Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides

Reaching Across the Divide (Essential Partners)

Talking Politics (Living Room Conversations)

United or Divided (Living Room Conversations)

Bridging the Political Divide (National Institute for Civil Discourse)

A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want? (National Issues Forums)

Bridging Divides Conversations

Wednesday, April 08, 2020 at 01:30 PM EDT
Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, NC

Better Angels: Skills Workshop – Chapel Hill, NC

This 2 1/2 hour workshop is designed to enhance your ability to have civil conversations in the current charged political environment.

About this Event

Provide you with the knowledge of what it takes to have constructive, non-polarizing conversations between people who disagree politically

Give you the chance to practice the skills to have these conversations

Motivate you to have these conversations with people in your social network


Saturday, April 11, 2020 at 11:30 AM EDT

Better Angels: Skills Workshop- Franklin, TN

Practice discussing climate change with those who disagree with you.

About this Event

Can’t share what’s really on your mind? Worried about Climate Change? Polarized conversation doesn’t help. Learn to have respectful, constructive conversations. Practice clarifying differences, seeking common ground, and affirming relationships.

This is for anyone seeking better conversations with those across the aisle.



Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 01:30 PM EDT
Passmore Center in Hillsborough, NC

Better Angels: Skills Workshop – Hillsborough, NC

Learn to listen to and dialogue with people you disagree with politically!

About this Event

There's a lot of stress these days among family members and friends who are divided politically, and the current polarized public conversation doesn't help. Please join us for a Better Angels Skills Workshop to learn skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship.

After a presentation, you will have an opportunity to practice listening and speaking skills. You will practice in a pair with someone of your same political persuasion—red or blue. “Reds” lean conservative and tend to vote Republican. “Blues” lean liberal and tend to vote Democratic. If you fall somewhere in the middle, you can choose a side for purposes of practicing the skills.

Who can come? Anyone interested in having better conversations with people on the other side of the political aisle.



Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 01:30 PM EDT

Better Angels: Depolarizing Within Workshop – West Chester, PA

Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 12:45 PM EDT
Unity of Melbourne in Melbourne, FL

Better Angels: Depolarizing Within Workshop – Melbourne, FL

Can we be critical without demonizing, dismissing, and stereotyping those who disagree with us politically?

About this Event

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies.

This free, three-hour workshop helps participants become more aware of their own "inner polarizer." It teaches how to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population. And it offers strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Who can come? Anyone interested in examining their own inner polarization.

Questions? Contact Julie Mallisturner:



Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 10:00 AM PDT
New Path Center, Inc. in Kingsburg, CA

Better Angels: Day-long Red/Blue Workshop – Kingsburg, CA

Saturday, May 02, 2020 at 12:45 PM PDT

Better Angels: Skills Workshop – Forest Grove, OR

Thursday, May 07, 2020 at 12:00 PM PDT
Sandy Library in Sandy, OR

Better Angels Skills Workshop-Sandy, OR

Contact Cynthia O'Brian ( for more information.

Friday, July 17, 2020 at 09:00 AM EDT

Make Shift Training: How to facilitate conversation across the political divide.