it that way. But I'll never forget the first class I taught after, I think it was in 2021, maybe the fall of 2021. Was it? Does that make sense? Was it 21? We probably we went back into the classroom. There was joy, absolute joy among the students and just being physically present. And there is some energetic exchange that we engage in. And that energetic exchange is I think, the stuff of joy. You know, when art and love I mean, I think I think dignity connections when you have that connection with somebody else, you know, if you read that last chapter in my book on leadership, in where Barbara Fredrickson says, we have to do a retake of what we think love is, and we got to figure out what love 2.0 looks like. And it's really just about having these connections with each other. And it doesn't, it's certainly not romantic love or intimate love, it's love of connection and love of being together. And what that gives us and you know, one thing about COVID And I'm just thinking this right now, as bad as it was, I think it did teach us that lesson of how important the human connection is and how important relationships are. You know, the other thing Tutu taught me was that. He said, you know, Donna, it's our duty to be joyful. It's our duty as human beings to be joyful, because that's what takes us to whole new levels of understanding and of consciousness and, and boy, that was a that was a powerful message. It's our duty to be joyful.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  44:45

In the book of joy. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu engage in a dialogue, noting that "from this weakness and fragility, not despite it, we discover the possibility of pure joy." With joy, quote, "perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that enables rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken." Donna and I shifted our conversation, to continuous tensions between the universal and contextual. I asked how the field of peacebuilding might hold paradoxes of uniquely situational and locally led contexts, alongside universals of dignity, and belonging,


Donna Hicks  45:42

we have to understand that piece, that diversity piece that is part of the process of transformation. But it's not the last step, there's one more step that we have to take. And that is recognizing what brings us all together again. And that unity that we need in order to make it in this world and survive as a human species, I think this is about the species level, frankly, if we're going to survive as a species, we have to get take that last step, and figure out ways to unify our understanding of what it means to be a human being. And I believe that dignity can take us there, because it we all, I mean, you wouldn't believe the story that I use the word yearning to describe the universality that we all yearn to be treated with dignity. Maybe music can can bring that yearning out, I think it can actually. But that's really what.. it's a feeling it's not, it's not, and it's a spiritually, deeply spiritual yearning, to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized to be treated fairly to be, you know, apologized to if someone mistreat us those, that's what we all want from relationships. And I think a knowledge of dignity can take us there, it doesn't negate anything that came before. You know, the idea that this is contextual, that this is about the culture. This is, yeah, that's a piece of it. That's critically important for our analysis. I mean, not only analysis sounds too analytical, but I really want to say that I think is nothing less than the survival of our species is at stake here, until we can get to that unified state where we recognize each other's humanity and recognize that, you know, at the end of the day, we all want the same thing.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  47:40

The language of species has been thinking too, so many peacebuilders now are also opening up their frames to ecological frameworks in a time of climate change. And do you see people doing the dignity work that moves beyond the human species?


Donna Hicks  47:54

Oh, for sure. I mean, I talk about that in my, in my book, the first book, especially but yeah, you know, there's the dignity of the planet as well. You know, I'm like, in the introduction of my first book, I said, peace is the internal state of calm that we reach when we recognize the value and vulnerability of all living things, the planet's a living thing, you know, the universe is a living thing. And so, talk about expansion of our consciousness, if we really did recognize that, you know, in harming our planet, we're harming ourselves, and our entire species and other species have been wiped out because they've, you know, that's happened. And so yeah, I think the evolutionary biology is also helping with these insights to about the human species and what we're up against. And I think expanding it out to the environment and to nature and to this, the planet, writ large. We, we it's all part of us. We're all this is like the Buddhist sense of being interconnected here. We can't escape it. And we may think we can, we may think we can prioritize the human experience over all the rest. While there are consequences and we're seeing them front and center. I mean, this year alone, all the things that have happened to our climate, with climate change,


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  49:22

Hicks writes, "The idea of dignity doesn't stop with human beings. The indignities that we perpetrate on other species and on the environment deserve just as much attention. Thinking about how we treat all aspects of life on the planet. And the planet itself, in terms of dignity is a way to connect ourselves emotionally to the world around us. As we center dignity, we gain a different view of climate change, and other human actions that affect our planet. Our feelings about fairness will expand to include the natural world. And we won't need to be reminded that all living things, not just humanity are invaluable, priceless, and irreplaceable."


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  50:17

In the next episode, we will look at Mica Estrada's research on the influence of human self efficacy, identity and values, on issues of climate change and ecological care.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  50:30

That's all my plan questions. And my last question I always close with, you know, if there's anything that I haven't asked you that you wish I would ask you if, especially if we think about the conversation between belonging and dignity? Is there anything I haven't asked you?


