Wearing our t-shirts about once every two weeks, we typically stand in a public area waiting for people to approach us to offer their opinion.
People "select themselves" to talk to us. Once approached, we generally encourage them to discuss their viewpoint as much as they would like to, always listening respectfully, and asking other questions whenever it is appropriate.
Depending on their schedules, people will talk to us for varying lengths of time and usually leave feeling appreciative of the opportunity to have expressed their opinions. They will also almost always talk to us again if they see us another time.
While what we do is not a scientific study with quantifiable results, we believe we have achieved numerous measures of success:
1. Regardless of a person's initial opinion about the war, if he or she sees us again, he or she will always talk to us again or at least acknowledge us in passing if he or she does not have time to talk. This tells us that we have been effective in breaking a barrier by reaching and building alliances with people whose viewpoints may differ from ours as well as with those whose opinion may be similar to ours.
2. Regardless of their opinion of the war, many will tell us upon leaving that "we are good Americans" because we are giving genuine value to everyone's right to free speech.
3. A number of people who initially "vent" their feelings towards us, usually calm down, acknowledge that they appreciate being listened to, and then will want to know our opinion. The fact that people genuinely want to know what we think after they have had the opportunity to "let off some steam" is to us a sign that they are much less suspicious and more open to a mutual dialogue then when they first approached us.
4. A number of people initially in favor of the war have ultimately acknowledged that perhaps going to war was not the best solution for the situation in Iraq or that it hasn't made us safer.
5. New people approach us for the first time after having seen us at the train station for quite some time. This tells us that people feel increasingly safe to express their views openly due to our consistent, non-threatening presence.
6. People we have trained have reported that the technique provided has been "very effective" in dealing with a range of situations including: political forums, business dealings, organizational meetings, and one-on-one interactions with family members with whom they have often disagreed.
7. Prior to any media coverage of our project, we learned that people from distant parts of our home state whom we had never met were talking about it. It was a clear indication of the ripple effect that the project is having and a positive counterexample to the fear that some people have that dealing with people on a one-on-one basis is "too slow to ever bring about real change."