No matter your political views, race, or religion, we should all agree that the scenes of fists flying and bloodied faces in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend were deeply disturbing.
This kind of personal hatred and violence is a disgrace to the United States of America. It is not what has made us the most successful country on Earth. As I wrote on a bus in Africa back in 2013, if we hope for a healthy, prosperous nation we cannot continue to vilify our neighbors because they see the world differently. Yet we still do, and now worse.
A woman lost her life amidst a racially charged clash of ideas – a casualty of the incivility that is destroying the fabric of American society. We have become so blinded by the polarization and tribalization of our communities that we see other human beings as threats to be despised and defeated.
That tragic story can be what lives on from Charlottesville – the latest in a string of overheated clashes across the country – or we can begin to write a different story for America. We need our country to have a new and open conversation that starts with listening first.
Listen First Project wants to write that new story, one of restoring humanity and civility to our conversations and our protests. And we believe the first chapter of that story should be written in Charlottesville.
We want to host a huge Listen First Conversation Event in Charlottesville. Imagine individuals who have significant disagreements pledging to listen to one another and having civil conversations where violent protesters were fighting, and killing. Instead of clubs, we’ll bring conversations; instead of punches, a pledge – to listen to and consider another person’s views, to prioritize respect and understanding. Instead of lashing out, imagine opponents Listening First!
Will you choose this turnaround story for Charlottesville and every other community in America?
Our country needs this. However, these events are expensive, and we need your financial support to make it possible. Would you consider making a $5, $10, $25, or $50 donation towards helping us host a Listen First Conversation Event in Charlottesville?
Listen First has the power to restore relationships, build bridges, and mend the frayed fabric of American society. That difficult process of rebuilding should start in Charlottesville.
Pearce Godwin, Listen First Project Founder & CEO, released the following statements in response to the tragedy in Charlottesville: