Prejudice is on the rise. Isn’t it? If so, then speaker David Fleischer is doing the impossible: reducing prejudice by knocking on strangers’ doors and offering them the opportunity to form new opinions. The effect is tangible—real, data-verified change. And he’ll teach you how to make it happen, too.
As Director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Leadership LAB, Fleisher’s carefully honed method of “deep canvassing” delivered the first empirically tested and proven method where a single conversation decreases prejudice in a long-lasting way. Developed after the shocking 2008 win for Prop 8, which made gay marriage illegal in the state of California, Fleischer was motivated to figure out why, in this seemingly open-minded state, people voted against gay and lesbian people who wanted to marry. To find out, he and the Leadership LAB organizers and volunteers went to the neighborhoods where they had lost the worst; 15,000 one-on-one conversations later, they had learned several universally actionable pieces of information. The first: “people want to reflect on an issue, even if they’ve already made up their mind about it,” he says.
“What we’ve learned … is that a broad swath of voters are actually open to changing their mind. And that’s exciting, because it offers the possibility that we could get past the current paralysis on a wide variety of controversial issues.”— David Fleischer in The New York Times
In his powerful and heartfelt talks, Fleischer discusses more than how deep canvassing, as reported on in a landmark Science study, has empirically reduced prejudice in 1 out of every 10 people who participate. He will show you how you can take the principles of his work with Leadership LAB into your business, organization, association, and classroom—anywhere you feel that opinions, prejudices, or assumptions are at odds with each other, inhibiting growth, creativity, and productivity. The answer, says Fleischer, begins with much better listening. With his trademark warmth and clarity, he will guide you through his own tried-and-true methods, prototyped and hard-tested with the Leadership LAB, so that you can too can learn to change minds, one conversation at a time.
Prior to founding the LAB, Fleischer created and ran the premier political training programs in the LGBTQ+ community, first for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Foundation (now the LGBTQ Victory Fund, 1993-1998) and then for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force, 1999-2006). He also authored “The Prop 8 Report,” a comprehensive evaluation of the pivotal 2008 campaign in California. He has done political organizing in a wide range of cities and states, including but not limited to LGBTQ communities and communities of faith, for 37 years. Fleischer received his B.A. from Rice University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.