Donna Hicks  50:44

Well, I think dignity is the is the road to belonging. I mean, if you want to create a roadmap to, to belonging, then we have to learn about what it means and what it looks like to treat each other that way we have to. The other thing that I want to just comment on right here at the end is that just remembering what Tutu said, because there are times that even still, that I have to remind myself that I have dignity when I can feel that suction, that gravitational pull to make me feel less than or feel like I don't belong, or that I've done something stupid or wrong, that gravitational pull to thinking you lost your dignity is so strong and powerful, that we just need to have a mechanism. Maybe it's just a quiet reflection, maybe it's talking to other people, whatever it is, to get us back on target. Because that's when we do crazy things, either to ourselves or others when we disconnect from our dignity. It's a it's a task for all of us, all of us. And because I don't think we could do the other two connections without that first connection to our own dignity.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  50:48

Donna Hicks writes, "When we extend dignity to others, we open ourselves to the possibility of becoming more caring, more loving, more compassionate, in a word, more human. I think I finally understand what Archbishop Tutu means by Ubuntu. He believes my humanity is caught up, bound up inextricably with yours, we can only be human together." In the next episode, we center the research of Dr. Mica Estrada, who has extended Hicks work on dignity into dialogues of belonging. To look at how micro and macro affirmations or kindness, build expansive spaces of diverse identities, we're all might experience affirmations and belonging.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  52:57

My deepest gratitude to Dr. Donna Hicks for her presence and contributions to enlarged conversations of belonging. Dr. Hicks books on dignity are published by Yale University Press her 2021 10th Anniversary Edition, "Dignity, It's essential role in resolving conflict" is a must read on elements and constructions of dignity. Her 2018 book "leading with dignity, how to create a culture that brings out the best in people" is an essential book for fostering practices of leadership that center the flourishing of dignity. Other sources cited in this podcast are listed on our webpage.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  53:39

This is the music and peacebuilding podcast hosted by Kevin Shorner-Johnson. At Elizabethtown college we host a master of music education with an emphasis in peacebuilding. Thinking deeply we reclaim space for connection and care. Join us at music peace


Episode 2: Belonging, Identity, and Kindness:


belonging, values, estrada, community, dignity, work, kindness, self efficacy, efficacy, identity, people, research, mica, study, persistence, donna, students, social, article, stereotype threat


Mica Estrada, Kevin Shorner-Johnson, Donna Hicks


Mica Estrada  00:00

I know you can talk about differences without violating people's dignity. You can be very angry at a person without violating someone's dignity. And I think same, the same thing is kindness, right? We can treat people in a kind way. Even if we're not agreeing with them. We're always gonna have differences with each other. This is part of the human condition. That how we deal with our communications when we have those differences is central to what kind of community and planet we're going to have.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  00:30

You are listening to season four of the music and peacebuilding podcast, a podcast season focused on multifaceted textures of belonging. Our podcast explores intersections of peacebuilding, sacredness, community, creativity and imagination through research and story.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  00:49

Dr. Mica Estrada received her PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University. She serves at the University of California, San Francisco as the Associate Dean of diversity, inclusion and equity for the School of Nursing. She is also a professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Institute for Health and Ageing. Her research program focuses on social influence, including the study of identity values, forgiveness, well being and integrative Education. Dr. Estrada utilizes the tripartite integration model of social influence to inform the design and assessment of educational interventions. Dr. Estrada's work focuses on ethnic populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education, most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and are providing diverse and creative solutions. As a leading scholar on issues of diversity and inclusion. She is currently serving on a national research council roundtable, and was recently selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a facilitator scholar. This conversation continues from part one with Donna Hicks, with conversations about empirical examinations of social identity, belonging, stereotype threat, kindness and dignity. We begin with an excerpt from Donna Hicks, as Donna spoke about how Mica Estrada impacted her sense of belonging at Harvard.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  02:23

So I'm going to read some of these questions because I put some thought into them. So I wanted to first ask you about your story of entering Harvard because I believe that in that story, I heard the play of imposter phenomena. And then the restorative language of belonging when a new colleague tells you, we've been waiting for you. So could you tell us about the experience of belonging, an imposter phenomena, and then how it informed your early understandings of dignity? If we start there?


