Members of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, along with reporters from HuffPost, rolled onto the University of Arizona mall for the “Listen To America” bus tour Friday, Oct. 20.
The tour, which runs between Sept. 12 to Oct. 30 and visits 25 cities, asks people to share their stories and how they think they can better relate to those on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, felt the tour came at a perfect time for Tucson, considering the nation’s political climate.
“I think the bus tour is trying to chip away at the feeling that many people have that they aren’t being listened to, and that their views are not being represented – or are being misconstrued – especially by the media,” he said.
For Hillary Frey, director of editorial strategy for HuffPost, the tour is a perfect opportunity to hear voices from both sides.
“What we want to do is hear from people who live in different communities about what they care about,” she said. “I think we cover so much national news and big national stories that are super important, but when you get out into different parts of the country and talk to people about where they live, you just learn so much and you have a completely different perspective on what matters to people on a day to day basis.”
The NICD, which operates out of the UA School of Government and Public Policy, is having its travel on the tour sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Raquel Goodrich, the deputy director of the NICD, has set up the stops, contacted city and town mayors, and marketed the arrival of the bus tour so that word reaches the ears of people living along the tour’s route. She feels the tour brings a much needed dialogue.
“These stops have been a moment for these people to pause and reflect to think about what are those things that are important to them, what does it mean to be an American, and what are their hopes and dreams for the future?” Goodrich said.
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