The Birmingham area was once plagued with racism, and the city made horrible headlines throughout the nation. The actions of the people of Birmingham were judged by millions, and things began to change. The long process of reconciliation began. This word has been used for over fifty years throughout the city. But what does it mean?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Restoration Academy. The forum was about how the city’s youth could come together and bridge the divide by finding the common ground of Christianity. They gave us many opportunities to sit down and talk with people from a different “bubble.” I had lunch with a couple of guys from Restoration Academy and learned about what their average day looked like. We joked around for a bit about food, jobs, and others such things; then the conversation changed. I started to ask them their opinions on many of the political issues that face America today. It was amazing to learn a whole new perspective on some of the issues I thought were one-sided. Even when we disagreed, the whole table gained understanding of each other and was able to find common ground.
We concluded that the way to reconcile and bridge the political divide was very simple at its core. One must only talk to and learn about a person to figure out why they hold the ideas they do. It is upon learning about someone that people can then find the similarities and work from there. If this simple tactic was applied to many of the issues that plague our country, then I have confidence that America would benefit as a whole. I was able to make some new friends and understand them better by just spending forty minutes talking to them.