Donna Hicks  02:53

No one has ever asked me that question. This is just fascinating. So I'm going to be just thinking out loud with you on that question? So yes, I did all my graduate work at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, I was there for 15 years, got four degrees. And leaving there felt like ripping myself away from you know, talk about belonging, I felt like that was where I belonged, yet I had this opportunity to go to Harvard, I was asked, you know, Professor, Herbert Kelman said, come to Harvard, and we have a wonderful program, and all the things that you're interested in the social psychological dimensions of international conflict. And my, you know, my brain said, yes, yes, you've got to go there. But my heart was so torn. I don't want to leave Madison, Wisconsin. But then I got there, I got to Harvard. And I was looking around and thinking, Oh, my gosh, what am I doing here? You know, spent all these years in the Midwest, where people were just really friendly and open. And I'm thinking, I don't think this is going to be this way here. What am I going to run back home? And, and so one day, I did decide, alright, just jump in. I said to myself, just jump in, literally jump, go to the gym, take a class and you know, get your, you know, get yourself centered. And so I did, I went in to this gym and was going to a class. And the person at the desk told me to go to the to the locker room, leave my things in locker went in there. And I realized that oh my gosh, you were supposed to bring your own lock. And I stood there in despair, thinking, Oh, I'm not walking the mile back to my to my apartment to get a lock. And this one woman stood there and said, Are you okay? And I said, Oh no, I just didn't realize I was supposed to bring a lock and she said, Oh, come on. Just share mine with me. Don't worry about it. total stranger. Right total stranger. And so then she said. So tell me, what are you doing here? And I said, Oh, I'm going to be doing a postdoc with Professor Herbert Kelman. And she looked at me and she said, Donna, is that you? And I said, Yes, who are you? And she said, I'm Mica. I'm Mica Estrada, we've been waiting for you, we can't wait to have you come and join our group. And so all of that makes me want to weep right now just thinking about it. But all of those fears of not fitting in, you know, not being, you know, one of these Harvard intellectual types. And even though as I told you, I got five degrees from the University of Wisconsin, you know, I did wonder whether I was going to fit in. And lo and behold, Mica Estrada comes into my life and totally changes that. And the next day, I went into Professor Kelman's office met all of the people who are in his program, there were about maybe 10 graduate students and a couple of postdocs, too. And Kevin, they were so warm and welcoming. And I felt like an immediate connection, immediate, and it was because of their generosity, you know. And I think Mica also understood, she saw my despair in that locker room. And it wasn't just despair that I didn't bring my lock. It was I think she saw something deeper. And she was right. And to, and to have somebody see you in that way to be seen and experienced in that way. It just all the boundaries just dissolved for me. And I felt and to this day, we have a connection mica and I. And so those fears are real, you know, they're, I don't want to minimize them for myself or for other people as well going into a new situation like that and wondering whether you know, you're going to this is going to be right for you. And so that's I liked the way you juxtaposed it with you know, the imposter syndrome and the, the need for belonging.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  07:08

Yeah, I should tell you that, you know, so I read your book years ago, and your leadership book as well. And then like, two or three months ago, I said, I'm gonna go back and reread your book, because this entire season, I'm focusing on belonging, and how it intersects with peacebuilding. And I, I went back to read your book to see, does dignity have a conversation to have with belonging? And so that was one of the things that jumped out early to me as I read your book. So


Donna Hicks  07:35

I think it's fundamental. I mean, you can't feel connected with other people unless, you know, there's some sense of belonging. It's I think it's the glue. You know, that. And, you know, we all want that. We don't like being out on the margins and isolated, right, right.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  07:57

In the moments when we cross new thresholds, we may carry feelings of impostor phenomena about our enoughness and whether we belong. The uncertainty of our enoughness increases anxiousness, and cognitive load. Part of what Geoffrey Cohen names as belonging uncertainty. In the book, The Art of gathering, Priya Parker uses examples of hosts at a dinner party, as a talented dinner host welcomes each for their unique value in who they are, they relieve individuals of hidden uncertainties, or impostor feelings that they may carry. Sitting with Hicks' scholarship, I see that the repair of states of uncertainty is in connection, a connection to our own dignity and that of others offers us the rest, the embrace that we belong, just as we are. In her book, and in our discussions, Donna spoke about Ariella Berry and mica Estrada as offering this sense of dignity affirming and boundary lowering welcome. Ariella berry lives in Israel within the community of Neve Shalom, modeling a lived practice of hospitality and belonging as Israeli Jews and Palestinians living together. How do we craft expressions of "we have been waiting for you?" Out of the embrace of our own enoughness I turned the question of first moments of welcome to Mica Estrada to ask how she remembered these moments with Donna.


Mica Estrada  09:45

I do remember her arriving I do remember where her office was across from mine. I do remember that. It wasn't real clear when she arrived like how she had gotten. It was like cuz she wasn't a student, like us, we knew that she had been invited by my advisor, Herb Kelman. And that had happened other times where people just kind of arrived that he had invited. And so I think being Latina and being someone who really values community I'm I always try to cultivate community wherever I am. In that case, the community that was central was PICAR, that the program for international conflict analysis and resolution, which didn't exist when I first got there. The people that were working with herb Kelman on international problem solving workshops, moved towards institutionalizing the organization. But that community of people who was involved in that work, were probably my primary well, they were my primary people. When I was there, my cohort was also really important to me. And they were, that was another place where I was thought it was important to build community, I was the only one doing it as a social psychologist, so I study community and study how community forms and how people become part of community. So it's a personal interest, but it's also part of my academic interests, and how to restore community after there's been conflict and hurt and pain.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  11:13

Before I get into the research, I do an ask about Herb Kelman, because I see how much he's mattered to you and how much he's mattered to Donna, I noticed that as I read your 2011 article and the article on climate change, that the tripartite model is very much informed by his work. And I wonder if you might open up with about the ways in which studying with him, changed you and impacted you?


