About America Talks
America Talks is a powerful two-day event that invites Americans to connect one-on-one* via video across our political divides. Thousands of Americans joined these conversations simultaneously, and millions more will be inspired by their example.
America Talks is powered by My Country Talks, an international platform for political dialogue. Their algorithm matches people with different political opinions for one-on-one conversations.
*Some participants will be assigned to small-group rather than one-on-one conversations
America Talks provides a weekend of connection during a time of deep division in our country. Americans who sign up for the event will be matched into face-to-face, one-on-one or small group conversations across political divides. You and your conversation partner(s) will spend about an hour together, using our secure video conversation platform and built-in conversation guide.
America Talks took place the weekend of June 12-13, 2021. The main event kicked off with a short livestream at 1 pm ET / 10am PT on Saturday, June 12. Don’t miss the livestream!
Your assigned conversation starts immediately after the livestream, so please be on time. A backup event, including livestream and 1:1 conversations, will take place on Sunday, June 13 at 1pm ET / 10am PT for those who cannot attend the Saturday event.
A 2nd America Talks will take place on July 10th for a group who agreed to participate in an America Talks study.
Any American age 18 or above is invited to sign up for the America Talks conversation event. Participants will be asked to confirm these identifying details upon sign-up. Our two-step verification process (email and cell phone) helps ensure that signed-up participants meet our participant criteria. We will make every effort to screen out sign-ups that do not meet these criteria.
No! America Talks is free for all participants, and requires only that you have access to WiFi and a web browser (preferably Chrome or Mozilla) so that you can join your video conversation. You will not need to install anything on your device to join your conversation, as long as you have a modern browser that supports video conversations.
Getting started is as easy as clicking here and answering a few questions. After you sign up, America Talks will send periodic updates reminding you to how and where to show up and meet your match during the big event on Saturday, June 12 at 1pm ET / 10am PT or on the 2nd event on July 10.
America Talks asks participants to respond to a few initial survey questions. Our algorithm works to match people who are different based upon how they respond. For your conversation, you’ll be matched and sent to a breakout room with someone who answered some or all of the survey questions differently.
Yes! When you and your conversation partner(s) enter your conversation on our platform, you’ll be asked to review and agree to a set of conversation “ground rules.” If you feel that other conversation participants are failing to adhere to these ground rules, you will have the options of asking them to modify their participation, reporting the issue, and / or exiting the conversation. In our experience, compliance problems with the conversation ground rules happen very rarely.
You will be provided with a conversation guide, displayed directly in our video conversation platform, to help ensure a constructive interaction with your assigned conversation partner(s). Thousands of people across America will all be having the same conversation over the same weekend. We invite you to add your voice and perspective to this national moment!
Starting a few days before the event, you will receive one or more reminder emails with a link and instructions to join the view-only livestream kickoff event. At the designated time, you and your partner will be sent into a breakout room to join each other in 1:1, face to face conversation for about an hour.
Don’t worry! You can join our backup event instead, on Sunday June 13. We’ll send details that weekend about how to join the Sunday backup event. If no weekend date works for you, we invite you to explore and join the wide range of conversation options available during the National Week of Conversation, June 14-20 or find ongoing events in your area or online at Citizen Connect.
We love feedback! We ask that you share technical feedback within the video platform, and that you also complete the post-conversation survey by following the link at the end of the conversation guide. We will also provide guidance on how to share testimonials and “selfies” both during and after your conversation.
America Talks does not capture or record the audio or video from your conversations; they are private and intended to be shared between you and your assigned conversation partner(s). We may reach out beforehand to some participants, requesting permission to capture audio and video from your conversations. This is strictly permission-based.
When you join your partner in conversation, you will see their name as they’ve entered into the conversation platform. No other contact details or identifying information will be shared with your conversation partner(s). During your conversation, you have the option of sharing contact details with each other, if you wish to keep in touch.
We expect that many America Talks conversation partners will want to stay in touch following the event! To do so, simply exchange whatever personal contact details you wish to share with one another. This is at your discretion.
Your data is kept internal with the America Talks team. It will not be sold or given to any third parties. You will be given the option as to whether you want to be emailed regarding other opportunities to participate in events that seek to bridge divides and bring our country back from the brink of dangerous polarization.
America Talks (June 12-13) kicks off the fourth annual National Week of Conversation (NWOC, June 14-20). NWOC will showcase opportunities for Americans to have conversations despite differences in bold and energizing ways. Powered by 100+ hosting organizations, NWOC invites Americans of all stripes to listen, extend grace, and discover common interests. After your America Talks experience, take a second step the following week on this hopeful mission to defeat toxic polarization and heal America by transforming division and contempt into connection and understanding. NWOC events to join will be displayed on this website beginning in mid-May.
We also invite you to find ongoing events in your area or online at Citizen Connect.
America Talks is a fiscally sponsored project of Listen First Project, a 501c3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. Listen First Project leads the collaborative movement to heal America’s divides, enhancing the impact, visibility and voice of the interpersonal bridge building field by aggregating, aligning, and amplifying the efforts of 250+ #ListenFirst Coalition partners into large scale, collective campaigns and strategies.
Graham Bodie, PhD
Graham serves as the Chief Listening Officer of Listen First Project, helping to coordinate and align the activities of the 300+ member organizations of the Listen First Coalition. Graham also serves as a Professor of Integrated Marketing Communication at the University of Mississippi.
John is founder and CEO of AllSides, which delivers multiple perspectives on any topic to reveal bias, engage users, and connect people for civil conversations. He writes about bias, news media, polarization, and how technology impacts these things. Recently, his writings have been published by The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post and The Cook Political Report.
Pearce is the founder of Listen First Project and the #ListenFirst Coalition of 300+ organizations bringing Americans together across differences. Previously, Pearce spent five years working in Washington, DC, both in the U.S. Senate and as a national political consultant for presidential and statewide campaigns.
President, Cheryl Hughes Consulting
Cheryl works with local and national organizations and philanthropists to design and implement programs and initiatives that foster and measure engagement and impact. She works with her clients to develop collaborative partnerships and initiatives which advance organizational strategies.
Julia Kamin, PhD
Julia serves as Research Director at Citizens and Technology Lab, where she directs and orchestrates academic studies focused on the interplay between technology and governance. Julia also serves as Research Director at Civic Health Project, where she drives and coordinates measurement and evaluation of bridge-building and depolarization initiatives.
Brandyn is the Founder and CEO of YOUnify, which aims to reduce polarization and cultural divisions of all kinds in service of accelerating progress on solutions to the key challenges of our time. Previously, Brandyn served in leadership roles on both of President Obama’s campaigns and the SuperPAC NextGen Climate.
David, a publishing executive with more than 20 years of experience in newsroom management, business development, product management and audience growth, serves as Publisher and Executive Editor of The Fulcrum, a nonprofit news site covering efforts to improve the American political system.
Martin, currently the senior tech advisor to Living Room Conversations, served on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns. He later shifted to working in digital politics for progressive efforts at the local and national level. Martin is dedicated to amplifying transpartisan efforts that fight polarization through relationship building.
Co-Founder, Living Room Conversations
CEO, Business for America
David Broockman, PhD
Professor of Political Science,
Executive Director, Unify America
Program Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse
Deputy Editor-In-Chief, ZEIT ONLINE
Project Lead, My Country Talks
Matt Leighninger and David Schleifer
Co-Presidents, Public Agenda
Matt Levendusky, PhD
Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Chief of Staff, FixUs
Program Manager, American Public Square
Executive Director, Crossing Party Lines
Questions? Drop us a line.