Braver Angels National Convention in Gettysburg, PA

July 5-8, 2023

Eighteen delegates from across Illinois represented the Land of Lincoln at the Braver Angels National Convention in Gettysburg, PA.  The convention was held July 5-8, just days after the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

You can learn more about what the Illinois delegation did at and took home from the convention by reading the state recap here.

The national campaign for civic renewal, Rise for America, was announced at the convention, including five actions you can take to forward our mission.  Here in Illinois, the action we want to encourage is becoming a trained debate chair, moderator, organizer, and Zoom event manager.  

Constituent Conversations with Sen. Faraci & Rep. Marron

June 28, 2023

Almost 50 people came to Rantoul Township High School on June 28 to take part in the first Braver Politics Constituent Conversation in all of Illinois.  

Two elected state officials, Sen. Paul Faraci (a Democrat) and Rep. Mike Marron (a Republican) heard from their constiuents about their concerns regarding the extreme polarization in our politics and our community, and then the discussion turned to workforce development in northern Champaign and Vermillion Counties.

The event was full of respectful conversation by participants from across the political spectrum.  Following the event, feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many wanting to see similar gatherings across the area in the future.

Here is some local media coverage in the lead up to the event and then post-event.

If you would like to watch some of the action, the raw footage from the entire event is online here.

Skills for Bridging the Divide

June 11, 2023

There can be a lot of stress among people who are divided politically.

People who wanted to connect better with the people in their lives, across political differences, attended to share a catered meal, chat with neighbors, and study communication skills for polarized times. They learned and practiceed having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship.

This event helped people to:

Indivisible Rural Illinois

May 4, 2023

After hearing about Braver Angels at our Champaign event, Indivisible Rural Illinois leaders extended a warm invitation to present at their May meeting about lowering the temperature of our political conversations. We highlighted our Being Blue in a Red Environment workshop, in addition to our Being Red in a Blue Environment workshop. (Video of the presentation is HERE.)

Bridging Our Divides: Lunch, Documentary, and Discussion at Eden United Church of Christ in Chicago

April 23, 2023

Attendees were invited to learn about Braver Angels and meet some of Illinois' leaders. They enjoyed a 50-minute documentary about Braver Angels, followed by discussion and a lunch catered by the church. 

The documentary -- Braver Angels: Reuniting America -- shows 8 Democratic-leaning voters and 7 Republican-leaning voters moving through a Braver Angels signature Red/Blue workshop, from initial skepticism to more profound understanding and empathy. Viewers got an inside look at how a Democratic voter went from threatening to cut off relationships with Trump voters to becoming dear friend with one—and how a Republican voter moved from disdaining progressives to taking a co-leadership role with one in a movement that now spans the country.


Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference 

April 13-16

Braver Angels Illinois introduced political scientists and students to Braver Angels, promoted use of our College Debates and Discourse program on campuses, and offered ways to depolarize campuses and the public by getting involved in Braver Angels. 

The conference brought in a few thousand political scientists from coast to coast. Braver Angels volunteers fielded requests for information about training to be B.A. moderators and debate chairs, as well as how to bring B.A.'s College Debate Program to campuses.

Chicago Alliance Meet 'n Greet

March 25, 2023

Roughly 30 people -- both BA members and those interested in BA -- gathered to learn about the new Chicago Alliance. After socializing, Chicago Alliance co-chairs Svetlana Bekman and Brian Padden gave a presentation in which they outlined the formation of BA, its efforts to date, and the array of opportunities for members. It was a wonderful way for current and prospective members to meet in real time and experience the energy behind the depolarization movement.

Braver Angels at College of Dupage 

In Glen Ellyn

Braver Angels moderators completed a Skills for Bridging the Divide workshop with political science students in Professor (and Braver Angel) Maureen Heffern Ponicki’s class. This was the second semester of our involvement at College of DuPage. These workshops are part of a broader Braver Angels’ effort to bring the skills of depolarization to college students.

Building a House United: A Local 

Conversation In the Land of Lincoln

February 15, 2023

Post-Event Happy Hour Featuring East Central Alliance and BA Co-Founder Bill Doherty

To view a video of the town hall, Click HERE.

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA Roughly 200 attendees gathered at a town hall to discuss Building a House United in the campus and community. See the video HERE (panelists begin at 18:36). 

Organized by the BA of East Central Illinois Alliance and sponsored by the University of Illinois Vice Chancellor's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the  featured panelists were Bill Doherty Co-founder of Braver Angels and Professor, Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota Twin Cities; Scott Althaus Director of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research, Merriam Professor, Department of Political Science; Ken E. Salo Clinical Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, expertise in global justice centering on South African transition; and Colleen Murphy Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, Professor of Philosophy and of Political Science. Moderators Matt Hausman (BA State Coordinator for Illinois - Red) and Chuck Stone (BA State Coordinator for Illinois - Blue) kept discussion flowing with questions from the audience.

At this campus-community event, attendees were able to ask questions of panelists, sign up to attend upcoming Alliance meetings, and apply to become BA moderators.

The League of Women Voters of Champaign County co-sponsored the event. Two organizers were LWV and B.A. members Sara Kelley and Carol Bosley

The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette also co-sponsored the event. To view guest columns by Colleen Murphy, Matt Hausman and Chuck Stone, click HERE.

Braver Angels Zoom Alliance Lunch

January 14, 2023

Zoom Statewide Alliance

Members of the statewide Zoom Alliance met in person to socialize and discuss all things Braver Angels.

State Coordinator's Corner

With the midterm elections (mostly) behind us, we are looking ahead to how Braver Angels in Illinois can promote civility and respect in our political discourse in 2023 and beyond.   This website is one early step, and we hope to improve it and have semi-regular posts here so we can keep all of our members across the state informed about what is happening here and around the country.  

Stay tuned!

-Chuck & Matt

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