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Last updated 10:48AM ET
September 26, 2018
Election 2008
Election 2008
"Listeners" Attend Democratic National Convention
(ksut) - Not all visitors to the Democratic National Convention in Denver are shouting slogans and giving speeches. Some of them are there just to listen.

The group wears bright pink shirts with the writing, "What's your vision?". The back reads, "The world is listening, I'm here to listen."

"Listener" and couples therapist Mike Miskin from Denver says in his line of work he's used to hearing both sides of the issue.

"I'm part of a group that's listening to people, quite literally, asking people what's your vision? What would you like to see in our world?" Miskin said.

The listening project is the brainchild of Denver resident Stephanie Phipps. She is studying for a doctorate in public health and says the idea came to her after she was personally involved in anti-war protests several years ago.

Phipps said it felt like the protestors were just shouting at each other and at the world. She said several of the protestors at this weekend's rally also seemed to be at a loss about their deeper goals.

"It was interesting. There were a lot of people who were actually without a vision and I thought, wow, they're actually here against the war, but they didn't have a vision for the world," Phipps said.

That lack of vision, says Phipps, closes people off to one another and prevents real change from happening.

Phipps' listeners are trained to pay attention without having an agenda.

"We too often make someone else the other. Obama is the other, Cheney is the other, the Christian is the other, the radical anarchist kid is the other, and we're here to say that we all share a vision," Phipps said.

Phipps contacted a few friends earlier this summer, which led to the formation of the "World Is Listening Project."

Marie Soderburg from Parker, Colorado joined the group in its early stages. She says she hopes the listeners will be a positive presence during what can often be a chaotic atmosphere surrounding any major political convention such as the DNC.

The group also hopes to go to next week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"If you listen to somebody that's really angry, and can really listen, it definitely dissipates the energy and calms them down," Soderburg said.

"Our intention is one step beyond that, is that they actually see what was the vision or what was the committment underneath them that actually gave them that anger," she added.

The listening volunteers plan to attend convention activities and protests throughout the week.

Their goal is to gather ten thousand visions for the world in the notebooks they're carrying. Eventually, the visions will be put into a mural which organizers hope will hang in Denver long after the convention is over.
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