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 started from a small base of a few committed individuals and have since then 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 to 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 June, 2021 newsletter, click here.

Braver Angels of Central Arkansas’s first ever workshop: Skills for Bridging the Divide

Arkansas State Coordinator

April Chatham-Carpenter

Arkansas Red State Coordinator
[email protected]

 

J. Glen White

Arkansas Blue State Coordinator
[email protected]

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.

ALLIANCE/REGIONS

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

MARY HUNT
BACA Blue Alliance Co-Coordinator
[email protected]

Kate Zakrzewski
BACA Red Alliance Co-Coordinator
[email protected]

Kwami Abdul-Bey
BACA Purple Alliance Co-Coordinator
[email protected]

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 Executive Committee.

For a current version of our Alliance charter, click here.

Social Media
• Follow our Facebook page – search Facebook for “Braver Angels Arkansas or @braverangelsarkansas.
• Check out our YouTube channel – Braver Angels Arkansas
• We also have a modest presence on INSTAGRAM

BACA’s Program Schedule

We usually host 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. Most Braver Angels’ online events are open to the public, regardless of where you live. For a current list of online workshops for which you can register if you are interested, go to https://braverangels.org/online/workshops/ and click on “find an event.”

  • Common Ground workshop: Saturday, July 17, 9am to noon: Our next workshop is on Saturday, July 17, from 9am to noon, when we’ll be presenting the Common Ground workshop on the issue of Teaching about Race in Our Schools. The issue of teaching critical race theory, the 1619 project, and the history of race in our country is a controversial one across our nation. The tensions are nuanced and complex, but we believe we can work through these tensions through civil dialogue in our Braver Angels Common Ground Workshop. We seek people with a variety of views on the general topic who also are committed to working respectfully with others of differing views. Our goals will be to have a frank but civil exchange of views, then a search for any areas of agreement. Ultimately, we hope that on those areas in which all participants agree, we can develop an action plan for taking steps to address the issue in some way, big or small. See details in our newsletter. To register for the event via Eventbrite, click here.

  • Sept. 13, 6:30-8:30pm “Family in Politics” workshop via Zoom: Family relationships are becoming casualties of our toxic political environment.  Family members are having nasty political arguments, avoiding each other, or even cutting off lifetime relationships. If you want to preserve important family bonds while still being true to your values and political beliefs, this workshop will offer you: 

    • Insight into why family differences over politics are uniquely challenging
    • Recognition of common roles that family members play in political conversations (for example, the Gladiator, the Defender, and the Sniper).
    • Strategies and skills for handling family political differences in a constructive way 

    Although the focus is on family relationships, you can use the teachings in this workshop with any loved one.  You’ll laugh and have some fun in this workshop—it won’t be all serious.  After all, we all come from quirky families.

    We will begin registration via Eventbrite soon for this workshop. To get a link for registration, see our latest newsletter or contact Glen ([email protected]) or April ([email protected]).  To prepare for this workshop, take this 40-minute eLearning module ahead of the workshop:

    https://braverangels.org/online/families-and-politics-training/

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:

  • Our recent Red-Blue workshop was featured on a local TV program (KTHV’s “The Vine”). For a video of the appearance by state coordinators April Chatham-Carpenter and Glen White, click here.
  • 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

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