Listen First event in Charlottesville to support community healing and inspire nation (press release)


Listen First event in Charlottesville to support community healing and inspire nation

Main event at Sprint Pavilion on Saturday, April 21st will feature panels of local and national civic leaders focused on prioritizing listening and understanding of the other.

Charlottesville, Virginia—Listen First Project is hosting a weekend of events April 20-22 to support the continued healing and reconciliation in Charlottesville. We hope to inspire America toward mending our frayed social fabric by bridging divides with conversations that prioritize understanding of the other.

“The horrific events of last summer continue to have a profound, personal impact on the Charlottesville community. They also epitomize the depth of division affecting communities coast to coast,” said Pearce Godwin, founder of Listen First Project and organizer of Listen First in Charlottesville. “Increasingly in America today, I don’t just disagree with you; I distrust, dislike, even despise you because we see the world differently. Whether you see last summer’s headline-grabbing events as an aberration or an illumination of long-standing fractures, a dangerous trend is clear and must be addressed, together.”

“There is hope for writing new headlines and painting a starkly different picture for Charlottesville and America in 2018. At Listen First in Charlottesville, we’ll turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division by starting new conversations that bridge divides—move from 'us vs. them' to 'me and you.' With conversations—and the relationships they build—we can mend the frayed fabric of our local communities, realize the change that is still needed, and revitalize America."

Agenda Details continued on page 2

Listen First in Charlottesville, presented by the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, will begin Friday, April 20th with Village Square & Connect Cville Challenge inviting the public to host or attend diverse Charlottesville Dinners for enriching conversation with people not in their usual circles. Following dinner, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary will perform a free concert at The Haven (8:30pm).

On Saturday afternoon, April 21st, the main event at Sprint Pavilion (1-5:30pm) will feature Listen First Conversations which prioritize understanding the other among panels of local and national influencers as well as personal conversations amongst all attendees that both enhance understanding and spark ideas for action, followed by inspiring keynotes. Conversation topics will include: Charlottesville's Historical Divisions and Fresh Wounds; Charlottesville Working to Heal and Progress; A Nation Divided; and Bridging Divides Across America.

Finally, on Sunday, April 22nd, members of the Listen First Coalition such as Living Room Conversations and Better Angels as well as local organizations such as Montpelier, Converge UVA, and Playback Theater will host opportunities to continue the conversations.

To see participants and learn more about the Listen First in Charlottesville weekend, visit

About Listen First Project

Listen First Project encourages conversations that prioritize understanding the other and inspires hope for a stronger society one Listen First Pledge and Conversation at a time. LFP drives the Listen First movement to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides. The Listen First movement is promoted coast to coast by 60+ organizational members of our Listen First Coalition as well as local Listen First programs in schools, communities, and workplaces.


For media inquiries and interviews, contact Stephen Kent.
Phone: (336) 239-9075