Editor: In May, I was fortunate to represent Virginia as a delegate to the First National Assembly of The People.

The event – http://thepeople.org/ – brought citizens together from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in order to bridge political divides.

After connecting as real people (e.g., talking about family, personal experiences, etc.), discussing our visions for America, and stating our grievances about the current state of politics and polarization in America, we collectively drew up the Declaration of The People.

The declaration begins with a powerful phrase that addresses the failures of our political system and affirms our unity as Americans in order to “ensure a representative democracy and keep the exceptional promise of our Republic.”

Engaging with people who think differently than me at the National Assembly brought out the best in me and inspired me to do more. I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose for finding common ground with fellow Americans.

As I continue volunteering with The People by sitting on the Listening Tour and Policy Committees as well as by acting as one of the state leaders in Virginia and one of the regional leaders for the Northeast, I plan to ask more questions and dig deeper into others’ beliefs, so that I can be part of a conversation that is bigger than me and my own beliefs.

Cindi Stevens Copeland, Vienna

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