Mica Estrada  11:37

Yeah, I mean, he, he was a great mind. Even in the last couple of years of his life, I would read his stuff and forget just how brilliant just what a brilliant man he was. But I think the thing that always impressed me the most about Herb was, he had high standards for integrity, and for living in alignment with values and thoughts. And so he had studied ethics, he had written about ethics, he had been a child in Austria when the Holocaust began, and he fled. So he was quite concerned about people following orders that would hurt people. So while he had a huge impact on the research and the work that I have done, I think that the role model of living into your truth always resonates with me. And I was, I was really grateful to have an advisor who I admired in that way, he wasn't perfect, and he definitely didn't always get everything, right. And there were times I disagreed with him. But overall, I loved him, you know, as a human being, and he mattered to me all the way through to the end. So in terms of the research, the story is that I went to go visit him and he had just published an article in the annual psychology review, that kind of reviewed his research from the 1950s, all the way through to 2007, or eight I can't remember what year that that was published. So I was reading that on the train, when I went to a conference in DC, that was on the under representation of minorities, Latinos, Native Americans, African Americans in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine fields. So I think having reading his work, revisiting his work, and then being in this environment, where they're trying to figure out how to how to keep people in academia, I kind of saw that maybe they could inform that the work that he was doing, about how people integrate into community could inform how looking at how do students and people integrate into their disciplines, and into their, into their communities. And so that's I went back and started collecting data was able to show that Yeah, in fact, his his theory is about needing to, when we're part of a community, being able to do what the community does, when we're part of a community, starting to identify ourselves as that part of the community and then internalizing the values of that community that, that when we do all three of those things, we become highly integrated into a community we do what the group does, we identify and we internalize the values when you have those three. And then when you're really integrated, you start to teach others those things, right, you start to bring them in like with Donna to naming a part of our community, you know, your you can identify as part of our group. So it's really about how do we become community and belonging is a piece of it, but it's just a small piece of it. There's there's other aspects to being part of community than belonging, but if you don't have a longing, it's hard to be a part of a community.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  14:41

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think I remember that article. Actually. It's the article where he kind of identifies decade by decade, kind of his movement through academia. Yeah, that's


Mica Estrada  14:50

right. Yeah, yeah. And you can see how his early work on compliance and obedience how it starts to inform the conflict resolution work, and how do you form and create environments that are supportive of people being able to talk across differences and across painful histories. He always was looking at the same things, but he applied it to different environments all the way through. And then I think Donna really took the work one step further by naming the importance of dignity. I think he never really did that. And I thought that her work was really important. She named, named the unnamed in that environment.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  15:34

Dr. Herb Kelman had a significant influence on the scholarship of Dr. Donna Hicks and Dr. Mica Estrada. Kelman has spent a lifetime of channeling social psychological inquiry to understand how the social motivations of individuals impact larger contexts of international relations. His 1950s leadership in the Baltimore Congress of Racial Equality, seemed to offer Kelman lessons in the role of individuals within the micro and macro processes of social change. As Kelman's 1950, a theory of motivation evolved, Kelman named rule, role and value orientations as a process of socialization and re socialization within groups. Estrada translated and updated Kelman's rule role and value framework into a tripartite model of social influence that can be used to study processes of belonging, inclusion in STEM fields, and responses to existential threats like climate change. The tripartite model Center's self efficacy, identity and values to describe the socialization process by which an individual identifies and persists as a scientist.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  17:10

I would like to ask about the 2011 article first about scientific communities and then do the climate change piece. So if we introduce for the listeners, this tripartite model that includes self efficacy, identity and value, I was wondering if you might open that up for listeners. And what I was fascinated about is about how these three factors mediate and how they're also different depending on context as like the how, how they work when we talk about belonging within a scientific community. So could you open that up for us?


Mica Estrada  17:44

Yeah, so like I said, if you can do the science, in this case, I and you identify, I am a scientist, and you feel like the scientific endeavor is valuable, like it's a good use of your time that it brings you truth, you know, there's these elements of the value system of that society of that group. If you have all three, you're going to be most integrated. And I think you don't have to have all three, to be a part of a group belonging is kind of a piece of identification. I think when we feel belonging, we're more likely to identify with the group, if we don't feel belonging, we're less likely to identify with the group and in the measurements that I use, there's a question about belonging within the identity element, but that they are separate, right? So you can feel like I can do the science, I have the capability, I have the efficacy, I have confidence, I can do this. But I really don't feel like I'm a scientist, like, I'm not a part of that community. But I don't belong in that community. So those two things are not the same. And they do operate separately, but they can occur together. And the same thing with the identity and values, you could say, Wow, the values of this group really, really, they're really my values. But man, I don't feel like I belong in this room. I like I don't I can't identify with this group of people. I, I do think that science can lead us out of our problems. And do you think it has really great value, but when I go into the lab, and I'm the only woman and I'm the only woman of color, and it's all white men, and they barely talk to me, and in some cases make fun of me? I don't want to be I can't identify that group, right. So they can be separate from each other. And one of the things the 2011 article shows that all three are important, but when you look at them, to see what is most uniquely predicting persistence in in the sciences, a year after they graduate as undergraduates, we find that it's identity and values. There's an article in 2018 that I published, it looks at four years after they graduate what predicts using the same kind of structural equation model. And what we found still is that the identity is the one that really predicts whether people stay in STEM or not. And in that 2018 article, we look at what what leads to or what's How does identity and values and efficacy mediate the relationship between having research experience or having quality mentorship. So people have high quality mentorship that leads them to greater identification and value endorsement, they're more likely to persist. So we asked about the mediation they mediate. Also for research experience, when you have research experience at least two semesters, and that leads to greater identification and value endorsement you're more likely to go on.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  20:30

