The Building Civic Bridges Act

Addressing Polarization and Division in the United States

Is it hard for you to talk politics with friends or family with different views? Have you ever felt judged because of your political beliefs? Are you concerned that the future of our democracy may be at risk because we are so divided?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Most people believe that political divisiveness is the most serious problem we face as a nation and as individuals, and wish there was a way to change things, but don’t know how.

The good news is that there is actually a glimmer of hope. It’s a bi-partisan bill about to be introduced in Congress, called the Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA). It will provide funding for programs that help get people talking again – the crucial first step toward dealing with the many challenges that affect us all.

And, there is a simple, important action you can take right now that will have a powerful impact, and it will take you less than 5 minutes. Simply use our advocacy tool to ask your congressional representatives to support the BCBA.

Imagine a world where we can have respectful conversations about politics, even with people we disagree with. Imagine a world where we can come together to solve problems and build a better future for everyone.

That’s the world that the Building Civic Bridges Act can help create.

Please take a moment to let your elected officials know that we must take steps to heal our divided nation by learning to talk and work together through programs that the Building Civic Bridges Act will support. It’s our best chance to create a more perfect union – a united and prosperous future for all.

And, to make sure your letter has maximum impact, write a sentence or two about WHY this matters to you personally.

Write your Congressional Representative

FAQs

The Building Civic Bridges Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in March 2022. It is scheduled to be reintroduced in the House and Senate in the summer or fall of 2023. The bill would establish an Office of Civic Bridgebuilding within the AmeriCorps agency, which would be responsible for coordinating and supporting civic bridgebuilding programs across the country. Civic bridgebuilding programs are designed to help people from different backgrounds come together in dialogue, in order to address the challenges of political and social polarization. Learn more about the bill here.

The Building Civic Bridges Act would authorize $25 million per year for the Office of Civic Bridgebuilding. The office would be responsible for:

  • Administering a competitive grant program to support civic bridgebuilding programs across the nation
  • Supporting the training of AmeriCorps members in civic bridgebuilding skills and techniques
  • Supporting research on civic bridgebuilding, civic engagement, and social cohesion
  • Coordinating with other federal agencies and organizations that are working to address political and social polarization

The United States is facing a crisis of political and social polarization. People are increasingly divided along ideological, religious, racial, and economic lines. This polarization is making it difficult to address common challenges, such as climate change, economic inequality, and public health.

The Building Civic Bridges Act would provide much-needed support for civic bridgebuilding programs. This support would help to expand the reach of these programs and make them more accessible to people from all walks of life.

Bridgebuilding works by the simple act of bringing people together in processes that encourage active listening and respectful dialogue. With very little prompting, people quickly realize that they actually have a lot in common, despite their differing political beliefs. Civic bridgebuilding programs are proven to be effective in helping people from different backgrounds come together to have meaningful, productive conversations. These programs can help reduce polarization and build trust. By getting involved in the Building Civic Bridges Act, you can help to create a more inclusive and just society.

The Building Civic Bridges Act has strong bipartisan support. If passed, the bill will be a significant step forward in addressing the challenges of political and social polarization in the United States. For more information on the status of the BCBA, CLICK HERE.

There are over sixty organizations that have signed on as sponsors of the BCBA. For a list of organizations and individuals that support the Building Civic Bridges Act CLICK HERE.

Tell Everyone You Know

Spread the word about BCBA and how to get involved! Below is some more information you can share along with our website:

The Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA)

One-pager here.

Official Bill for the 118th Congress here.

Official statement from Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office here.

Loren is a spiritual psychologist and a practitioner of Non-Violent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg’s game-changing work on interpersonal dialogue and conflict resolution.

Josie is a psychotherapist in private practice with over 40 years of experience. With a focus on the whole person, Josie helps families, couples, and individuals improve communication, connection, and increase mindfulness through self-awareness.

A pioneer in the field of complementary medicine, Kathleen co-founded the first acupuncture clinic in the United States, at UCLA. With her co-founder, Dr. Steven Rosenblatt, she founded the first five acupuncture schools in the US, known today as the New England School of Acupuncture and the California Acupuncture College. She is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an Integrative Medicine Consultant, a PTSD and Depression Specialist, holds a Ph.D. in metaphysical French and Spanish Literature from the University of Connecticut, and is a sought-after global lecturer on wellness and alternative therapies. In addition to her private practice, Kathleen is Director of Community Outreach for the Earth Harmony Foundation, author of Rene Daumal: The Life & Work of a Mystic Guide, and creator of the ground-breaking Cellular Meditation CD-series for Veterans and other PTSD survivors, funded by Graham Nash.

Julie co-facilitates the MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, the Topanga Peace Alliance, and has served as the Executive Director for both the Citizens Advice Bureau in NYC, and the Coalition for Community Health in Los Angeles. Julie is a social worker devoted to improving the lives of low-income families and children, having worked with city and county governments to better integrate services and improve outcomes for abused children, high-risk families, homeless persons, and other vulnerable populations.

Kathleen has served as environmental consultant to the U.S. Defense Department on their Defense and Environment Initiative. In partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Kathleen coordinated the “What’s Working in the World” program for the First Earth Run, an initiative that engaged twenty-five million people and 45 heads of state in 62 countries. Kathleen went on to work with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), creating the first-ever Personal Action Guide, which was translated into seven languages. She is the founding director of the Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED), and founder of Topanga Canyon’s most iconic bookstore, Bridge Building Books

Angela is founder of IMBUE Symposium, a philanthropic program designed to inspire, educate, and motivate students as they matriculate from school to a professional career. She is a seasoned expert in broadcast media, public relations, branding, sports, and entertainment, having worked both with entertainers and athletes as a representative/strategist; and with professional sports organizations in broadcasting, marketing, and print journalism. Angela has authored research on the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Susan is co-founder of SettlementWorks, a mediation practice in Marina del Rey, CA. As a family lawyer and mediator, she supports couples, families, partnerships, and groups in resolving disagreements amicably, restoring harmony to their relationships. Susan is the creator of Dynamic Family Resolution, a process that allows families to make decisions for themselves during mediation, rather than resorting to litigation. Susan has served as court-appointed attorney for the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center in South Central Los Angeles. There, she represented minors in court proceedings while also working with families and liaison officers to create the best situation for each child. Susan holds a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Kara Revel Jarzynski is the Executive Director of Resolutionaries, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Americans together through safe, facilitated conversation. With a broad background including education, public speaking, consulting, and corporate facilitation for Fortune 500 companies, Kara became interested in civic bridgebuilding after the 2016 election and the birth of her twins. Never had “talking less and listening more” felt more important. In 2022, Dennis Cohen, a lawyer and mediator with decades of experience bringing opposing parties to peaceful resolution, approached Kara with the idea of championing bridgebuilding on a national scale – through a bipartisan bill in Congress called The Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA). Inspired by the possibility of fostering civility and respect in the national dialogue, Kara began, with the advent of the 118th Congress, to spearhead Resolutionaries. In the time since, Kara has elevated the organization to national distinction, creating key relationships in the public and private sector, with academic institutions, and national nonprofits; while also serving a key role in building a 150+ coalition of grass top organizations in support of the Building Civic Bridges Act. Kara co-Chairs the Bridging Movement Alignment Council's Sector Engagement Working Group; and serves on the Advisory Board of Business for America.

Skip to content