Between Americans

Twelve Americans who voted for Donald Trump and 12 who voted for Hillary Clinton spent one year trying to talk across the political divide. Here's their story.

We The Public

On the anniversary of Election 2016, artists and neighbors came together in Westlake Park, Seattle to reflect on how we talk about politics and community today. Click here for more details.

What is this project?

On November 8, 2016, I voted for Hillary Clinton. That evening, as election results rolled in, a few friends and I sat together in a celebratory anticipation that dissolved into numbness and silence.

What buoyed me in the days after the election was the sense of community and vulnerability on social media. That silent acknowledgment that we needed each other for support felt so rare, and so nourishing, that I wanted to bottle it up—before routines, responsibilities, and simpler feelings smoothed it over for good.

I'd imagined a simple commemorative piece to the rawness of election night. Just American faces, overlaid with their social media posts from the election, woven into a tapestry that I'd share back one year later.

By sheer chance, a question flashed in my mind: what if the faces on the tapestry had spent the year talking to each other?

And that's how Into the Schism began, later renamed to Between Americans. In my initial vision, I would post two questions a month in a private forum, asking 24 participants to share their own political stories. The participants would respond to the questions, and if they wanted to talk more, they could call each other for one-on-one conversations, voice to voice.

That vision has changed quite a bit as the conversation took its own shape.

Click here to hear clips from the participants' final exit interviews and to read excerpts from their written conversation.

Further Reading

Partners in Crime

Chris Lewis is the wiz behind this site and the final web installation. A gift of a human being.

I'm Bo (Boting) Zhang. I'd left my job last year to work on independent projects, and got totally sidetracked by this in the meantime.

Each of our initiatives so far has been supported by a wide and shifting coalition of volunteers and supporters. Details are on each page linked from the top screen.

This project is partially funded through the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture smART ventures grant.

Sign up

From the beginning, this project has led me rather than the other way around. So I don’t know what it’ll want to be after Nov 8. Maybe nothing. But if you’re interested in following any updates if I have them, sign up for the mailing list here:

Questions?

If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Bo:

info@betweenamericans.org

it has become impossible for me to ignore the fact that the world we are creating does not come close to fulfilling its promise.

peter block, from community: the structure of belonging