Bridge Builders | Peace Through Action USA

Bridge Builders Book JacketBridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age

Book Author – Nathan Bomey

Book Publication Date – 2021

Book Publisher – Polity, 1st Edition

Print Length – 256 pages

Book Description

“In these turbulent times, defined by ideological chasms, clashes over social justice, and a pandemic intersecting with misinformation, Americans seem hopelessly divided along fault lines of politics, race, religion, class, and culture. Yet not everyone is accepting the status quo.

In Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age, journalist Nathan Bomey paints a forensic portrait of Americans who are spanning gaping divides between people of difference. From clergy fighting racism in Charlottesville to a former Republican congressman engaging conservatives on climate change and Appalachian journalists restoring social trust with the public, these countercultural leaders all believe in the power of forging lasting connections to bring about profound change. Though the blueprints for political, social, and cultural bridges vary widely, bridge builders have much in common—and we have much to learn from them. In this book, Bomey dissects the transformational ways in which bridge builders are combatting polarization by pursuing reconciliation, rejecting misinformation, and rethinking the principle of compromise.”

Book reviews available, including from goodreads and Amazon.

Reflection Questions

  • What is my biggest takeaway from “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age?”
  • What do I find appealing or unappealing about being a bridge builder?
  • Which bridge builder story impressed me the most? Why?
  • What is my own relationship to people of difference? Do I have friends from different backgrounds? Do I have friends that think differently than me?
  • Do I respect difference or am I quick to judge others?
  • How can I learn more about people from different cultures or life experience?
  • How can I act as a bridge in my community?
  • How will I feel when I participate in positive change?

Learning Resources

  • Peaceful Readers “Bridge Builders” Information Sheet
  • “#ListenFirst Friday: Nathan Bomey” YouTube video (1:25)
  • “Nathan Bomey- Depolarizing America: Bridge Builders” YouTube video (27:21)
  • “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age by Nathan Bomey” YouTube video (38:45)
  • “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age-Nathan Bomey” YouTube video (58:48)
  • “American Democracy Live Event- Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in Today’s Polarized Age” YouTube video (1:02:26)
  • “Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age with Nathan Bomey” YouTube video (57:16)
  • “Nathan Bomey and Amanda Ripley Discuss Conflict and Bridge Building” YouTube video (1:03:18)
  • “Bridging America’s Divisions. Can Americans Come Together? #ListenFirst” YouTube video (1:39:13)
  • “Library Virtual Presentation-Meet the Author: Nathan Bomey” YouTube video (59:14)
  • “Keynote Address: john a. Powell on Identity, Targeted Universalism, and Building Belonging” YouTube video (1:00:03)

Action Recommendations

  • Commit to a daily spiritual practice.
  • Learn more about American history and civic education.
  • Learn more about bridge builders.
  • Join the national bridge building movement! #ListenFirstProject
  • Support organizations that are involved in bringing people together and healing divides.
  • Learn how to have difficult conversations with people and then practice.
  • Take yourself out of your silos; meet and become friends with people from different backgrounds.
  • Be open to the world.
  • Watch the videos found in Learning Resources above and continue to engage with this material.
  • Commit to taking action in your local community.
  • Discuss what you learned from the book with friends and/or family.

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