One America Voices Interview: Clara Nevins and Joseph Touma

The One America Movement is excited to launch a new initiative called One America Voices. Once a week, we will publish short interviews with Americans from all walks of life. By hearing each other’s stories, we can begin to reduce the divisiveness and polarization in our society. Enjoy – share with your networks and on social media using the hashtag: #1AmericaVoices

Clara Nevins and Joseph Touma

Los Angeles and West Virginia

Co-Founders: Bridge the Divide

1. You co-founded Bridge the Divide. Tell us more about the work you’re doing.

A: We have a team of around 85 ambassadors from over 25 countries. These are the people who are carrying out our mission of political tolerance and civility in their own communities—whether that be in the US, Liberia, or India. This year, we are focusing on our round-table discussions. We host these events over google hangout and talk about a wide variety of political issues, from terrorism to immigration to women’s rights. We are trying to create an online environment that feels as close to in-person discussion as possible. We believe that bridges can be built by sharing personal narratives and putting a face to the “other-side.” We are also working on our up-coming conference in October. This will be an event where young Americans can hear from political leaders, journalists, non-profits, and other advocacy organizations in an effort to come to a place of greater unity and understanding.

2. One of you is from California and one is from West Virginia. Those are very different states in so many ways. How did you meet and what did you find you had in common despite those differences? 

A: We met at a summer program at Yale University. We have a shared appreciation for politics. Once we got past the labels of “democrat/liberal” and “republican/conservative” we were able to get down to the roots of our beliefs. One of the things that we do agree on is the fact that we want public policy that benefits the most amount of people. We may have different views of how to get there, but in the end, we want the best for our country. We also share a strong belief in the fact that our generation has the ability to turn around the toxic discourse of the contemporary political landscape.

3. In one sentence, what do you think the solution is to polarization and division in American society?

A: The solution is to catch young people before the mindset of a divisive political society is ingrained, instead promoting open dialogue and respect between people with opposing views.

To learn more about the One America Movement, Click Here. 

To invest in our work to fight back against polarization, division and hate, Click Here. 

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