#MyBridgeStory – Chloe Johnston

“I come from a very divided family, both politically and otherwise, my mom from a liberal SoCal household and my dad, a conservative Floridian home. Though I saw my dad’s family infrequently, my interactions with both sides led to me naturally leaning towards the middle. I’m an outspoken person, but I felt silenced by the pressure of conforming to “family” ideals, and being the youngest, I felt unqualified to voice my opinion. 

I stumbled onto Bridge accidentally, wanting to help a friend with student council paperwork turned into taking minutes at meetings, and now, they couldn’t get rid of me even if they tried. The ability to have open and honest conversations about controversial topics with people I respect is something I value immensely. Over the past three years, Bridge has, and continues, to help me feel comfortable in starting conversations and navigating them without starting arguments (at least, that’s the goal). 

With Bridge, I’ve learned that there’s power in communicating effectively and developing an understanding for your conversation partner. There’s power in being able to reflect quietly and calmly ask, “but why do you feel this way.” Everyone is feeling unheard because no one is willing to talk. With Bridge, and when I move on, I want to continue to be the person that starts a conversation, whether it be with family or my seat partner on a plane.

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