Colorado Unify Challenge brings together hundreds of Coloradans, inspires hope for the future of the state
99% of Participants Would Recommend the Experience to Family and Friends
May 17, 2022 (DENVER) – Over the course of three days in late April, The Colorado Unify Challenge took place, bringing together hundreds of Coloradans from every corner of the state to have frank conversations about issues that affect Colorado. The project was initiated by the Attorney General Alliance and its Chair, 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.
Designed as an innovative way to bridge increased divisions and to show the rest of the country that Coloradans reject political fighting in favor of collaborative problem-solving, the Colorado Unify Challenge was a live, one-on-one online conversation (like Zoom) with another Coloradan who may live across the state and have a different outlook on issues. Over 50% of the conversations were between Coloradans with expressly different political ideologies and other conversations were between Coloradans of different genders, ages, races, and/or geographies. Coloradans participated from across the state, representing 46 counties.
“What the Unify Challenge shows us is that when you take the time to sit down and talk with someone—even someone you disagree with—those conversations can be respectful and fruitful, and oftentimes you’ll find you have more in common than you thought,” said Attorney General Weiser. “While this Challenge engaged a small cross-section of Coloradans, it’s a start. Our vision is that others will take this experience as evidence of how Colorado can work together to collectively solve problems. And we intend to use this experience as a basis for a civic education toolkit that can be adopted by schools to build better civic literacy.”
As detailed in this video, many of the participants reflected on the value of a project in fostering optimism and the common good. As one anonymous participant commented, “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.” Other comments from participants included quotes like these:
- “We found that we had so much more in common than we expected and were able to have a productive dialogue on points of disagreement.”
- “This was an incredibly uplifting and beneficial conversation for my own personal growth and understanding of the complexity and nuance of issues.”
- “I think this kind of work is very important to the future of our democracy.”
- “Although we identify with opposite political parties, we agreed on almost every situation thrown our way. I wish we could have more conversations like this at higher levels of government, we sure would accomplish a lot more!”
Participants covered 12 different topics during their conversations and were asked to indicate which issues sparked the most interesting conversation. Those topping the list included information accuracy and the law, housing, mental health, and responsible gun ownership. When asked to rate the Unify Challenge on a scale of 1 to 10, 76% rated the experience an 8 or higher and 99% of participants would recommend it to friends and family.
While the Colorado Unify Challenge was an individual event for Coloradans only, there are Unify Challenges taking place that are open to the entire country. For more information visit www.unifyamerica.org/unify-challenge.
About The Unify Challenge for Colorado
The Unify Challenge for Colorado is part of Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s Ginsburg-Scalia Initiative, which honors the relationship between the late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. The initiative is committed to developing and celebrating the norm of respectful dialogue, listening and learning from different points of view and collaborative problem-solving.