UC Berkeley has a unique and dynamic history in regards to free speech, from the Free Speech Movement to the riots which occurred last year. While Berkeley has consistently been a hot spot for uncivil political dialogue, it is not the only place where this issue is faced -- all across the country politics is deeply polarized and rarely discussed in a productive manner. BridgeUSA attempts to address that exact issue on campus and in the greater Berkeley community through discussion events, debates, speeches, and workshops.
The purpose of these events is to build a bridge community -- one in which students and community members from across the ideological and intellectual spectrum can engage with one another not as partisan rivals trying to espouse their viewpoints but instead as a group working together to understand the various sides to an issue. The ultimate goal of a BridgeUSA event is to not only understand the viewpoint of those who disagree with you, but to also understand why they believe what they do. In addition, BridgeUSA events have a solutions-oriented approach: by exposing students to the spectrum of viewpoints on an issue, they can begin to think about how they would solve that issue.
After hosting many events last year, we began to brainstorm for the upcoming year and decided on the idea of a debate with speakers across the political spectrum, which will take place in February of next year. Since debates allow a wide spectrum of viewpoints to be shared and for a larger attendance than smaller discussions, we believe that it will be highly effective in illustrating the BridgeUSA vision and goal. Our budget for this event is roughly $5,200 -- these costs will include advertisements, travel costs, the venue, audio and visual, and speaker fees. BridgeUSA hopes that this event will leave attendees challenging their own beliefs, pondering diverging viewpoints, and empathizing with those who have differing perspectives. Please make a gift today to help us build a bridge community at Berkeley today!
You can learn more about our organization at www.bridgeusa.org.
Thank you for your support!