The 2020 election is over. And whether you voted one way or another, people across the nation are coming together — believe it or not — to listen and get to know one another despite their differences.
LA Times City Beat Columnist Nita Lelyveld discovered various organizations that are working together to start a national conversation and find common ground. One of those organizations is the Listen First Coalition. "This organization came out of one person, Pearce Godwin, who was working in various political jobs in Washington and became very frustrated about these very same things, like by the fact that family members fell out because of these divisions. He saw so much anger being caused by people's different political points of view. Godwin started something called national conversation week, where one week a year, there would be events all over the country for people from all walks of life to have deep conversations. When he started this project, he realized there were already other organizations doing similar things. So he thought it would be so much stronger to try and build a movement by bringing them all together," said Lelyveld.
Another organization Lelyveld mentions is called Make America Dinner Again. "I love the name! And this is a west coast group that two friends started in San Francisco when President Trump was elected in 2016. These two women were upset and blindsided by the news and realized they didn't know anyone who voted for Trump. They felt like they should know people of different political views. They also felt upset with the way they were feeling — they were feeling such anger and bitterness, and wanted to take that load off by talking to people a getting to know them," added Lelyveld.
Furthermore, there is a faith-based organization called One America Movement. "For example, this organization gets churches and synagogues to come together to work on a project of mutual concern to them. Some of the projects people bring up show that they have a lot in common. One of the things that kept coming up in conversations about the opioid crisis. These are the kind of issues that should be common ground for many people where they can come together and talk about what they agree and disagree on," said Lelyveld.
The Undivided Nation features a family that in 2018 got into an RV and traveled across America to get to know people and discuss issues that impacted them. "The husband David Leaverton worked in Republican politics and was upset by the fact that there were no good conversations about any issues. So he went out to discover America by talking to different people all over the country. Then the whole family's view changed in the process. One of the things David told me about this is that he came from a privileged background. He came from a White life where he thought everyone in America had a tremendous opportunity. But he went out and started meeting people very different from himself of other races and experiences, and realized that wasn't the case and that he had it all wrong. He acknowledged that he did not know about these different experiences because he did not talk to other people who were different from him," added Lelyveld.
For more information on the organizations and ways to get involved, visit latimes.com/nita.