This article, however, features speakers across a racial rather than a partisan divide. For this conversation, the white speaker is Cameron Swallow, a Braver Angels leader and local bluegrass musician in Wisconsin. The Black speaker is Austin Willacy, a professional songwriter, musician, and activist near Oakland, California.
For this conversation, the Blue is Cameron Swallow—a Braver Angels moderator and bluegrass musician in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who spent 18 years teaching secondary school. The Red is Jennifer Stepp—a pianist, musical theater dabbler, and community arts advocate who also serves as a city council member in Gastonia, North Carolina. Cameron and Jennifer are both deeply connected to North Carolina, and each now plans to visit the special diner the other discusses in this conversation.
I’m not sure if we could become friends today, starting as strangers, given the greater levels of hostility and suspicion that divide our culture. But we can still play music together, and I will hold that door open while hoping (and working) for better times.