We The People's Project
Where everyday Americans get time at the podium.
“We The People” is all Americans. But for too long, we’ve been told that in order to be successful you need to have a 4-year college degree or more. That in order to have a say in politics you need to be an expert or a lawyer or an “elite.”
As a result, America has far too few truck drivers and nurses who have a meaningful say in our politics. Our political discourse is missing a huge slice of America.
We are Black, Brown, and White.
We might see ourselves as blue-collar, working-class, or just your everyday American.
We are some of the everyday people essential to keeping America running: factory workers, waitresses, electricians, mechanics, stay-at-home parents, you name it.
But we are often sidelined and stereotyped in the media and in the public conversation. We are often spoken of, but rarely spoken with.
It contributes to a growing partisan divide in America and to distrust in each other. Many believe that the political system is rigged for the elite and against ordinary working people.
At Braver Angels, we believe that it takes all of us to bridge our divides. That for the task remaining before us, we need government of the people, by the people, for the people.
That’s why we started We The People’s Project at Braver Angels.
We are discussing the issues that, while often underplayed in the media, are affecting millions of Americans and need to be raised in public discussion. We are coming together to find common ground on solutions that those who depend on our work need to respect.
For instance, we regularly see media stories about new technology which is supposed to make our lives better: cars and trucks driving themselves, three-mile trains with a one-man crew, the increase of computer-based employment, drones delivering for Amazon. More and more stores have us checking ourselves out at a computer terminal, rather than a live cashier.
But for millions of Americans who still do the jobs that need to be done—some of whom were briefly heroes during the COVID lockdown—what is the day like? What are our working conditions like? Compatible with a healthy family life? If not, what can be done to make them so? And what is a fair wage for a day’s work?
Everyday, working Americans who have experience and opinions—even strong opinions—on these kinds of issues are the people who can find common ground that makes sense.
What We Do: We The People's Council
We The People’s Council is a leadership group of everyday, working-class Americans from all political perspectives who help Braver Angels to achieve its goals of bridging the partisan divide and finding solutions that work for all of us. People who join the Council are listed on the Braver Angels website under “We The People’s Council.”
The Council meets together online four times a year to brainstorm and share ideas about:
Meet Our Leadership Team
Our work is driven by a core leadership team whose occupations and backgrounds reflect our working-class spirit. True to the Braver Angels emphasis on political balance, we include a balance of people who lean conservative, progressive, and independent.
Apple Muncy of Bloomington, Indiana, is a retired tool and die maker.
Corrie Zech of Middletown, Ohio, is a former McDonald’s employee of 13 years and is currently attending college for Health Information Management.
Darcy Crosman of El Sobrante, California, is a retired union pipe welder and a freelance editor.
David Lapp of South Lebanon, Ohio, is a co-founder of Braver Angels and director of We the People’s Project.
Janelle Burke of Everett, Washington, is a former nurse and school board candidate; the founder and editor of WakeUpSnoCo; and co-founder of Embrace. Reclaim. Heal – Because We Care, a community outreach organization dedicated to healing in the Black community and for U.S. veterans.
Jerry Silberman of Douglassville, Pennsylvania, was a factory worker for years and is semi-retired as a labor organizer in health care.
Lincoln Earle-Centers, married, father of two high-school boys and a daughter in elementary school, is an ISA certified arborist running a small tree care company in central Vermont.
Rita Chisum of Russelville, Arkansas, has been continuing the “Great Adventure” of marriage–with all its ups and downs–for the past 41 years, is a mother of two daughters and “Nonna” (Italian for Grandmother) of five, 6+ years retail experience, office assistant/manager, community volunteer, freelance writer and lifelong wisdom seeker.
Wilk Wilkinson of Clearwater, Minnesota, is the founder and host of the Derate the Hate Podcast and distribution manager for a welding supplies and gas distributor.
What We Do: We The People's Forum
We The People’s Forum is a Braver Angels event where everyday Americans get time at the podium.
The format is a 1.5-2 hour moderated conversation. The conversations typically take place with 2-4 politically diverse first speakers. After opening discussion with the first speakers, we open it up to the audience for Q and E: Questions and Experiences. Anyone with a question for a speaker is invited to ask a question, and anyone with direct experience on the issue at hand is invited to talk about how their experience has shaped their views. We also explore areas of common ground.
The goals of the Forum are the following:
Upcoming We The People's Forums
Past We the People’s Forums
- Anyone who sees themselves as working class or blue-collar, or anyone part of the majority of Americans who has common sense but happens not to have a 4-year college degree; and
- Supports the goal of bringing Americans together to reduce the hate in our political discourse, to better understand our differences, and to find common ground on the challenges facing everyday Americans.
Overall, the Council is balanced across the political spectrum: a balanced number of people who lean conservative, progressive, and independent or other.
Council leaders agree to join Braver Angels as a dues-paying member (only $12 a year).
- Invitation to join exclusive meetings twice a year with the President of Braver Angels to offer guidance and counsel.
- Invitation to participate in two yearly meetings on Zoom with We the People’s Project leaders.
- Participate in Braver Angels workshops, events, and local Alliance activities, as able.
- Receive priority consideration to be a delegate to the annual Braver Angels Convention, to be held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 6-8, 2023.