By LEWIS DELAVAN
Re-printed from the Hot Springs Village Voice
A Villager believes that respectful conversation on serious issues will produce better results.
David Childs became involved in Braver Angels about 9 months ago after learning about it from a friend. After researching the organization, which promotes civil conversation between people with divergent views, Childs attended the Arkansas Chapter’s next Zoom meeting.
“I liked the people involved; felt confident that they were sincere and serious about the Braver Angels’ mission; so I decided to get a bit more involved,” Childs said in response to an email.
The national organization’s name comes from the first inaugural address of the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, at a time when political discourse was anything but civil.
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature,” Lincoln urged a nation poised on civil war.
Launched in 2016, “Better Angels” changed its name to “Braver Angels” in 2020, "to reflect the courage needed to bridge the divide."
It aims to bring together conservative-leaning and liberal-leaning Americans in a working alliance, through programs and workshops.
Childs, who enjoyed a career in local government in north Texas, says working together produces results. “Civil conversation promotes more conversation, more substantive, detailed and serious conversation. We have become a society that spits emotional anger and bumper sticker distortions at each other, causing many people, especially those who have something of real substance and value to share, to just shut down and no longer participate in dialogue," he said.
“Braver Angels is about restoring an atmosphere where serious, substantive discussion of issues can occur in a respectful environment. Such an environment is sorely needed if we are once again going to become a society that can civilly share our collective wisdom to solve our nation’s challenges,” Childs said.
He tells how he become involved on the state level.
“At the Arkansas Chapter’s next Zoom meeting, they started talking about how to conduct marketing and additional member recruitment,” he said. “I made several suggestions that they liked, so they outvoted me and made me membership director. "
Jeannie Burris leads the Arkansas Table Talk.
"The Arkansas Central Region covers Hot Springs and The Village; currently it is the only Chapter in Arkansas. If I do my job as membership chair, there will be more chapters soon," Childs says.
Braver Angels is a 501c3 non-profit group. Membership dues are $12 per year. Learn more about Braver Angels and become a member at www.braverangels.org or by texting BA to 66866, or, on Facebook @braverangelsarkansas.
By paying $12 a year to join Braver Angels via the national website ( www.braverangels.org), you qualify to be a voting member of our local alliance, Braver Angels of Central Arkansas.
To be involved or to volunteer, one must be a member, but the public is welcome to join Braver Angels programs and workshops, and there is no cost for attending any event, in person or online. "We also welcome clubs, organizations, churches, etc. who are interested in hearing from us, securing a presentation from one of our leaders, or who simply support our mission," the Arkansas chapter says.
Contact Glen White at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information. Or to learn more about Braver Angels or to request a speaker for an organization, contact David Childs at email@example.com.
Less than four years after his 1861 inaugural address, Lincoln implored citizens to come together, to ensure that those who had fought to preserve the grand experiment of a democratic constitutional republic had not died in vain.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," Lincoln concluded in his Gettysburg Address.
Co-director of field communications for Braver Angels National is Dr. April Chatham Carpenter, chair of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Applied Communications.
“Although I usually prefer working at the grassroots level, sometimes opportunities come along that allow you to serve and learn from leaders at a different level,” Chatham Carpenter said in a November UALR release. “That’s what happened here. I want to learn from the folks at Braver Angels National and do what I can to help further the mission of depolarizing America.”
“I believe that the work of Braver Angels helps bridge the political divide we face in our relationships and communities and is so important,” she said in the release. “The mission of Braver Angels is consistent with my department’s mission to foster the co-creation of better social worlds through positive communication.”