The Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse is proud to be a Coalition Member of the #ListenFirst Project.
Seeing an escalating crisis of toxic polarization and believing the best way to turn the tide is by working together, four bridging organizations (Listen First Project, Village Square, Living Room Conversations, and National Institute for Civil Discourse) created the #ListenFirst Coalition in 2017 to aggregate, align, and amplify many diffuse bridging efforts to reach farther and impact greater than any one of us could alone.
In 2018, more than 100 partner organizations created the first annual National Week of Conversation (NWOC). The Coalition has powered NWOC annually each year, which now kicks off with a galvanizing America Talks event to draw many more Americans into the bridging movement and the work of Coalition partners. The Coalition responded to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic with a year-long #WeavingCommunity campaign in 2020. In 2021, leading Coalition partners stepped up their commitment to each other and to collective impact by launching cross-organization working groups focused on strategic imperatives for the bridging movement. This movement-shaping tier of the #ListenFirst Coalition is dubbed the Bridging Movement Alignment Council (BMAC).
Today, the #ListenFirst Coalition is a community of 400+ organizations (the bridging field) bringing Americans together across differences to listen, understand each other, and discover common interests. We seek to increase social cohesion — the strength of relationships and the sense of solidarity among members of the American community. By increasing our familiarity with, understanding of, and ability to respectfully relate to people different from ourselves, we can build a new foundation of trust and grace upon which shared humanity is recognized, violence is avoided, division doesn’t sell, common challenges are solved, and differences make our democracy and society healthy, robust and resilient. We work collectively to improve civic attitudes towards people and groups of different perspectives, increase bridge-building skills and behaviors, and reduce the potential for political violence.
The #ListenFirst Coalition welcomes any organization focused on bringing Americans together across differences. Check out the entire coalition here!