Builders Launches to Reduce Polarization, Promote Citizen-Led Solutions

Builders, a new nonprofit initiative, aims to combat polarization by promoting constructive dialogue and problem-solving among citizens with diverse views, with its first project, Citizen Solutions, bringing together individuals to find common ground on issues like gun violence and abortion rights. Led by a coalition of artistic, political, and philanthropic leaders, including Daniel Lubetzky, Liev Schreiber, Katie Couric, and Lonnie Ali, the initiative seeks to foster a culture of collaboration and shared values in an increasingly polarized political landscape." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the Builders initiative), the main entities involved (the leaders and participants), the context (the polarized political landscape), and the significant actions and implications (promoting constructive dialogue and problem-solving). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the diverse views and issues addressed by the initiative.

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Nitish Verma
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Builders Launches to Reduce Polarization, Promote Citizen-Led Solutions

Builders Launches to Reduce Polarization, Promote Citizen-Led Solutions

A new nonprofit initiative, Builders, has been launched to combat polarization and encourage citizens to work together to find solutions to pressing issues. The initiative is the brainchild of a coalition of artistic, political, and philanthropic leaders, including entrepreneur and philanthropist Daniel Lubetzky, actor Liev Schreiber, journalist Katie Couric, and director of the Muhammad Ali Center, Lonnie Ali.

Why this matters: The rise of polarization threatens the fabric of democratic societies, and initiatives like Builders can help mitigate its effects by promoting constructive dialogue and problem-solving. By fostering a culture of collaboration and shared values, Builders can contribute to a more inclusive and effective governance.

The first project under the Builders umbrella is Citizen Solutions, which brought together 11 Tennesseans with diverse views on gun rights to discuss potential recommendations to reduce gun violence. The group, known as the Tennessee 11, developed a slate of laws that could reduce gun violence in their state. One of the participants, Adam Luke, a licensed marriage and family therapist and self-described "educated redneck," said he wanted to represent the gun rights perspective and address the needs of those looking to curb gun violence.

The success of the Tennessee pilot project has led to the expansion of Citizen Solutions to Wisconsin, where it is currently working on finding common ground in the abortion debate. Builders will have four major components: Builders Media to produce digital content that challenges stereotypes and divisive narratives; Builders Toolkit to help educational institutions encourage critical thinking in their students; Builders Network to amplify the voices of those speaking out against extremism; and Citizen Solutions to bring people together to find solutions they can all support.

According to Lubetzky, "The problem is the way social media and cable news are turning everything into us versus them situations." Builders aims to counteract this by providing people with help on how to strengthen their thinking, process information, and solve problems rather than create animosity. Schreiber, reflecting on the play Doubt, noted, "What I loved about Doubt so much as a play was that it put forth the notion that if we can all slow down the algorithm a little bit... and admit that we know less than we think we know and try to educate ourselves, I think it can help."

Lonnie Ali emphasized the need to counter extremism, stating, "Extremists get up every morning with the intention of furthering their cause and they are driven to divide and destroy. We need to channel that same energy but to unite and build." Luke echoed this sentiment, saying, "If we can just start that social nudge for citizens to recognize we can talk about abortion rights, we can talk about immigration, we can talk about hard things... How about we come to the table and we both find ourselves saying, 'The government currently sucks.' Agreeing on that can start the process of discovering what else they agree on."

Builders was launched on May 14, 2024, with the release of Daniel Lubetzky's TED talk on fighting polarization. The initiative aims to identify and mobilize shared values that bring different parties together, providing a toolkit for citizens to engage in constructive dialogue and problem-solving. As the Citizen Solutions project expands to tackle divisive issues like abortion rights, Builders offers a glimmer of hope in an increasingly polarized political landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • New nonprofit initiative "Builders" launched to combat polarization and promote collaboration.
  • First project, Citizen Solutions, brings together people with diverse views to find common ground on issues like gun rights and abortion.
  • Builders has 4 components: Media, Toolkit, Network, and Citizen Solutions to promote constructive dialogue and problem-solving.
  • Initiative aims to identify and mobilize shared values, providing a toolkit for citizens to engage in constructive dialogue.
  • Builders launched on May 14, 2024, with a TED talk on fighting polarization, offering hope in a polarized political landscape.