Welcome to Braver Angels Arkansas’s webpage!
Working across political lines to support respectful communication, listening to understand, finding common ground, and bipartisan problem-solving.
About Braver Angels Arkansas
Braver Angels Arkansas is a group of Arkansans who are allied with the national organization Braver Angels (braverangels.org) that was formed in 2016. We have been starting from a small base of a few committed individuals and have had letters and guest columns published in central Arkansas media, and we have put on several presentations and workshops to spread the word about our mission.
Our goal is to establish a vibrant and active organization in Arkansas as we seek to reach across the political divide and develop greater respectful communications and, where feasible, collaborations to help solve problems facing our state and nation. As seen on the national website: “Braver Angels is a citizens’ organization uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. We try to understand the other side’s point of view, even if we don’t agree with it. We engage those we disagree with, looking for common ground and ways to work together. We support principles that bring us together rather than divide us. Learn more about us on our webpage (www.braverangels.org/arkansas) or visit our Facebook page.
For our March, 2021 newsletter, click here.
Arkansas State Coordinator
Arkansans and others, we invite you to contact us with questions, suggestions, or to volunteer to help us in our cause. We believe that securing our country’s future relies on the committed action by citizens who are willing to develop and maintain relationships with those of differing political views. Maintaining the ability to work together where common ground is found (and we have more common values than we have been led to believe!) is essential for a healthy, functioning democracy.
By paying $12 a year to join Braver Angels via the national website (www.braverangels.org), you qualify to be a voting member of our local alliance, Braver Angels of Central Arkansas. To be involved or to volunteer, you must be a member, but all members of the public are welcome to join our programs and workshops, and there is no cost for attending any events, in person or online. We also welcome clubs, organizations, churches, etc who are interested in hearing from us, securing a presentation from one of our leaders, or who simply support our mission. Contact Glen White at [email protected], Mary Hunt at [email protected]
or April Chatham-Carpenter at [email protected] for more information.
Braver Angels of Central Arkansas
Braver Angels of Central Arkansas (BACA) consists of an Executive Committee (EC), a Volunteer Working Group (VWG), General Alliance members, and Alliance Co-Chairs. Guests are always welcome to attend alliance meetings and will be encouraged to join Braver Angels as dues-paying members. (Only dues-paying members qualify to be officers and to vote.)
Volunteer Working Group: For Braver Angels members who are willing to devote their time and energy to a larger role, we invite volunteers to become part of the VWG regardless of their political leaning. This group supports the activities of BACA such as:
- Organizing, leading, moderating, chairing workshops and events;
- Helping to staff workshops and events for set-up, registration, administration, and/or clean-up;
- These first two types of members above include trained/certified (via national BA process) moderators, organizers, participant managers, & zoom feature managers. They may form as a separate program committee with one person designated as leader.
- Recruiting new members;
- Being an advocate for Braver Angels in the community; and
- Voicing opinions and ideas to the EC.
For a current version of our Alliance charter, click here.
• Follow our Facebook page – search Facebook for “Braver Angels Arkansas or @braverangelsarkansas.
• Check out our YouTube channel – Braver Angels Arkansas
• We are also just starting a presence on INSTAGRAM
BACA’s 2021 Program Schedule
We usually have programs every two months with public programs one month, then no local meeting on alternate months. We always encourage our Arkansas members and those interested in our work to attend national events. All Braver Angels’ events are open to the public, regardless of where you live. To learn more about the individual workshops we offer, click here. Or, you can visit our Events page to see a list of all upcoming workshops and other events.
- April 5: Media & polarization panel discussion: Monday, 6:30-8pm via Zoom, we’ll feature a stellar panel of members of the Arkansas media who will discuss their views about the media and its influence, good or bad, on political polarization, followed by opportunities for those attending the program to ask questions of the panel. The panel, which will be moderated by April Chatham-Carpenter and Glen White, will feature Philip Martin of the Democrat Gazette; Donna Stephens, UCA journalism professor; Gwen Moritz, editor of Arkansas Business; and Wesley Brown, publisher of the Daily Record. Register for the panel here.
- May: no local program but find other online events by Braver Angels here.