Estrada's 2011 Study reviewed 1053 minority science students from 50 universities to understand the integration and persistence challenges that minoritized students face in science. In this study, self efficacy, identity and values worked together and separately, to describe diverse paths to scientific community integration. With self efficacy, we need to believe we have adequate capacity to contribute as we enter a new field of study. As we persist, we appear to need to see ourselves as identifying with the community. And we need to sense that our values align. Thus, in this study, identity and values mattered to students' sense of belonging, and persistence within scientific communities. Given that self efficacy, identity and values are intertwined, and uniquely influential, how do these factors impact belonging within other communities? When does a factor help us cross a threshold to belong? What factors might help us persist beyond an initial acceptance?


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  21:59

What I think I remember from the articles that is kind of challenging that, prior to that time, we had kind of a hyper focus on self efficacy as being the defining metric by which a person feels like they belong to a scientific community. And you're, you're opening up this idea that self efficacy matters. But it also needs to have these other things alongside it. That's true.


Mica Estrada  22:21

And if you look at the literature, most of the research is done in the STEM area with efficacy. Really, the long term impacts are like a month or two at most, most people don't look at a year two, three years later. So you have to really watch when you're looking in the literature, how far out is the outcome? So what we know is that the identity is is an indicator for longer term choices in the direction of persistence for those fields. And the efficacy doesn't have that same, it relates, but it doesn't, it's not the Because you can you can think about it is a person who's studying right, you might feel like, well, I can really do this, I'm in my senior year at college, I love it. I'm really great at this, and then you start your graduate program, you're like, Oh, my God, all these people are brilliant, like, I don't know, if I really and your efficacy goes down a little while, and then you know, it might build back up, and then you get a new job, and it drops again, so that efficacy is not quite as stable across time. And so it doesn't have that longer term. It doesn't always have the longer term, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  23:28

So if we flip to climate change. What I also understand there is that many of the models that we have looked at with climate change have looked at like the individual, the individual choices, the individual behavior. And I think that when you channel Herb Kelman and you move into this model, you're asking about the individual, but you're also asking what's the individual's relationship to the social, and that the social matters when we're talking about a major crisis that's facing us? So could you also then translate, like, how do self efficacy, identity and value work in this context, when we're talking about climate change action?


Mica Estrada  24:06

I think the interesting thing for me when I was when I was directing the climate education partners, and we were doing this research, was we used it in a diagnostic way. So for instance, with the with this, the science that with the STEM field, identity was often a hard one to like that was the one that you're trying to build often is identity. It's kind of the weaker piece that particularly for marginalized people that you have to change the environment to help build that up. But when you got into talking to him, we were mostly working with leaders, decision makers, key influentials in San Diego and then we did a larger kind of polling of the larger community. What we found was that overall, people had identity. You know, people did care, they would say, Yeah, I'm part of that community that's concerned about climate change. But they often didn't know what to do. The efficacy was the one that's where the weakness was. It's very few people that you'll find that say, Yeah, we want to destroy the planet, like there's this. That's the value of trying to keep the planet going. It's pretty high. There's a lot of disagreement on why, why there might be climate change. There's, you know, especially at that time has changed a little bit now, but there's a lot of disagreement on, there's a lot of agreement on the value of being good to the planet overall. There's disagreements on why it's happening or what's what's a threat. There's pretty much a lot of people identify that they are concerned, especially as we've seen things change a lot more. But that efficacy was the diagnostic element, like people don't know what to do, how, as I how, as an individual, do I stop this from happening? And that's where we have work to do. And I would say in other areas of psychology, we know that when we're under threat, when we're feeling fear when we're feeling threat, feeling like we don't know what to do. accompaniment is really important community is really important and helps us to navigate when we're uncertain. And so, I think with addressing climate change communities can be is and continues to be really important for for people to continue to do the work necessary to change our trajectory right now.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  26:15

