Making Cities Safe By Helping People Connect Beyond Their Differences

It is a pleasure to share my support of Relationships First and their program Safe Conversations with the National League of Cities (NLC).  As mayor Of Dallas, I watched Relationships First emerge in our city in 2014. They have disseminated a new relational science in various ecosystems here in Dallas with impactful results. I strongly recommend the program be shared with other cities.

Safe Conversations Belongs in All Ecosystems of a City

Safe Conversations is a “relational methodology.” The skills and processes are learned in community workshop settings to improve the health and connection of relationships of every kind. In Dallas, we are seeing the impact of Safe Conversations in many vibrant ways. Here are some examples:

  • Diverse and innovative educational programs are being implemented to improve productivity and confidence in schools, colleges and non profit programs.
  • Dallas First Responders are creating a common language across disciplines using Safe Conversations to support their high urgency work on the streets of our city.
  • 311 Dallas attended Safe Conversations workshops to improve team cohesiveness and interactive skills for our non-emergency city services.
  • Safe Conversations was used as a platform and methodology for interfaith conversations including Evangelical Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other mainstream denominations.


The Safe Conversations Leader Training Program 

In addition, Dallas is host of Relationships First’s “Train the Leader” program. Since their first group of Leaders emerged in 2015, the power and possibility of the Safe Conversations process quickly spread, and people have flown to Dallas from the U.S. and beyond to become trained to lead workshops in their communities, with 359 leaders having completed or in the process of being trained from 28 states and 13 countries. The Safe Conversations sentence stems have been translated into 10 languages — Arabic, English, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hindu, Spanish, Urdu and Zulu. Here’s a snapshot of the geographic reach to date:

Arizona Kentucky North Carolina Afghanistan Panama
California Louisiana Oregon Argentina Singapore
Connecticut Massachusetts Pennsylvania Australia South Africa
District of Columbia Maryland Rhode Island Canada Switzerland
Florida Michigan South Carolina Germany Uruguay
Georgia Minnesota Texas India USA
Hawaii Missouri Utah New Zealand
Idaho New Jersey Washington
Illinois New Mexico
Kansas New York

Relationships First Can Create a Custom-Made Plan for Your City

Safe Conversations leaders are taking this work to cities around the country, I encourage any mayor or city leader who would like to know more about this organization to call their office. The staff team at Relationships First, led by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, can create a customized plan to address the needs and priorities of your city and administration.

Hendrix and Hunt are internationally respected couple’s therapists, educators, speakers and New York Times bestselling authors. Together, they have written over 10 books with more than 4 million copies sold, including the timeless classic, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. In addition, Harville has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey television program 17 times.

For more about Relationships First, contact Christi Carter, executive director, at

Mayor Rawlings Headshot.jpg About the Author: Mayor Mike Rawlings has served as the mayor of Dallas, Texas since first being elected in 2011.