What happens when Coloradans with different viewpoints ask each other the tough questions?

Illustration by David Parkins

The Ginsburg/Scalia Initiative, which honors the relationship between late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, celebrates respectful dialogue, listening and learning from different points of view, and collaborative problem-solving.

As part of the Ginsburg/Scalia Initiative, the Department of Law hosted The Colorado Unify Challenge in May of 2022 which brought hundreds of Coloradans from every corner of the state together to have frank conversations about issues that affect Colorado. The project was spearheaded by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, in partnership with former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and cross-partisan non-profit organizations Unify America and America Talks.

In this video, participants shared how the experience impacted them, and that they learned more about their similarities than differences.

“I really enjoyed talking with someone on the opposite side of the state, and realizing that our communities, despite the distance between us, are facing a lot of similar challenges.”
Unify Challenge participant

The Department of Law also created a documentary film that follows four Coloradans as they took part in the Unify Challenge for Colorado. In the film, follow Ryan, Marcus, Suzanne, and Wendy as they discuss some of the most difficult questions facing our state, from access to firearms to education to how to utilize Colorado’s natural resources. As they talk through these complex issues, they also learn more about each other and share how their experiences — be it surviving the Aurora theater shooting to running for local office — shaped their beliefs. Although the four live in different regions of the state and have different political perspectives, they also find common ground and form meaningful connections.

The film tests a theory — that despite their differences, Coloradans can agree on big goals for our state and country.

“This documentary highlights a central value of our constitutional republic—that more unites us than divides us. The way forward requires us all to engage in respectful dialogue with one another, learn from those with different views, and find common ground.”
Attorney General Weiser

Header images: Ruth Bader Ginsburg photo by Wake Forest University of Law, Antonin Scalia photo by Steve Masker.