Much talk has been made since the last election and the inauguration of the new President, of how divided our country is in terms of political and cultural views. Trust in people with different views, practices or looks has reached an all time low. While we are in the midst of Covid 19 and the renewed Social Justice awareness, our country is in the impeachment process of the former president. The fractures can seem overwhelming. Part of this divide can clearly be seen on political maps showing how people voted county by county through-out the U.S. However, very little has been proposed regarding how to bridge this divide and create a culture of understanding and tolerance for others. Unfortunately broadcast and social media has played a primary role in furthering this divide.
I am addressing this issue from the ground up with an urban and out-state/rural school exchange program. We must look to our young people and give them the opportunity to help solve this serious problem confronting the very foundation of our democracy. This can not be accomplished simply by relying on our political leaders or most of the "grown ups" in this country. They seem to be too busy to listen and therefore lack an understanding of others. This is a dangerous path.
Reach-Listen-Learn-Lead is a cross cultural exchange program aimed at bringing classrooms of urban and rural students together through web based and physical exchanges. It is based on the philosophy of existing international cross cultural exchange programs. It is designed for both Middle and High School age students. The program is founded on the premise of reaching out to others that are different and listening to their viewpoint. This in turn opens up a dialogue that can be the foundation for understanding. This dialogue can help inform and develop our future leaders. Visit my website at beyondthewallseducation.com and you will find more information as well as a Power Point that will give you more details on how the program works. I can also be contacted at email@example.com for more information. It may feel good to preach to the choir, or march and protest (all of which have their place), but we must also be willing to Reach, listen, learn and lead to help bridge the divide.