As we face daunting challenges like ecological collapse, it is worth remembering that prior generations also faced challenges that required communal accompaniment, and small persevering steps. Faced with overwhelming challenge, where do we find steps of change and our belief in our capacity? How do we converse toward connective values and open space for diverse identities? How might dignity guide our first steps and offer a shared grounding of connection? Angela Lederach's book, feel the grass grow, witnesses ecological peacebuilding practices among campesinos in Colombia. She and her Colombian conversants name accompaniment as something that offers perseverance, hope, grounding and social connection. Accompaniment recasts peacebuilding as an ongoing practice of, quote, presence and attention. Accompaniment builds persistence, and sustained action across what might otherwise be debilitating challenges of conflict.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  27:35

I wanted to ask you about values or having read Steele and having read Cohen and all the literature about stereotype threat. You know, there's, there's the wonderful literature that happens, I think, around 2006 or so where they start to identify that it you know, if a teacher comes in, and they ask students to write down their values, that it seems to mitigate stereotype threat, especially for marginalized students, and maybe has an impact on academics later on. And you've been approaching values as well, but maybe slightly differently. Talk about the ways in which you ask questions about the ways in which people adopt the values of a group and what you have learned about values from a social psychology lens?


Mica Estrada  28:19

A great question. Yeah, there's different people approach values in different ways. So there's a lot of research where it's like, here's a list of values and which ones they endorse, there's been work done, like internationally to see what are kind of common values for different communities, different cultural groups, there has, I think the work that you're referring to has people talk about, like what it says kind of affirming self of like, This is who I am, this is what matters to me. And by having that kind of reflection on self affirming experiences, then that kind of buffers the, I think the in their terms kind of the self, so that when you have an assault in some way or a threat to your self image, you're kind of have a little bit of lining to, to buffer it a little bit. So what I was looking at, when I first started doing this research, I actually went to Scripps Research Institute. And I had people write down what they thought the values of the science community was. And so they wrote, people wrote lists and lists and lists and I took the top ones, like the top 30. And I went back and I had them rate, which ones were the most important they thought or most central. And then from that I took the top ones and I met created that scientific value measure. So this was like not what is your personal value, but what is what is your community value? What are the values of your community? They were very specific to the community. They weren't like, we value truth. It was more like we value spending long hours to advance knowledge. You know, or we we believe that by doing this, this work, we can make the world a better place. Yeah. So it's there were kind of these larger value statements really of what the community agreed upon why this was noble, good work to do. But that differentiates it and it's, and the questions the way I asked it was, how much does this person describe you? And a person, Who does, Who thinks da-da-da-da, as opposed to them just generating a value list? So, but it is different?


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  30:21

And am I correct? If I say that, when you start to identify with the values of a community, that's also another pathway into belonging? Or do you not define it that way? So


Mica Estrada  30:32

I think it can happen one of two ways. So community has a set a type of value system, most almost every community has a value system was even basketball teams will have a value system, you know, what they what rules they have, they think are important and such. You could either someone finds the group and says, Well, they have the same values I do, right? This this church group, whatever, that that's me. And it's like, they already carry it with them and they go, Wow, that's I just fit like a glove. The other way is that you actually modify yourself, right? You start to adjust yourself so that you then do endorse those values. So when you hang out with a group of people, you might start where you never ever watch wrestling, right? Like you think it's barbaric for these people to wrestle, but you hang out with these people, they're really fun, you spend a lot of time with them, they tend to get lots of food and have a great time watching wrestling over time, your your value that, that it's barbaric kind of changes, you start to think of it as fun and your value system changes, so that you can fit into that group. So I think it can happen either way, I think you can arrive where it's just a complete fit or, or you feel like you have to kind of move you move yourself over time to endorse those values to understand the values to make them feel like they're really yours. And then I think with the work with STEM for me, one of the things I've argued about is that the value system of the STEM field often is very individualistic. And for people who come from come from cultures that are more community based, it doesn't fit well. And that perhaps if we want to increase persistence and increase inclusion, the value system of the disciplines actually, and the scientific enterprise needs to enlargen so that it can be more connected to people of many different cultures.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  32:29

"Stereotypes can be harmful because they undermine the safety of group membership, fixate attributes and flatten the diversity of our uniqueness." Individuals experience stereotype threat when they encounter difficulty in a situation that has associated stereotypes. Claude Steele, notes stereotype threat can increase doubt, uncertainty, and have a detrimental effect on performance. To counter stereotype threat, Cohen Steele and others developed a kind of values affirmation methodology. When teachers ask students about their values, this appears to communicate a desire to know a student with greater depth and individuation than the limitations of stereotype. "A 2006 study by Cohen found that values affirmed minoritized students demonstrated greater academic resilience than a control condition as they came upon challenging classroom assignments. In follow up studies, this treatment effect appeared to have lasted as long as two to nine years. Minoritized students are those likely to question their belonging in a majority context were most impacted." As Estrada notes, her approach to values is different. Drawing on the work of Schwartz et al in the portrait value questionnaire, Estrada asked participants about the degree to which they felt similar to someone who, as an example, "thinks discussing new theories and ideas is thrilling," and other scientific value prompts. What I find fascinating about the totality of values work is the connective force of our beliefs and valuations. With values, we come to be known and individuated. And we connect with others through a shared sense of what matters. Donna Hicks dignity model seeks to find the root of our most foundational values about universal dignity. Dignity is a value that can connect us across boundary lines and open channels of listening to the worth and value of each human being. Mica Estrada took this work of dignity and translated it into the work of affirmations or kindness. Estrada defines kindness, quote, "as an act or quality of action that conveys in subtle and sometimes obvious ways, respect for the dignity of another person." Whether held in the micro expression of a tone of voice or in the macro gestures of welcome, affirmations build identity and belonging within spaces that might otherwise be sites of uncertainty or threat.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  35:38