- June 5: On Saturday, June 5, from 9am-4pm (1 hour break for lunch), we will conduct a virtual Red-Blue workshop, which is our national organization’s signature event. The format allows for significant sharing between the two groups of their perspectives politically, in a way that encourages respectful and honest communication, while avoiding arguing and heated rhetoric. This will be a major program that has consistently generated lots of buzz among its attendees. We need at least 5-8 volunteers for both the Red and the Blue groups, who are committed to active participation in the entire process from 9am to 4pm. Observers are welcome but will not be able to participate or communicate during the workshop. If you are interested in possibly attending, please let us know via email; we especially need to hear from those of you who are willing to actively participate. Contact Glen, April or Mary (email links below) and we’ll put you on a waiting list. No need to commit right away, just let us know if you would like to consider it. However, attendance is limited for this workshop, so contact us soon if you are interested. For more information on the Red/Blue workshops, go to: https://braverangels.org/what-we-do/red-blue-workshops/; and for a video of an early version of this workshop, check out this 50-minute documentary. To register for the event, click on this link for the Eventbrite registration.
Workshops and Debates
Since we first began working to develop a Braver Angels alliance in central Arkansas, we have hosted several events, beginning with a skills workshop at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in November 2018. Other workshops were held in 2019 in Fort Smith, Jacksonville, and in Little Rock at the main Central Arkansas Public Library. In 2020, we hosted several workshops, programs and events online and have a number of other plans for 2021. We provide presentations on Braver Angels and polarization to local groups and organizations upon request, including Rotary Clubs, Catholic High School senior class, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, book clubs, merchants’ associations, college groups and others. We began monthly public meetings online in July 2020, and for 2021 we plan to alternate local online programs with participation in national workshops and events. We hope you will join us for our scheduled programs in 2021. Contact us via email for an Eventbrite registration link to a program (Glen White at [email protected] or Jeannie Burrus at [email protected]), or find information and registration links on our Facebook and webpages. Our programs are sponsored by the Central Arkansas Library System, Braver Angels, and UALR’s office of Applied Communication.
In The News
Here are links to a few media stories or events related to our activity in Arkansas:
- This story about our local Alliance of Braver Angels appeared in a recent issue of the Arkansas Catholic.
- Check out this 2020 column by Philip Martin about Braver Angels in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
- The link below features two brief biographical statements from one of our Red and one of our Blue members, just to explore what interests and motivates people about Braver Angels and its mission.
- State Coordinator Glen White was interviewed by John Coffin on KABF-FM 88.3 community radio in Little Rock about Braver Angels. Here is a link to the 25-minute recording, which includes an overview of Braver Angels and political polarization.
- April Chatham-Carpenter of UA-Little Rock and Glen White presented on political polarization research and Braver Angels on Friday, April 24, 2020. It was our second online project, and except for a few brief audio problems during the first part of my talk on polarization research, it seemed to go well. Check it out here.
- Saturday, December 7, 2019, our local Braver Angels alliance had a guest editorial published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Find the editorial here.
- Extreme political polarization has many negative effects, but one of the most dangerous is its potential to endanger our democratic form of government. Local Braver Angels moderator Jerry Henderson provides an excellent overview of the research and thinking currently informing the discussion about what polarization in the US may do to degrade our government and society. Recommended reading.
More Information & Resources
- National website: www.braverangels.org
- Below is a link to a documentary about Braver Angels on YouTube. Filmed at an early workshop that brought together liberals and conservatives shortly after the 2016 election, this 50-minute peek into a Red-blue workshop offers hope that good people of differing ideologies can communicate and relate with respect to each other without giving up our fundamental beliefs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6kZpN5T3lU
- If you are new to Zoom and want free tips on how to more effectively Zoom our events, check out this training piece on ZOOM basics.
- How to talk to those who distribute misinformation: https://pen.org/how-to-talk-to-friends-and-family-who…/…
- The moral roots of political beliefs: https://youtu.be/vs41JrnGaxc
COMPLETE OUR SURVEY:
- Initial interest survey (if you are interested in us and are willing to give us your contact info): https://forms.gle/MN33gycVkvnJNoiX9;
- Volunteer survey (provides us with some information about you and allows you to indicate areas of interest if you are considering volunteering with us) : https://forms.gle/zSNsRwQAZj36Nn4k7
National Braver Angels
Join the national Braver Angels email list to get updates about other opportunities around the country!