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Americans Listen: A Project to Foster Dialogue and Improve Civic Culture

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The purpose

American civic culture needs more listening across lines of ideology. There is too much misunderstanding and there are too many generalizations being made about people based on who we support for election. These misunderstandings go across many issues, and are particularly acute when it comes to perspectives about race and demographic change. 

The process

During the fall 2016 election season, Americans Listen will convene the Civic Journalism Challenge 2016, which is a contest where youth journalists will submit pieces that investigate the racial views of Trump supporters. The journalists will create dozens of compelling media stories focused on smashing myths about Trump supporters. Americans Listen will also catalyze The Listening Project - Election 2016, in which ideologically liberal facilitators, conflict resolution specialists, and others will create interview sessions designed around a structured interview guide; their goal is to simply listen to Trump supporters of the same racial group. The systematically collected reflections of the listeners will be compiled to create two archives - one about that nature of Trump support, the other about the challenges to empathetic listening to points of view different than one's own.  

The products

  • Dozens of publish-worthy submissions from high school, college, and professional journalists about their findings in trying to distill candid perspectives on race and demographic change from Trump supporters. 
  • Publicly available database of hundreds of interviews about the drivers of Trump support.
  • Publicly available database of lessons about listening across ideological lines.
  • Videos seminars, brochures, and other products clarifying lessons for journalists investigating sensitive topics, and about how to promote listening across ideological lines.

The impact

  • Both misconceptions and hard truths about Trump supporters' views on diversity are explored through many compelling media products.
  • Young journalists are encouraged to explore critical social issues and their role as civic journalists.
  • Conservatives and progressives interested in understanding Trump supporters have a new resource for examining how to connect with them.
  • Diversity and inclusion specialists and activists can use databases to strategize better ways to having hard conversations on race.

The Collaboration

The primary collaborators on Americans Listen are:

Dr. David Campt, a nationally recognized facilitator of racial dialogue, who will connect the project to specialists in racial dialogue around the country. 

McCrae Parker, former executive at Youth Radio, whose vast connections through the youth media sector will help the project create for engagement across the country.

Kim Pearson, professor of journalism at the College of New Jersey, who will work to ensure the submissions from youth are up to national standards for communications education.

The Need

A $50K matching grant has already been pledged to cover core administrative costs of the project. The $50K we need to raise will include: 

o   Cash prizes for the two Civic Journalism Challenges  (high school, college).

o   Interview coordinators to facilitate dozens of listening sessions in several cities, and interview incentives to support some individual interviewers. 

o   Administrative support to recruit networks of listeners and Trump supporters.

o   Creating the on-line archive that will be publicly searchable.

The election is here. Much of the work has begun.  There is much more to do.

We need your support. 

Thanks for listening. 



To This Fundraiser


  • Rahsaan Harris


  • John Fairfield


  • Karen Palmer



0% Raised of $50,000 Goal

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Donor Comments

Karen Palmer

Karen Palmer

2 years ago

John Fairfield

John Fairfield


2 years ago

Rahsaan Harris

Rahsaan Harris


It is time to start this important dialogue! 2 years ago