So, kindness, so, in your 2018 article, you recognize that much of the discourse on persistence has focused on individual characteristics like grit, goals and determination. And that when the social is considered, it's usually considered in a deficit term, and in terms of maybe threats or aggression. And so what I think I understand is that you're you're arguing for for another dimension, that there is a social element that is affirming, and it can be micro and macro. So would you introduce kindness to us, and I also want to get to how you tie kindness to dignity. But I will let you start by introducing kindness to us and where it fits in this in the whole picture.


Mica Estrada  36:21

Yeah, so as I was doing the research on the tripartite integration model of social influence, I think what where it leads you naturally is, how would the environment, the social context of disciplines of academia, how would it need to change in order for it to be a place where people want to stay? That's really, I think, what drew me over into thinking about what is it that is making people not integrate into their discipline communities. And that really led me to the concept of, of kindness, which, for me, I defined it as an act that affirms the dignity of another person. It's an action that it's, I think, dignity, having our dignity is really important. But the action of supporting another person affirming another person's dignity, I think, is the act of kindness. And when kindness, when we experience kindness, a piece of our, we feel as if we are being affirmed in some way as a human. And so that's where that's where it began. And I wrote that article. And the way I described it in, I didn't put in the article, when I talk about it, I think about like a garden. And in a garden, if you have a fruit, fruits and things that you've planted, if you look at it, and you look where the weeds grow, the weeds always grow in the places where healthy plants are not growing. So a lot of times when we're approaching diversity, inclusion, and equity, and we're talking about racism, and prejudice, and discrimination and stereotype threat, all of those things that we're talking about are like, how do we get the how do we get all the weeds out? Right? How do we get all the weeds out? And one of the things I was taught was to plant densely healthy plants. So there's less space for the for the weeds to grow. So what does that mean, to grow, to grow things that are healthy? That to me is the micro and macro affirmations, that is kindness, those are the things if that is really growing in an environment in a social environment, you have these positive things happening, there's less space for all the negative stuff to be coming up. So yes, let's pull out racism, let's pull out discrimination, let's pull out all of those things. But at the same time, let's plant stuff that's healthy into our environments, and really nurture that so that there's less space for all those things to come back again. And I think a lot of times, we don't do that piece. And so it just comes back in another form.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  39:02

Your 2019 Study fascinated me. It's almost like it's a three part structure. In one graph, you had scientific self efficacy, and then intentions to persist. And the other graph, you had micro affirmation, scientific identity and intentions to persist. It's a mediated model. And it's a model on which all three need each other. Could you talk about the interdependence, macro affirmations just by themself aren't enough, but we need them to either build up an identity or build up self efficacy? Yeah,


Mica Estrada  39:32

I mean, in the context of this was undergraduates. And so it's exactly what you said that what we found was that when people experienced micro affirmations, they, to the extent that that helps to build their efficacy, their sense that they do the science, or to the extent that it helps them to build a sense of identity as a scientist, then they're more likely to persist. And I think that that's just because you need those the identity and you need the efficacy. They're essential. For persisting, this is really kind of a precursor in some ways to the kindness work, because it was an attempt to see like, what is it in the social environment that helps to produce and elevate and help people to, to gain those elements that are necessary for integration into their community. I've now have a research project that's we're about ready to submit it, where we actually ask about kindness directly. And we use Donna Hicks' measure. So we used I went to Donna's work on dignity. And in the 2018 article, I talked about the measurement, a potential measurement for kindness. But we actually did it. So among academics, mostly faculty members, we ask them at how much do they receive kindness using those kinds of 10 elements from Donna's work? And then how much do they act in a way that's kind in their world, in their work world? And then we also measured institutional identity, how much do they identify with the institutions, their well being and their stress levels. And what we found was that when people receive kindness, they're more likely to identify with their institutions. And then they're more likely to have better wellbeing and lower stress. But acting in a kind way didn't have that relationship at all. So it really had to do with how much they felt they were receiving. And I think that that has to do because if you're giving if you feel like you're really kind of no one's kind back to you, that is not that does not, not so helpful, that this is a study that's really done with faculty, thinking about academia as a work environment, and just how important that receiving kindness, having our dignities affirmed, is really important to building up a sense of identity within the institution. And then there's outcomes that are good with that.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  41:54

If if we think about this being an audience of peacebuilders, music, teachers, other kinds of teachers, you know, most of your expertise has been in scientific forms of community. But what are the pieces of this that we should be asking about as we think about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in so many places where there may be communities that don't feel as welcomed? And how do you build a more expansive community?


