Stand Together CEO Brian Hooks on the power of faith communities in healing divides

People sitting in a circle at the Faith Angle Forum

This month, The Faith Angle Forum — an organization that aims to strengthen reporting and commentary on how religious believers, religious convictions, and religiously grounded moral arguments affect American politics and public life — convened journalists and speakers for a two-day event focused on polarization, race, and religion in America.

Stand Together CEO Brian Hooks and One America Movement President Andrew Hanauer, a partner of the Stand Together community, joined the conversation to discuss the role that faith communities play in combating toxic polarization. Brian highlighted that many who work in philanthropy are choosing to partner with religious leaders “because they bring local credibility, can quickly amass volunteers during times of duress, and can draw upon infrastructure” amidst real-time problems.

Andrew added, “Our work is not about selling people on depolarization, it’s not about getting them to be more moderate and more centrist. It’s about helping people be the best version of the thing they already say they believe in.” Stand Together is partnering with groups like One America as part of its community’s Courageous Collaborations initiative to bridge divides and help millions of people improve their lives.  

“The problems of polarization are unlikely to be solved if we just focus on polarization at the surface, if we just try to address polarization itself. Rather, it will require that we bring people together and help them see a path to applying the skills that they have to help improve the lives of others. And as we do that, we’re going to remind people in a really visceral way that despite all of these things that we focus on that divide us, there is always more that unites us, there’s always more that we have in common,” said Brian. 

Addressing divisiveness will come from engaging a diverse ecosystem of social entrepreneurs, of which faith leaders are one part, and our community is eager to continue this important work. 

Click here to watch Brian and Andrew’s full session.

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Photo credit: Boris Zharkov Photography