Note: This story was originally covered by CBS Sunday Morning. Find the full story: Braver Angels: Seeking to de-polarize America – CBS News

In August, Braver Angels of Michigan hosted a Red-Blue workshop in Traverse City to bring together individuals from both sides of the political spectrum. Half of them identified as Red, while the other half identified as Blue, representing the deep chasm that exists in our state. Our common goal? To narrow the divide and find common ground.

The workshop was part of Braver Angels’ nationwide initiative that began in 2016. Founded by Bill Doherty, a relationships professor at the University of Minnesota and a marriage counselor, Braver Angels draws an analogy between the political divisions in America and couples on the brink of divorce.

One key area of our Red-Blue workshop is to name and think critically about stereotypes by asking Reds and Blues to list what the opposing side called them. The Reds associated Blues with terms like Marxist/Communist, anti-2nd amendment, coastal elites, baby killers, intellectual snobs, tree huggers. Conversely, the Reds labeled Blues as Deplorables, racial bigots, conspiracy theorists, misogynists, for the rich.

Facilitators then encouraged participants to find kernels of truth within these stereotypes. These discussions continued for three hours, gradually revealing common ground and fostering deeper understanding.

Despite the deep divisions, participants demonstrated a willingness to engage beyond political labels.

“Due to a poor experience attending a “bridge building” event after the 2020 election, I was very apprehensive to attend a Braver Angels Red/Blue Workshop,” said Brent Swenson, a red who attended the event. “However, the Braver Angels moderators did such an amazing job of helping both sides be heard and humanized.  It gave me incredible hope that finding common ground in our politically-polarized country is actually possible!”

While Braver Angels has conducted over 2,000 workshops and continues to grow, we recognize that the political divide persists. Learn more about how you can help and get involved.