In a time of political divisiveness, Windsor Square resident and Marlborough student Clara Nevins has created a platform to openly discuss politics and opposing points of view. Together, she and her friend Joseph Touma launched the website, Bridge the Divide, in the beginning of August, and hundreds of people have participated so far.
After completing a summer program on international affairs and politics at Yale, Nevins was impressed by the diversity of viewpoints of her peers who were from more than 100 countries. Nevins commented on her ability to partake in timely discussions and witness a level of political understanding that is frequently absent in the media.
After a heated debate on abortion with Touma, a West Virginia Republican, Nevins, a California Democrat, said they were both, “surprised that [they] were able to stop the rhetoric and begin to understand each other’s point of view through real conversation.” Nevins explains that “if we, two Millennials, were able to have this healthy, open dialogue, we hoped that our leaders might be able to do the same as well.”
Since the launch of Bridge the Divide, Nevins states that she and Touma have received “a tremendous amount of support.” There are currently over 100 people in 22 countries representing the initial team of contributors for Bridge the Divide. The creation of the website was sometimes difficult. It involved a lot of late nights with FaceTime calls between California and West Virginia. Nevins states that it was well worth it in the end and that “all of the teenagers we reached out to were so glad that they now had a platform to share and discuss their political beliefs.”
The website features articles written by the platform’s numerous contributors concerning topics of domestic and international affairs, such as immigration and gun control. There is also a discussion section of the website, which serves as an open forum for those who wish to voice their opinions. Every week there is a new topic and users can comment explaining their points of view. “The goal is to understand and respect all perspectives, not necessarily to agree or come to a consensus,” the website states. Bridge the Divide encourages tolerance and respect for each other’s opinions by enforcing a policy that avoids threats, condescending remarks and vulgar language.
Platform for change
Bridge the Divide is becoming a political platform where youth from around the world can discuss politics in a respectful environment. Nevins hopes to see “real change” created from the platform in the future. “One day the conversations that we have on the platform will inspire politicians to approach issues with less hostility and to create change with the next generation in mind,” she says.
For more information, visit bridge-the-divide.com.
By Brooke Stewart, Park La Brea. Brooke will be a junior in the fall at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.