University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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National Organization Braver Angels to Address Political Polarization with Campus, Community Partners

Statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Hall. Building a House United. A Local Conversation in the Land of Lincoln.


CHAMPAIGN, ILL — Experts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the national organization Braver Angels will make up a panel at an upcoming event as part of efforts to address the political polarization of recent years.

The event, “Building a House United: A Local Conversation in the Land of Lincoln,” will reflect on how the country got to this point of divisiveness and what steps are available to move forward.

It is free and open to the public and is scheduled for February 15 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center in the Heritage Hall. Doors open and refreshments begin at 6:30 p.m.

Registration is requested by February 8, at, and attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions upon registration and the night of the event. Late registration is possible as space permits.

Panelists will include Bill Doherty, Co-founder of Braver Angels and Professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and university faculty Scott Althaus, director of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research and Merriam Professor in the Department of Political Science, Avital Livny, assistant professor in the department of political science, and Colleen Murphy director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program and the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law.

Members from the local chapter of Braver angels will be involved as well. Braver Angels of East Central Illinois is an alliance of conservatives and liberals based in Champaign County that meets for monthly discussions and to further their mission of depolarization. Braver Angels State Co-Coordinators Matt Hausman and Chuck Stone will moderate the event.

“Conversations like these are critical to a healthy democracy.  Braver Angels is doing the work necessary such that we can reap the rewards of a diverse society,” said Vice Chancellor Garrick.

Co-Coordinator Hausman said there should be something at the event for everyone.

“Everyone realizes that our politics has become extremely toxic and divisive in recent years, but very few people have any idea what to do about it,” he said. “Braver Angels has been working on exactly that for the past six years.”

Part of the event will be sharing activities and efforts in the community that the local chapter of Braver Angels hosts throughout the year.

“We want every attendee to leave with some actionable solutions to this issue of polarization,” Hausman said. “It could be simply having a broader perspective of different viewpoints or strategies about how to better communicate with friends and family,” Hausman said.

The event is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the Humanities Research Institute, the Women & Gender in Global Perspectives Program, The News-Gazette, Braver Angels, and the Champaign County League of Women Voters.

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About Braver Angels

At Braver Angels, our work is about building a house united. Our mission is to bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic. We’re guided by the Braver Angels Rule: At every level of organizational guidance, red and blue leaders are equally represented. Regarding race, ethnicity, and social and economic class, our constant striving is to be an organization that reflects the country we seek to serve.

About the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The mission of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVCDEI) is to use the transformational power of our university to lead our campus toward an increasingly diverse and inclusive community that is open, just, and welcoming for all.

The units of OVCDEI include the Office for Access & Equity, the Title IX Office, Office of Academic Inclusive Excellence, and the Office for Business, Community & Economic Development.