The 10 news organizations that make up Advance Local have partnered with Essential Partners, Spaceship Media, and Time and the Newseum for "Guns, An American Conversation." (See more here: https://www.al.com/news/page/guns_an_american_conversation.html.)
We've spent a couple of months bringing together people with a range of backgrounds and beliefs to have conversations about guns. Now, we're hoping to bring this spirit of dialogue and learning through matching people, 1-on-1.
In this Heart-to-Heart initiative, we want you to share your personal story about guns so that someone on "the other side" of the issue can understand why you feel the way you do. And, in return, we'll share that person's personal perspective with you, so that you can understand what has led them to their point of view.
We know that it may be tempting to share statistics, reports, or other information related to your stance on the gun issue. But this project is about sharing yourself and understanding someone else, not converting people with your talking points. We hope you will join us in that spirit.
Below, after you write a brief welcome note, we have provided 6 questions that we believe will not only help share your experiences around guns but help the person reading this get to know a little about who you are, and how that informs your beliefs. We want you to spend some time thinking about your responses to each of these questions. Put yourself in your reader's shoes. (After all, you'll be getting responses to the same questions from a stranger...)
Once you submit your answers, we'll match you (anonymously) with someone, and we will share your stories with one another. From there, you'll have the opportunity to submit questions for us to share with the other person, and for you both to answer one another's questions.
If you would prefer to fill out a physical form, please call us at 1-877-209-5717, and one will be mailed to you. Also, if writing your answers will be a challenge, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore options for submitting responses via audio or video.
Note that your email address will not be shared with anyone else. We are collecting it so that we can share someone else's story with you. You will not be put into direct contact with the person you are paired with; all interaction will be facilitated by our team. Also, we are collecting a couple of general questions about you so that we know a bit about who is participating. These first set of questions, before your welcome note, will not be shared.