As a public servant and Portland city councilor, I believe that our nation’s progress is built on the pillars of listening, honesty and authentic engagement. I also believe that diversity illuminates our community.

But lately, I’ve seen our community become fearful and divided. The divide tears apart colleagues, friends and families. We no longer see those with different ideologies as partners in this great democracy, but as adversaries. This fosters anger, resentment and isolation. It’s not good for us, and it’s not healthy.

As a public servant, I applaud the many civic bridge-building efforts around our nation that are dedicated to healing this divide. I’m proud to stand as one of them. My work in Portland is for all the people – and for a civil democracy.

That’s why I’m proud to be an official endorser of the soon-to-be-introduced Building Civic Bridges Act. I challenge all of my fellow public servants to join me.

Beneath the many visible identities we all have as people, the one thing we have in common is being human. Let’s be courageous and embrace people who ascribe to beliefs different from our own. Let’s engage one another respectfully. Let’s find common ground and work to leave our country in better shape for those who come after us.

Let us heal. In the name of democracy, let’s heal.

I encourage everyone to join me!

Pious Ali
at-large city councilor; candidate for mayor

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