Help Bridge the Divides in our Country
Take Part in the National Week of Conversation
April 20-28, 2018
During National Week of Conversation, Americans from all over the country will take a small step to help bridge the political divides in our country. They will do this by reaching out to people who have different political views and engaging them in civil and respectful conversation about the future of our nation. The goal of these conversations is to help people learn from each other, build relationships and look for ways to reduce the growing polarization in our public life.
National Week of Conversation is a unique opportunity for Americans of different views to talk with each other and, more importantly, really listen to each other.
What is National Week of Conversation?
National Week of Conversation (NWOC) will take place during the week of April 20-28, 2018 in communities all across the country. During this week, Americans from many different backgrounds and perspectives will be invited to spend time in conversation with those who have different political views than themselves. These conversations will take place one on one or in small groups where the emphasis will be on carefully listening to each other. The goal of the conversations will be to help people learn from each other, build relationships and identify specific things that can be done to bridge the many divisions in our country.
NWOC is sponsored by several organizations which promote dialogue and encourage cooperation across ideological or political differences including the Bridge Alliance, Listen First Project, Living Room Conversations, AllSides, the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) and the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD).
Why Is It Needed Now?
More than 75% of Americans say they now believe that the lack of civility and respect in our country has reach a crisis level. Our society can thrive when people have divergent views on important issues, but the health of our democracy is threatened if the majority of people have disdain or contempt for those on the other side. The best antidote to our current divisions is to provide opportunities for healthy conversation where listening and learning take precedent over arguing and disagreement. NWOC is a chance to take a stand for civility and respect in public discourse and also expand personal understanding. In good conversation--and the relationships they build--there is hope for bridging the divides that threaten the fabric of America.
What Can You Do?
As part of NWOC, NICD's Initiative to Revive Civility will promote conversations which invite people across the country to talk about what can be done to reduce polarization and improve the tone of the upcoming 2018 elections. Interested individuals will be encouraged to have at least one in depth conversation during the week (and more if possible) with someone who they think has significantly different views about how to deal with the major issues facing our country.
Most of these conversations will take place in one-on-one meetings, but some small groups of people with diverse political views may also want to set aside time for their own conversations. These conversations may happen over coffee, during the day in an office, at lunch, or after work. The conversation will focus on Five Questions for Americans that NICD suggests we discuss as we enter this election year.
Among other things, the conversation will discuss what specific things individuals, media and politicians can do to make our political dialogue more positive during the 2018 elections. Simple feedback from each conversation will be collected so that the responses to the Five Questions can be tallied and the common ideas which emerge can be clearly identified.
How Do I Sign Up?
Follow these steps to participate in NWOC:
- Sign up here and pledge your intention to participate in National Week of Conversation. This step is important so you receive helpful information about NWOC.
- Download a copy of the sample conversation on the Five Questions for Americans.
- Identify and invite one person to join you in a conversation during NWOC. The person you invite should be someone you think has significantly different views than you about how to approach the major issues facing America. If you want, you can also set up a small group conversation that involves people of different views. For suggestions on how to find a conversation partner, click here. For suggestions on how to set up a small group, click here.
- Meet during NWOC (April 20-28, 2017) for one or more conversations on the Five Questions for Americans.
- Take five minutes to report on your conversation here.