Uniting for Action: America to launch nationwide in September
Nonpartisan initiative aims to strengthen the country by building connections and addressing challenges across political, racial, regional and other divides
LOS ANGELES – August 6, 2020 – Next month, five U.S. nonprofits will launch Uniting for Action: America, an innovative program that aims to build new relationships and promote collaboration across political, racial, geographic, intergenerational, and other divides. The project will kick off online on September 9 and will be implemented collectively by Urban Rural Action, the News Literacy Project, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), BridgeUSA, and BridgePeople.
Uniting for Action: America aims to achieve four goals: build new connections across divides, increase understanding of different perspectives on key issues, strengthen collaboration skills, and take meaningful action to address societal challenges. Program participants will meet on Zoom six times for structured discussion, small group brainstorming, and collaboration focused on taking action. The action will come in the form of online projects that participants design themselves and implement up until March 2021.
Organizers expect 50 to 100 participants with wide-ranging views who live in a variety of communities across the country to join in the online program. The nonprofits’ goal is to attract community members eager to engage across differences and take action themselves amid unprecedented challenges to public health and economic hardship.
“When the world appears stuck in a cycle of misinformation, feeding misunderstanding and vice versa, it is important to learn how we can each make a difference,” said Miriam Romais, the senior manager of education and training for the News Literacy Project. “That’s why we’re so pleased to partner with Urban Rural Action and help participants develop basic skills to separate fact from falsehoods, letting deeper conversations, learning, and civic action emerge.”
Teaming up with communities
Participants will form teams with other community members interested in tackling the same issue, such as economic recovery, income inequality, systemic racism, mass incarceration, gun violence, homelessness, hunger, housing unaffordability, and lack of access to health care. Program organizers will use Zoom breakout room functionality during gatherings to group together issue teams and a Uniting for Action moderator for small-group work.
According to program organizers, community projects might include reducing food waste across communities; working with local businesses to hire more formerly incarcerated individuals; implementing a social media campaign to promote respect for different viewpoints; conducting virtual workshops on constructive conversations across differences; starting a community bail fund, and training local educators on stopping the spread of misinformation. The community projects will benefit from support from the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College and from participants’ $25 registration fees.
In between gatherings, participants will use a cloud-based community platform called Tribe to continue the connection, conversation, and collaboration. Additional program events, such as online training from the News Literacy Project, will equip participants with the knowledge and abilities to identify credible news and other information and learn what to trust, share, and act on.
“Uniting for Action: America very much builds on our intrastate programs in Maryland and Pennsylvania,” said Joseph Bubman, executive director at Urban Rural Action. “We’re thrilled to be able to use online technology to scale up to a national program and to do it with four terrific partner organizations.”
Program organizers are using a selective application process that prioritizes political, geographic, economic, and social (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, etc.) diversity. Organizers encourage applicants to reach out to others from different backgrounds about participating in the program and to refer them. The application deadline is Aug. 28.
Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation advances the leadership and professional development of women of color in the fields of international peace, security, and conflict transformation.
News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.
BridgeUSA develops the next generation of engaged, informed, and constructive citizens.
BridgePeople equips peace-builders, committed change agents, justice-seeking philanthropists, socially-minded organizations, and social entrepreneurs to advance peace and justice through transformational relationship building.
UR Action brings together people across the urban/rural divide for local action to strengthen our communities and our country.