Bridge the Divide
We see and hear about it every day, on the news, online, perhaps even in our own communities: America is divided. We’re divided by race, politics, class, gender, and more. Most of us are wondering what went wrong. And what we can do about it.
Van Jones believes that only way you fight hate is with love, and that the best and most important thing we can do right now is to come together—in every community, all across the country. And he dreamed up a nationwide tour to help us do just that. We joined Van when the We Rise tour came to Miami and were inspired by what we saw.
Time to Rise
At this fraught moment in our history, the We Rise tour feels like more than an event, more than catharsis, more than a rally, and definitely more than a simple night out on the town: it feels necessary. At each stop Van brings out musicians, athletes, celebrities, activists, and local legends to highlight and emphasize the things we have in common. Instead of focusing on our disagreements, we get a chance, finally, to rally around what unites us—inspired by peace, respect, and love.
We Rise invites all of us to get to know each other as real people, as members of one big and diverse American community. We know that if we talk to each other, listen to each other, and stand together, we can overcome our divisions and differences and make meaningful, lasting change. Because our strength as a country lies in our diversity.
Community, Unity, Love, and Respect
There’s something incredibly powerful about being in the same room with hundreds of other people looking to talk and connect: no screens, no comment thread, just good old-fashioned eye contact and a whole lot of listening and sharing.
Here were some of the highlights of the night:
- Van opened the evening with a quiet meditation on Charlottesville, setting the tone for the night and providing clear evidence that our nation needs to come together now more than ever.
- Umi Selah of Dream Defenders spoke powerfully about the efforts underway in Florida to ensure that former felons re-enter society as full citizens, which includes being able to vote. And he led the crowd in a call-and-response that got everybody on their feet.
- Victory Boyd left us all awestruck with her singing.
- We loved the electric energy ofthe big, beautiful, diverse crowd, everyone there eager to find a way forward and work together, to carry the hope and optimism they felt this evening back home to their own communities.
United We Stand
As Reverend William Barber has said, “Our true greatness lies in our determination to see our common cause, join hands, and move forward together.” In Miami, Van told us that the time to come together and act is now. After the terror in Charlottesville and the president’s painfully inadequate response, we can’t afford to be turned against each other. The way we respond to the divisions in our country, and to those who would divide us, will determine what kind of society we live in.
We’re all Founders, Van said. Our country wasn’t made 200 years ago; it’s being made every day. Every one of us gets the chance every day to make this country great, to close the gap between the sometimes ugly reality and the beauty of the American dream.
So catch We Rise if it comes to your city. But better yet, act on its spirit and message right now.
- Share a meal with someone whose views differ from your own.
- Check out our article “10 Ways You Can Combat Hate.”
- Consider a donation to Dream Corps, the nonprofit behind the We Rise Tour.
- Help us create a democracy where every American has a voice by signing our petition to restore the Voting Rights Act.
- Hug a stranger.
We all want justice and freedom and fairness. And if we stand united today, inspired by all the things we as Americans have in common, then we’ll make that beautiful American dream a reality for all.