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10 Tools to Bridge Divides Around the Election

Illustrations taken from the Bridging Differences Playbook by the Greater Good Science Center

The democratic process is underway across the country, and standing up for a free and fair election has never been more important.  Even as we get out the vote and support a fair election process, we must also ask ourselves:  who do we want to be the day after the election?  How will we build a more united country in this divided time?

Below are some of IFYC’s favorite resources from our partner organizations supporting precisely this work. These tools can be useful in a variety of contexts – individually, in a religious community, in a classroom, or in a workplace. You could use some of these resources to support a generative group discussion or a kick-off one-on-one conversation, or just focus on personal skill-building.

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No matter what you do, keep focused on the question of healing – where do you see deep divides in our country?  How can you help bridge those divisions?

  1. StoryCorps ConnectStoryCorps has developed a fantastic tool to record a StoryCorps interview digitally with anyone you choose.  Designed to support StoryCorps conversations during the pandemic, this resource allows you to select and conduct a face-to-face conversation while saving it to the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress.  StoryCorps also provides guides and tips to ensure a strong, relational conversation. 
  2. Braver Angels, With Malice Towards NoneWith Malice Towards None is Braver Angels’ initiative to heal America in the aftermath of the election.  The goal is to create spaces for people to process their reactions around the election with a focus on healing.  Register your intention to host a conversation, and Braver Angels will supply you with templates, talking points, and training to facilitate a productive event.
  3. On Being Podcast LibrariesOn Being has curated a set of thematic podcast libraries, allowing you to engage their meaningful conversations anchored around particular topics.  While some libraries focus on politics and civil conversations, others explore different issues that might be implicated by the election, including race & healing, economic values, and moral imagination.  These conversations can be a reflective opportunity for you – or a jumping-off point for common conversation using On Being’s Better Conversations guide.
  4. The People’s Supper virtual guideThe People’s Supper was founded after the 2016 election to create healing, relationship-building spaces for people to come together.  Since 2017, over 10,000 people have sat down together in over 100 cities for these conversations focused on repairing our civic breaches. This new virtual guide provides guidance and support in planning and implementing a virtual People’s Supper event. 
  5. One America Movement’s Election Series:  Hosted every Wednesday at 4pm through November 18, these open house conversations are designed for faith and lay leaders concerned by the risk to our democracy in these difficult times.  Join the conversations to experience an expert voice, a short training from One America staff, and open time for conversations and networking among participants. 
  6. Fostering Dialogue Across Divides guide from Essential Partners:  This free resource provides an in-depth introduction to Essential Partners’ approach to community dialogue and facilitation.  Sharing insight from veteran practitioners, this toolkit provides general guidance as well as concrete advice for people looking to convene, plan, and facilitate productive discussions around divisive issues. 
  7. Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences Playbook:  This essential tool provides practical, research-backed guidance for successful bridgebuilding work.  The playbook lays out ways to cultivate Internal practices, like mindfulness, and external practices, like listening with compassion, to build relationships successfully.
  8. Resetting the Table’s documentary Purple: America, We Need to Talk: After decades of success working on conflict resolution in the Middle East, Resetting the Table has turned their approach to navigating division in the US context.  Their new documentary Purple: America, We Need to Talk explores America’s divergent viewpoints and discovering the real concerns behind those issues. Their discussion guide can provide guidance on planning and facilitating a discussion of the film.
  9. Weaving Community’s mapThis map helps track weaving conversations that are happening across the country.  Check it out to look for something to connect with personally, or add your own event/conversation to the map to join the movement. 

IFYC is always eager to hear about your work – please share your stories on the action and conversations you take when bridging divides in the next few weeks and months!

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.