Starts With Us Founding Partners Leon Ford, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and Tony McAleer Share Personal Stories That Reframe the Meaning of 'Radical'
NEW YORK, June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Starts With Us, a growing non-partisan movement to overcome cultural extremism in America by fostering curiosity, compassion, and courage — the 3 Cs — as daily habits, today launched a video series titled "Radical Heroes." The videos spotlight extraordinary leaders, from a former white supremacist to a black man mistakenly shot by police to a religious leader with a unique ability to unite communities, who are driving change through the challenging work of showing radical compassion, curiosity and courage across lines of difference.
- Tony McAleer, a former white supremacist, who now helps others leave hate groups. In his video, which launched today, Tony discusses the transformative power of compassion. McAleer, author of The Cure For Hate: A Former White Supremacist's Journey from Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion, says, "If my counselor hadn't treated me with kindness, despite the fact that I had once advocated for the annihilation of him and his people, I wouldn't be who I am today. I came back to my heart — and humanity — with compassion, and now, through my work with Starts With Us and Life After Hate, I hope to help others do the same."
- Leon Ford, who was shot by police and paralyzed in 2012 when mistaken for another man, now works to improve relations between public safety officials and local communities. In his video, launching later this month, Leon shares how courage helped him move past a debilitating act of violence to create a safer, more understanding world for himself, his son, and his neighbors. He says, "My ability to have compassion and grace for myself extends outward to other people. No matter what you've been through, you can make your pain purposeful. You can collaborate, even with someone who has caused you harm. If we want to create the world that we want to live in, it has to start with us."
- Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, the first female and first African American minister at the Collegiate Church in New York City, published the acclaimed book Fierce Love in 2021 as a spiritual, practical antidote to our divisive culture. Rev. Dr. Lewis defines how to love someone who hates you through curiosity in her video coming at the end of June; she says, "Instead of starting with hate, I try to start with curiosity. In doing so, I quickly realize that the people I disagree with care about their kids too, and they've been wounded like I have. Through compassion and love, I believe we can find a way to talk to each other as opposed to each other's positions."
The series aims to re-frame how Americans think about the word "radical." Tom Fishman, CEO of Starts With Us, says, "Radical tends to have a negative connotation in today's polarized political environment, but when you see radical curiosity, radical compassion, and radical courage in action, it takes on a new and empowering meaning. This series showcases people who are connecting across lines of difference in ways that seem unimaginable in the 'us vs. them' atmosphere pervading today's culture. We believe if enough of us strive to practice the 3 Cs every single day, we collectively have the power to overcome today's culture wars."
Chandler Tuttle, CEO of Freethink and Starts With Us Founding Partner, shares Fishman's sentiment, saying, "On the news, we often see stories that stoke fear and emphasize what divides us. These stories do the opposite. They remind us that there are Americans actively working to overcome the tides of tribalism and dehumanization every day with curiosity, compassion, and courage. We're proud to be part of the Starts With Us movement in bringing these very important stories to the masses."
About Starts With Us
Founded in 2021, Starts With Us is a non-partisan movement working to overcome cultural extremism by fostering curiosity, compassion, and courage (the 3 Cs) as daily habits. Founded by Daniel Lubetzky alongside 150+ foremost leaders and cultural icons, including Adam Grant, Jason Alexander, will.i.am, Mark Cuban, and Dr. Bernice King, the Starts With Us community pledges to practice the 3 Cs every day while strengthening skills such as critical thinking, active listening, and nuanced communication. Learn more at www.startswith.us.
Freethink Media is a digital publisher on a mission to move the world. While most media is fueled by toxic politics and negativity, Freethink covers solutions: the smartest people, the biggest ideas, and the most ground breaking technology shaping our future. Across its two flagship sites, Freethink and Big Think, Freethink Media publishes over 50 new articles and short documentaries every week to a community of more than 10 million followers and subscribers. Watch the Freethink trailer to learn more.
SOURCE Starts With Us