“I am an environmental scientist. Growing up in Maine, my family were all Democrats.”

“The hard work of my parents’ generation allowed my generation to get a college education – that was the American dream I grew up with. At the same time, I’ve seen how communities in northern New England that relied on manufacturing jobs to provide a middle-class lifestyle have suffered in the past 25 years, and feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to college and become a scientist.”

“Braver Angels got its start in 2017 with the fundamental belief that if we’re going to move our country forward, we need to overcome political divisiveness and depolarize the political environment in our communities.”

“It’s really about people agreeing to have respectful conversations with others whose political opinions differ from theirs, to develop an understanding of where their neighbors are coming from – to recognize people’s humanity and get rid of the labels and the demonization political discourse is filled with in our society today.”

“I’ll admit it’s not always easy, but that’s something I can commit to.”

“Our group has now grown to more than 200 people in just the last few months, we continue to welcome new members to participate in our events and meetings.”

“Our ‘Red/Blue Workshops’ bring together an equal number of people who identify as either red or blue, for a weekend of structured conversation and listening exercises.

“[W]e are not coming together to try to persuade people to change their political opinion… The goal of these 2-day workshops is to build mutual respect between folks on either side of the political spectrum and to re-humanize people we see as political opponents.”

“We live in – as I call it – the Whack-A-Mole era: if you can’t defend your political opinion with an encyclopedic knowledge of facts, figures, and citations to back it up, then someone with a different opinion will ‘whack you over the head’ railing on and on about how wrong, stupid or naïve you are.”

“I’ve spoken to many people who are reluctant to share their thoughts or opinions for fear of getting ‘whacked.’ That’s not healthy for our communities.”

“Instead, we need to be extending goodwill toward each other, finding common ground, so we can build an understanding of where each of us is coming from.”

“That’s what Braver Angels really works to make possible. From there, the sky is the limit as to what we can accomplish.”

Lisa Coté
Braver Angels Alliance of Northern New England

To learn more or get involved, please visit braverangels.org. The Braver Angels Alliance of Northern New England is hosting a virtual meeting on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m., you may register and join at bit.ly/3nIoii9.