Listen First in Charlottesville:
Writing a New Story for America

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Regardless of your political views, race, or religion, the scenes of fists flying and bloodied faces in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 were deeply disturbing. This kind of personal hatred and violence is a disgrace to the United States of America and not what has made ours the most successful country on Earth. This internal scourge on our nation threatens the future of the United States. A healthy and vibrant society cannot survive amidst such attacks on the humanity of our fellow Americans. 

Our goal with this event is to write the first chapter of a new story for America, one of restoring humanity and civility to our conversations and our protests. To begin restoring relationships, building bridges, and mending the frayed fabric of society by teaching, modeling, and practicing Listen First in Charlottesvillewhere the collapse of civility in America was tragically put into stark relief. 


Listen First Project, the Listen First Coalition, and national leaders. 


1. An inspirational and educational message by Listen First Project Founder Pearce Godwin (Teach)

  1. The Listen First mission to restore civil discourse, encourage conversation towards increased respect and understanding, inspire hope and behavior change one Listen First Pledge and Conversation at a time.

  2. The Listen First Pledge

  3. The Listen First Conversation Guidelines

  4. How to join the Listen First movement

2. Listen First Conversations among national leaders to model civil discourse and inspire change (Model)

Confirmed Desire to Participate

Host: Pearce Godwin - Founder, Listen First Project

Alicia Garza - Co-founder, Black Lives Matter

Christian Picciolini - Co-founder, Life after Hate

Bob Goff - NY Times Best Selling Author of Love Does

Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer - Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse

David Nevins - President, Bridge Alliance

Sandy Heierbacher - Founding Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Dr. Wes Bellamy - Charlottesville Vice-Mayor

Cissie Graham Lynch - Humanitarian, Samaritan's Purse

Jaymee Copenhaver - University of Virginia '16 & Writer, AllSides

Invited to Participate

President Barack Obama - 44th President of the United States of America

President George W. Bush - 43rd President of the United States of America

Sean Spicer - Former Press Secretary for President Donald Trump

Senator Tim Scott - U.S. Senator from South Carolina

Michael Signer - Charlottesville Mayor

Kathy Galvin - Charlottesville City Council Member

Dr. Alvin Edwards - Charlottesville Pastor

Teresa Sullivan - University of Virginia President

Krista Tippett - Host of On Being

Glenn Beck - Talk show host and political commentator

3. Rally for Civility: Listen First Conversations (Practice)

  1. All individuals in attendance pick one of a dozen suggested prominent and challenging topics on which to have a Listen First Conversation with a stranger on the spot
  2. Each person indicate their topic of interest by holding up a color-coded card distributed by volunteers
  3. Three 15-minute rounds of topical Listen First Conversations amongst the crowd
  4. Individuals give real-time feedback on their personal Listen First experience using NICD's Text, Talk, Revive Civility mobile platform
  5. Invite pairs of Listen First Conversation partners to share their personal Listen First experience from the stage
  6. Close by Pearce Godwin
    1. Encourage the spread of the Listen First movement into relationships, local communities, and social networks to restore civil discourse in America
    2. Invite attendees to continue holding Listen First Conversations in their communities in the form of Living Room Conversations, Jefferson Dinners, Free Listening on the street, or Text, Talk, Revive Civility
    3. Invite attendees to remain at venue to continue Listen First Conversations and speak with influencers

When & Where

November 2017

Sprint Pavilion in Charlottesville, Virginia

Event Partners