Welcome to the Braver Angels Pioneer Valley Alliance Website! We are one of 70+ Braver Angels Alliances working to depolarize America.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all….we must not be enemies. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
What is Polarization?
Disagreement is normal and healthy in a free society. In a democracy, each person has a special point of view to contribute. Polarization is what happens when we stop respecting each other and instead stereotype “the other side,” distrusting people we disagree with instead of getting to know each other as people. Polarization has been growing in our nation for at least 25 years; we now may be more polarized than any time since the Civil War. Many Americans no longer see their political opponents as wrong or misguided. They see them as enemies to defeat at all costs.
At Braver Angels we do not accept this division. We don’t think that extreme polarization is normal and we say NO to the breakdown of political and social life that it brings. Our work is about building civic trust in the USA. It is about bridging the divide between left and right. It is about challenging institutions to be better and building community together
What is Braver Angels?
We can’t wait for government leaders to fix the polarization that threatens us all - it’s up to citizens like you and me to take action. Many groups have formed to help citizens return to where we can reason together and treat each other with respect, even when we have different points of view. Braver Angels is special because we’re the group that’s developed easy-to-use guidelines to support civil conversations about things that matter. These guidelines are used in workshops and debates that bring people together throughout the country. Hundreds of people have been trained to lead these meetings and well over 1,000 workshops and debates have been held over the past 5 years. We know our meeting guidelines work; Braver Angels has increased membership from 12,000 to 22,000+ since November 2020, because people who attend its events keep coming back
What is a Braver Angels Alliance?
While Braver Angels is nationwide, the heart of our work happens at the local level through regional groups called Alliances. Braver Angels Alliances do whatever they want that fits with the Braver Angels mission of depolarizing America, and that is right for their community. All Braver Angels Alliances govern themselves consistent with the Braver Angels Way (see below.) Alliances have four types of activities:
Events: Alliances sponsor Braver Angels events in the local community. These include Workshops that provide a safe way for people to talk to each other even when they disagree; Skills workshops where participants learn useful ways to communicate; and Braver Angels Debates.
Discussions: Alliances often dive deeper into specific issues, to understand how citizens on the other side are thinking about the issue.
Policy Projects: Alliances may work on public policy issues that the group democratically agrees to work on. Typically these are issues where a local group could make a difference when reds and blues go public together, and where there is at least 75 percent support on both red and blue sides.
Other Activities: Local Alliances are free to be creative as long as their activities fit the Braver Angels Way (see below). For example: book clubs, picnics, joint letters to the editor, town halls, and media events, like inviting local politicians and media in to discuss how they can help advance the cause of depolarization. These are just some of the projects Alliances have worked on.
The Braver Angels Pledge
As individuals, we try to understand the other side’s point of view, even if we don’t agree with it.
In our communities, we engage those we disagree with, looking for common ground and ways to work together.
In politics, we support principles that bring us together rather than divide us.
The Braver Angels Way:
We state our views freely and fully, without fear.
We welcome opportunities to engage with those with whom we disagree.
We treat people who disagree with us with honesty and respect.
We seek to disagree accurately, avoiding exaggeration and stereotypes.
We look for common ground where it exists, and if possible, find way to work together.
We believe that all of us have blind spots and everyone is worth talking to.
We believe that, in disagreements, both sides share and learn. In Braver Angels, neither side is teaching the other or giving feedback on how to think or say things differently.
Our work ethic is citizen-leadership; our Alliances are all volunteer.
We’re guided by the Braver Angels Rule: At every level of organizational guidance, red and blue leaders are equally represented. Regarding race, ethnicity, and social and economic class, our constant striving is to be an organization that reflects the country we seek to serve.
Events & Contact
We look forward to meeting and connecting with you!
Find information about upcoming events on the Events page.
If you'd like to get involved with the Alliance or just get in touch, please fill out the Contact Form using the Contact tab and one of our volunteers will get back to you as soon as we can.