This is one of those weeks that you're likely to never forget.
We need to face it: since the protests, hatred, and violence in Charlottesville, our society has erupted in division. All week, news articles and social newsfeeds have put a spotlight on our desperate need to listen to one another—to have difficult conversations. Some activists have taken strong measures to get their voices heard. Check out this list of monuments that have been defaced or destroyed in recent days:
- Arizona: Jefferson Davis Memorial
- Florida: Confederate Memorial Park
- Georgia: The Peace Monument
- Illinois: Bust of Abraham Lincoln
- Massachusetts: New England Holocaust Memorial
- North Carolina: Confederate Soldiers Monument, Duke Chapel Robert E. Lee Statue
- Philadelphia: Frank Rizzo Statue
- Virginia: Confederate Soldiers Statue
Regardless of your position on these monuments, we believe conversations are preferable to violence and illegal behavior. We've seen not only confederate monuments targeted but also a Holocaust memorial and a monument to peace.
As Duke University's Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta reflected, "this week we also witnessed the vandalism of a Holocaust memorial in Boston, and, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I can't avoid making a connection between the two actions. Can we think of one as activism and the other as vandalism? Some would argue we can and should, but I'm not able to accept that reasoning."
You cannot punch, kill and deface your way to understanding and civil discourse. We believe the Listen First Project was created for such a time as this. Our country is enormously polarized, and a lot of us are waiting for something to be done to help heal our nation and restore civil discourse.
Friend, who better than you to face this problem and start a movement to listen first?
I want to ask you to consider taking two actions over this weekend in support of our movement to Listen First:
- LISTEN: Think of a specific person right now who you disagree with. Can you commit to reaching out to them this weekend, and actively listening to them? Here are some guidelines we came up with to help you have a Listen First Conversation.
- SUPPORT: The Listen First Project exists because we know a stable society cannot exist without civil discourse in the public square. We provide events, tools, and campaigns to raise awareness for civil discourse between neighbors, but we're nothing without you. Can you make a $10, $25, or $50 donation towards supporting our needed movement?