‘Reach out, reach across difference and connect with someone’ | Opinion

United Way supporters came together during a 10 Days of Connection event at a potluck lunch for 150 people.
United Way supporters came together during a 10 Days of Connection event at a potluck lunch for 150 people. WSVN

It is arguable that the last time we were this divided was during the Civil War.

It’s easy to see where we come apart. Immigration. Gun control. The environment. Racial discrimination. Religious freedom. Parity in the workplace. Not only are our perspectives polarized, but we seem to have lost our ability to converse constructively across lines of difference. Sometimes it can be easier to just filter our news feeds instead of finding common ground.

The truth is we are far more alike than we are different. In moments of tragedy, we always seem to muster the courage to put those differences aside and stand together as people. After natural disasters. Acts of terror. Moments of personal tragedy. We know how to find common ground and we are clearly able to tap into our shared humanity when the moment requires it.

Friends, the moment — this moment — requires it.

Incidents of hate have skyrocketed. Civic discourse and tolerance for opposing ideas have weakened. We are so distracted by our differences that the health of our communities is at risk. We all must invest the energy necessary to re-center in our shared humanity.

This year, from May 1-10, we invite everyone in South Florida to connect across lines of difference as part of the annual 10 Days of Connection. Over the course of 10 days, there will be more than 100 events across the region focused on bringing people together to connect, hear new perspectives, build new relationships and make a statement that there is far more bringing us together than tearing us apart.

On May 1, you can grab dinner at the Wynwood Yard and enjoy 13 different types of music. Or join a walking tour of downtown with History Miami and Dr. Paul George. You can talk about race and equity at Tamarac Community Center, or join a wellness evening for people of all abilities. The full calendar is available at http://www.10daysofconnection.org/calendar.

If the 100 events don’t resonate, host your own. Invite someone to lunch whose perspective is different from yours, and learn what you have in common. Plan a potluck with the neighbors you’ve never taken the time to get to know.

But whatever you do, do something.

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey is founder and CEO of Radical Partners. This piece was co-authored by the 10 Days of Connection Leadership Team: Claudia Grillo, The University of Miami; Cori Meltzer, CFM Mediation; Leslie Miller Saiontz, Achieve Miami; Maria Alonso, United Way of Miami-Dade; Nancy Ancrum, the Miami Herald; Nestor Rodriguez, MCCJ; Stephanie Sylvestre, The Children’s Trust.

Watch the Miami Herald’s Facebook Live interviews with South Floridians who are making this community better for all of us. Join us 4 p.m. weekdays from May 1-10; facebook.com/miamiherald miami.