Making a Difference
We are so proud of the work of our many volunteers to help bridge the political divide.
We encourage you to share these stories with your networks, to show how Braver Angels' volunteers are making a difference in their world.
Braver Partners initiative in New Hampshire
St. Andrews Episcopal Church of New London, NH celebrates its sixth Braver Angels event. A depolarizing within workshop on April 23 attracted 40 community members. This rural church has been at the leading edge of the Braver Partners initiative since they were originally contacted by Braver Angels leader, Rev. Mark Beckwith.
"I have to admit that in times past, I have taken great joy in wielding my 'culture warrior sword'. I’m losing my taste for it now. I’ve resolved to make charity and gentleness into a cloak I can wear always. Sadly, wearing that cloak is a little against my nature. An organization called Braver Angels is helping me in my journey away from being a 'culture warrior'." Click on the link above to read more about Jim Heffernan's journey.
Braver Angels working on building trust to bridge the divide
Bill Doherty, a co-founder of Braver Angels and experienced family therapist and professor from the University of Minnesota recently described the work in a keynote speech and workshops at the Washington State Association of Counties leadership conference the week of November 14. Check out this opinion piece by Sue Lani Madsen, one of the local BA leaders there, about these events.
What Liberals Miss about Conservatives
Paul Norris, who helps lead Braver Angels' Red Caucus, convened an all-red panel to discuss what liberals, academia, and the mainstream media miss about conservatives. This Braver Angels podcast, aired on November 14, 2022, featured Mark Reinecke, Elizabeth Doll, and Barbara Farmer. Check it out here.
High School workshop to over 400 seniors: How to Deal with Difficult Conversations
Six Braver Angels moderators (Dan Emerry, Randy Freeman, Dave Greene, Stan Koehler, Melinda Marshall, and Sara Silver) worked to put on a very successful day of workshops entitled, "How to Deal with Difficult Conversations" with the seniors of JFK High School, in Plainview-Old Bethpage LI, New York. There were over 400 seniors who participated. Dave Greene and Sara Silver did the amazing organizing of this event, which could not have been pulled off without them.
The picture below is from one of the rooms.
Karl Schmalz and Norman Kaderlan, conservative and liberal, are Braver Angels co-chairs and "genuine friends who can talk politics in the car without driving each other crazy." As noted in the article published in the Austin American-Statesman on April 20, 2022, "They’ve been working on the skills they preach, and they stand as proof that there is a path back from the fierce polarization gripping our country." Check out this story on their work and relationship here.
Braver Angels Action Team within Citizens' Climate Lobby
Two Braver Angels (Beth Malow & Bruce Morlan), who also lead a Braver Angels Action Team within Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), were recently featured on RepublicEN. Their EcoRight podcast can be accessed HERE.
The CCL Braver Angels Action Team also sponsored an in-person workshop at the CCL June Conference in Washington, DC. In this “Fishbowl-style” workshop, “Communications Across the Political Divide- from Polarizing to Partnership,” three Red CCL panelists and three Blue CCL panelists provided their perspectives. Panelists talked about their life experiences, along with why their conservative/liberal side’s values and policies are good for the mission of CCL, and any reservations or concerns they had about how their side might impact climate advocacy. The audience then broke into small groups and came back together in a large group share to discuss what they observed. It was a powerful workshop to moderate. The panelists and audience recognized the importance of avoiding letting contempt and personal judgment slip into our arguments. One of the panelists commented on how she came away “with a deeper empathy for others and a greater sense of shared emotions regardless of views.” Photos from the workshop are HERE
There is much potential in embedding Braver Angels' work in our faith communities. See the example here of work being done in an Episcopal church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Harry Boyte, a Braver Angels volunteer, shared this with us.
Jeff Spitzer's presentation on Braver Angels for international Toastmaster's competition
Check out Jeff Spitzer's 7-minute "Depolarizing Within" presentation for the Toastmasters' International competition. It's a great presentation, demonstrating the importance of civil dialogue in these times.
Jeff made it through the first four levels of the contest, winning the District 7 championship.
Thank you, Jeff, for your work with Braver Angels as the Red State Coordinator for Oregon, and for continuing to spread the message of depolarization wherever you are!