North Carolinians celebrate ReCONNECT NC Day on August 14
Citizens and police officers exchanged ideas in a Cary barbershop. Greenville community members gathered in a café to talk about the future of their city. Coworkers sat around a conference room table in Durham and discussed status and privilege. In cities across North Carolina, people recognized ReCONNECT NC Day on August 14 by having meaningful conversations about divisive issues.
The governor-proclaimed ReCONNECT NC Day is a product of NC State’s Institute for Emerging Issues’ Civic Conversations initiative. The project invites people from different backgrounds and perspectives to spend time together in real conversation about a topic that is concerning them or their community.
For Rob Shields, Executive Director of ReCity Network in Durham, ReCONNECT NC Day represented a positive first step toward bridging divides.
“I’m just encouraged in such divided times that there are examples of people coming together to have difficult conversations and to keep coming to the table,” said Shields. “I think we have to keep doing that. I think it has to move past the table, the same way a football team can’t just huddle. But they do need to huddle, and I think that’s a great example of what this movement represents.”
Civic Conversations is part of the national #ListenFirst movement which has reached millions of people coast to coast and is catalyzed by North Carolina nonprofit Listen First Project.
“Conversations in which we listen first to understand are increasingly rare amidst the rising rancor and deepening division plaguing society,” said Pearce Godwin, founder of Listen First Project. “This #ListenFirst Civic Conversations initiative is critical at this moment for North Carolina as the divisive furor of the 2020 elections rapidly approaches.”
View the photo gallery below for some examples of the conversations that were held across North Carolina on August 14.