Press Release: Nov. 14, 2022

Braver Angels, BridgeUSA, and Starts With Us Partner to Host “Hold America Together,” a Post-Midterms Event Series for the 87% of Americans Tired of Political Division

Diverse Thinkers Across Business, Media, and Politics, Including Andrew Yang, Ariana Pekary, Batya Ungar-Sargon, Daniel Lubetzky, and Ja’Ron Smith, Will Share Ideas on How to Overcome Polarization

November 14, 2022

NEW YORK, NY — Today, Braver Angels, BridgeUSA, and Starts With Us, three fast-growing organizations in the bridge-building movement, are joining forces to host “Hold America Together,” a two-day virtual event focused on how we move forward constructively following yet another dangerously divisive election season. The organizations, all of which launched in the years following the 2016 presidential election, share a commitment to helping citizens better communicate and cooperate across lines of difference as a path to healing our country’s extreme division. 

“Hold America Together” aims to be a town hall for America and a unique space on the internet for productive, action-oriented dialogue. On the heels of the November 8th midterms, the special event series will convene public figures and everyday Americans across the ideological, political, and generational spectrums to explore sources of polarization and real solutions to overcome it in our communities and day-to-day lives.

Twitter Town Hall (Part One) 

Part one of “Hold America Together” will take place on November 14 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. EST as a “Twitter Spaces” event, with influential speakers including Andrew Yang, former 2020 presidential candidate and entrepreneur; Ariana Pekary, award-winning news producer and media reform advocate; Batya Ungar-Sargon, Deputy Opinion Editor at Newsweek and author of “Bad News: How Woke Media is Undermining Democracy”; Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Snacks and Starts With Us; and Ja’Ron Smith, former Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the White House Office of American Innovation in the Trump administration. 

Lubetzky said, “Throw out your party talk points and come ready to learn, grow, and connect. Starts With Us is creating new spaces on social media and in real life where people with different — even opposing — perspectives can learn from one another. With the partnership of American leaders dedicated to transcending partisan division, we look forward to an evening of compassionate hearty debate to help set our nation back on track.” 

Longtime members of the Braver Angels community, including Barbara Thomas and Rick Hotchner, as well as BridgeUSA student leaders, including Samaya Patel from UC Berkeley and Jack Ruotolo from the University of Pittsburgh, will also join the panel to share how division is showing up across communities and campuses nationwide. The panel will be moderated by John Wood, Jr., National Ambassador for Braver Angels, and Manu Meel, co-founder and CEO of BridgeUSA. 

Dialogue Across The Divide (Part Two)

Part two will take place the following night, November 15, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST, as a Zoom event, where concerned citizens will gather to hone constructive dialogue skills and engage with each other on various topics, including their personal experiences with division and the changes we need to make to move forward together. 

“Over the past six years, Braver Angels has brought tens of thousands of conservatives and progressives together across the partisan divide to build trust and understanding beyond stereotypes,” said Ciaran O’Connor, Chief Marketing Officer for Braver Angels. “With political violence on the rise, Braver Angels is grateful to partner with BridgeUSA and Starts With Us to help more Americans come together in the wake of a vicious midterm election season to discuss new ideas for bridging the divide — and ultimately holding our country together.”

The events come as studies show that the U.S. is polarizing faster than other democracies, and by some measures is as politically polarized as it was during the Civil War. A recent Starts With Us poll revealed that 87 percent of Americans are tired of political division in the country, and a Pew Research poll showed that 62 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats have unfavorable views of the other party. 

“Young people are demanding that we fight division in our politics so that we may have a shot at solving problems our generation will inherit,” said Manu Meel, CEO of BridgeUSA. “We need to create spaces for everyday Americans to have bold conversations about how we move the American experiment forward. We’re excited to work with Braver Angels and Starts With Us in building a movement from the ground up to overcome the forces that divide us.”

Interested participants can register for the “Hold America Together” events here:

  • Twitter Townhall: here
  • Dialogue Across The Divide here
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