Mica Estrada  42:21

Yeah, I think you go back to some of the work of Donna Hicks. And when she talks about dignity, the way that we operationalized it in terms of receiving kindness is, is do you feel free to express your authentic self without being negatively judged? Wouldn't that be great - that your efforts and thoughtfulness and talents are positively recognized? You feel concerned and experience experiences were acknowledged as valid, others convey you were included, others actions made you feel safe with them, you were treated fairly, your choices were respected, others made an effort to understand you, you're given the benefit of the doubt, which is often lacking when we're working with people who we have conflict with. And you receive an apology when your dignity felt violated. Those are the way that we've been measuring kindness, really building on Donna's work. But I think that those are central to any type of environment where we're trying to communicate, whether we have differences or similarities. I think that I'm Associate Dean for Diversity Inclusion outreach in the School of Nursing at UCSF, and we recently have had difficulties I guess, with different communities in both regard to the the war in Gaza. And, and we have people from all sides, right within our community who are feeling hurt. And I came back to looking at these because I thought, okay, we, regardless of what is happening, and how much pain people are feeling, our is our community receiving this, from the Leadership isn't receiving this from from our community, is their dignity is still being held. And so. So I think when we're doing work in conflict resolution spaces, these are things to train towards, right are these things here? Are they not here? And if they're not here, how do we, how do we ensure they're here because I know you can talk about differences without violating people's dignity. You can be very angry at a person without violating someone's dignity, doesn't mean that you're in complete alignment. And I think same, the same thing is kindness, right? We can treat people in a kind way. Even if we're not agreeing with them. We don't have to annihilate who they are in the process of it. So we're always gonna have differences with each other. This is part of the human condition, that how we deal with our communications when we have those differences, is really central to what kind of community and planet we're going to have and I'll add this. A lot of academia was established through people who were colonizers, and the education system was structured to really disassemble the heart from the head, you're not going to be able to enslave people, you're not going to be able to commit genocide, if your heart's too connected to your head. And our early education system was really landed? people being educated to exploit the planet and exploit people. So, kindness, if you are too kind, you are not going to be able to do those types of things. So our education system pulled apart that heart and the head. And really the work on kindness for me is like how do we remember to connect, reconnect these things, and to recognize that this kind of colonized mindset is actually destroying us, it makes us hurt each other and it makes us hurt our planet. And we don't have space anymore for that. So it's, it's a paradigm shift in our education system to think that kindness will really matter, in how we treat each other, how we educate each other, how we work with each other. And it's dissembling or taking apart, a legacy that was really built on exploitation.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  46:19

At the closure of his book on belonging, Cohen writes, quote, "it may seem unrealistic to expect that teachers should love their students. But the more I delve into the research on teaching, the more it seems to converge on the importance of love, of faith we choose to have in the inherent worth, and dignity of another human being. Stereotypes undermine this faith, constricting our hearts, blinding us to one another's full humanity." The scholarship of Mica Estrada and Donna Hicks offers pathways of connection, kindness, affirmation and belonging. As we utter the words, we've been waiting for you, we cross thresholds of doubt, to enter doors of kindness and welcome. May we come to believe in our capacity, and illuminate inner lights of individuality in a shared glow of community. A poem taken from the language and stories of this two part podcast


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  47:34

may dignity be our garden, to the unfolding of close rows of possibility, of capacity for the seeds of the next generation of kindness. May belonging be our guide of below to entangled roots and nurturance of shared abundance. And when the vulnerability of separation becomes too much a reality, may we be reminded, we are all soil, partnering nutrients of marvelous diversity, interconnection, a rooted embrace, belonging, and dignity.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  48:25

Special thanks to Dr. Mica Estrada and Dr. Donna Hicks for their time in producing this podcast. Our episode webpage contains an extensive reference list of some of Dr. Estrada's scholarship. As a starting point, I highly recommend her 2018 article with colleagues on the influence of affirming kindness and community on broadening participation in STEM career pathways. This episode frequently pulls from the work of Claude Steele's Whistling Vivaldi and Geoffrey Cohen's text on belonging. Also found on our website. Dr. Hicks books on dignity are published by Yale University Press her 2,021/10 Anniversary Edition, Dignity, Its essential role in resolving conflict is a must read on elements and constructions of dignity. Her 2018 book leading with dignity, how to create a culture that brings out the best in people is an essential book for fostering practices of leadership, that center the flourishing of dignity. This is the music and peacebuilding podcast hosted by Kevin Shorner-Johnson. At Elizabethtown college we host a Master of Music Education, with an emphasis in peacebuilding. thinking deeply we reclaim space for connection and care. Join us at music

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