Joan Blades is an “accidental activist” at the forefront of movements that have shaped American culture and politics. Through her various endeavors Blades has experientially acted upon an insight about the power of ordinary people driving change. She is the co-founder of, and another remarkable initiative called Living Room Conversations. In this timely video, she and her collaborator Mark Meckler share more about their work and their deep conviction that Americans can build bridges across  differences-- simply by conversing as a nation and regarding those with radically different beliefs as fellow human beings.


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  • Satu Jaatinen

    Wow, this is SO needed across the world now.

  • Patrick Watters

    “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for the children.” Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull - Hunkpapa Lakota, a relative)

  • Helen C. Gennari

    What wisdom~~to focus on finding common ground rather than the differences. I so appreciate what she is doing and hope that the idea spreads. It could be so healing.

  • John Porter

    What wonderful work you are leading. I find it very heartening. Keep it up. It gives me hope for the future.

  • Marie Altman

    Civil discourse is sorely lacking today. This demonstrates perfectly the antidote to polarizing opinions. It's an American tenet to be able to hold your viewpoint and allow others to hold theirs while giving and receiving respect. Dialogue between us is needed for transcending labels, pigeonholes, and stereotypes. I love this conversation.

  • Patrick Watters

    Wow, if only huh?! I find myself smack in the middle here. I get both of them well because I see some of me in both of them. And it is the good I see that wants good for others too. Yes, we have different notions about how that good can come about, but when we listen with humility and compassion we find the common ground from which our shared dreams can grow. We plant together, we farm that plant together, and we trust there will be a bountiful harvest for all as we surrender to the process. Lord have mercy, can we do this?! The politicians and corporations will not like what we are about together, but they will have to change, to adapt to our way if they hope to survive. Onward good people, onward together. No more red or blue, only abundant beautiful purple. }:- a.m.

  • Linda Babin

    We so need to have these conversations. We will never arrive at cooperation (essential now for our very survival on so many fronts) until we can talk to one another, listen to one another and begin to seriously look for our common interests. It has to be done with civility.

  • Colleen

    I would love this to me seen nationally. Noticed for the first time in a few weeks that I took a responsive deep breath! Namaste

  • Diane Vanderwerff

    Thank you, Joan and Mark, for giving me hope!

  • Martha

    First of all, this post election time has deeply perplexed me because the vote is so close. And I’ve been feeling sad because I think the “red” voters are not seeing the real picture. And then I thought maybe their desire for re-electing Trump is as strong and important to them as I’d my own view for Biden. That means I should relax, right? But how can they hold the views they do? More importantly, I just don’t even begin to under their perspective. How do we connect as a country again? This clip was VERY calming and helpful. Thank you.

  • Howard Olivier

    Inspiring proof of the goodness of people, period, once we move beyond being danced around the stage by puppet-strings held by so-called leaders. Think for yourself? Oh my, no that sounds too scary... Thank you Joan and Steve for reminding us that the only ones who need fear a conversation between folks of different views are the ones presently holding the puppet strings.

  • Ellen

    I also yearn to heal the divides in the US. Their work is timely and is exactly the encouragement I need to keep going and to keep at doing my own work to contribute to these efforts to achieve understanding and to heal the rifts that would hold progress back in the US.

  • Deborah Robinson

    We are for trump , doing what is best for the people, not the cabal

  • Brian

    Thanks for sharing Team. Very refreshing and encouraging...let's keep finding common ground and conversations of healing beyond the "divide and conquer"...Take care...peace

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    So important to choose to listen to each other, rather than shut each other out and down. Having witnessed personally what can happen when we reach across to each other and listen to each other, we see we have so many similar views. I share Free Hugs at protests and also at the polling station in 2016 when things were also deeply divided. And yes, our stories matter and the words we use matter, when we choose perhaps different words that are not so loaded... look what can happen. Beautiful. Thank you so much!

  • Kati Short

    I was just talking about this today. We have got to start talking to each other--respectfully. There's so much to be learned.

  • Cindy

    These two make it look so easy!


    I'm the owner/creator of a small retreat center with log cabins just outside Mt. Rainier National Park, and I have wanted Wellspring to be of service in mending our broken country. When Covid allows for gatherings, it would be my pleasure to support gatherings here for connecting conversations ! This is wonderful work !!

  • Ken Pyburn

    A place to start after one of the most confusing elections in my memory. Some of my Republican friends from my days a s did in the wool Republican years ago are getting more and more difficult to even talk on E-mail nowadays.

  • Babu

    From this video I am learning that to start conversations between two human beings on polar apart on critical issues can be done casually simply by changing the names of issues but still keeping to discuss the elements of the issues which can benefit to both individuals. So why not talk about them? I appreciate your thoughts and I want to learn and practice more until it becomes natural to me to engage with conversations with any human being. Please help me.

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