The Braver Angels of Our Nature

The Coronavirus is challenging everyone in our movement to find creative ways to carry on the vital work of revitalizing the fabric of America. At Living Room Conversations, we stand in solidarity with the rich constellation of organizations doing this work, because it’ll take all of us working together to build the America we long to be.

One of our valued colleagues, Better Angels, a bipartisan grassroots organization dedicated to confronting political polarization, has recently become Braver Angels. Many Living Room Conversations hosts and organizers are also involved in Braver Angels, as our work to build  understanding across differences is complementary.

John Wood, Jr., Director of Public Outreach at Braver Angels

We recently spoke with John Wood, Jr., Director of Public Outreach at Braver Angels, about what this new name represents, and how it symbolizes an important step forward in our shared mission.

Rising to the better angels of our nature means recognizing the inherent dignity of every person. But being a braver angel means understanding just how hard it is to stand up to our allies when they dehumanize our opponent.

As better angels, we treat others with empathetic kindness. As braver angels, we summon the fortitude to listen to dissenting views and the humility to suspend judgement.

Empathy and courage. Better and braver.

Strong back, soft front.

As a student of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beloved community, John learned that an internal transformation of the heart often precedes policy or system changes. John believes that conversation supports that inner transformation. “Living Room Conversations generate the conditions and relationships necessary to fulfill the American promise of inclusion,” John says.

The Coronavirus exposes our vulnerability and our interconnectedness. Now more than ever, the Braver Angels and Living Room Conversations communities have an opportunity and responsibility to lead from where we are. We’ve practiced building authentic connections and mutually affirming relationships.

We are the change we’ve been waiting for.

Better. Braver.  All in this together.

Shannon Mannon
Newsletter Editor