Five years ago today, Listen First Project came alive. I had written a blog—"It's Time to Listen"—in Africa before returning home and was amazed to see such a simple message resonate through major newspapers all over America. So we launched Listen First Project to translate those words into action and make an impact on society. One year ago, the tragedy in Charlottesville compelled us to focus on this mission full-time.
Over the last five years and especially the past 12 months momentum has grown to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides with conversations that prioritize listening first to understand. It's been recognized in reporting that we're "taking heroic steps to get people to talk to each other," descriptions of us as the "heart of bridging divides," and coverage in USA Today and New York Times. Our strategy has always been collaborative to make the greatest possible impact, for which 97 organizations have joined the Listen First Coalition! The #ListenFirst hashtag, adopted for April's National Week of Conversation, has reached millions of people. And now we're taking the #ListenFirst movement to much greater heights by aligning and amplifying 100+ efforts to bridge divides across the country into a mainstream National Conversation Project launching in October! I hope you'll join this unprecedented effort as a Hosting Partner or Sustaining Member.
Past Year Highlights
- The first National Week of Conversation—based on #ListenFirst—engaged 130 partner organizations hosting thousands of conversations across divides in 32 states.
- We're now launching and leading an ongoing National Conversation Project to mainstream conversations across divides with monthly events coast to coast.
- Our first large-scale event, Listen First in Charlottesville, brought local and national leaders together across divides, inspired change, and was featured in national media including the New York Times.
- The #ListenFirst hashtag reached millions and was promoted by celebrities, journalists, and politicians as we recognized influential Listen First Leaders across the country.
- We launched Business Recognition and Training programs.
- Our columns and interviews appeared in print, radio, podcast, and television nationwide, and were shared by thousands of people.
- The Listen First Pledge earned thousands more signatures.
- We expanded the Top 10 Tips for Listen First Conversations.
- We began designing programs for Listen First Schools.
- Listen First Coalition membership skyrocketed to 97 aligned organizations.
- We expanded internationally with chapters and engagements in the Netherlands, Uganda, and Japan.
Thank you for championing #ListenFirst in your community as we revitalize America together!
Founder & CEO, Listen First Project
Director, National Conversation Project