LETTER: Participate in ‘Listen First’

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We believe that members of the University community must break free from the respective silos of thought and culture that we inhabit.

Kate Bellows | Cavalier Daily

We’ve witnessed a year of chaos and division in Charlottesville, a year that has exposed and exacerbated many deep-seated tensions at the University and in our community at large. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Founder and CEO of Listen First Pearce Godwin

Listen First is an organized effort to recognize the humanity in others across political and ideological differences. Godwin is launching this nationwide campaign in Charlottesville starting April 20 to bring together local and national thought leaders for a series of intimate and illuminating conversations.  

Spanning Converge UVA, Student Council and The Cavalier Daily, students have joined forces with Godwin in an effort to advance the waning ideals of compassion and cooperation on Grounds. We believe that members of the University community must break free from the respective silos of thought and culture that we inhabit. Students should embrace opportunities to come together on the basis of empathy and respect to have challenging conversations with those who think differently than us. 

On April 21, community activists, scholars and nonprofit leaders will gather on the Downtown Mall at the Sprint Pavilion for conversations such as “Bridging Divides Across America”  and “Charlottesville’s Historical Divisions and Fresh Wounds.” While centuries of voices have been shut out from town halls and chambers of governance, we endorse the efforts of leaders such as Godwin who are working to elevate the voices of historically marginalized persons. Free for students and community members to attend, Listen First in Charlottesville reminds us that our nation was built upon the principle of robust and open dialogue in the name of a cause greater than any person or institution. 

Our work to “mend the frayed fabric” of our community is just beginning. We look forward to supporting and participating in this venture, and we hope you will too.  

Sarah Kenny, Student Council President 2017-18

Mike Reingold, 128th Editor-in-Chief of The Cavalier Daily

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