Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Civil Discourse & Facts

by Jenn Seiler-Patrick, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

The Many met at the Central Library in September

“This gives me hope for our future.”

Honest truth, I overheard that quote multiple times at a political discussion. With liberals, conservatives, and probably everything in between. And surprisingly, I felt the same way.

An online group called “The Many” is bringing women from across the country and political spectrum together with these two things: civil discourse and facts. And in September we met at the Central Library to talk in person, some of us for the first time.

So that’s the civil discourse part—we talked to ladies of similar and opposing viewpoints, and no food or punches were thrown. As a librarian, I came into the picture because the Birmingham Public Library has been working with this group to provide what are termed “FactStacks.” No one likes “fake news” or “clickbait,” so the librarians involved do our best to provide valid information and statistics to the group, so The Many can discuss based on a shared knowledge base.

The goal is not to change anyone’s mind, but to understand each other better and communicate better in the hopes that we can overcome the divide that many of us feel in our nation. At the gathering, women admitted the group is not perfect and there are some issues that are still too hard to discuss, but I still cling to the hope that grew that day.

If you are interested in joining The Many, visit spaceshipmedia.org/the-many/.

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