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Post-election healing: Experts weigh in on moving forward, how to bridge divides

Kris Reyes

Nov 6, 2020

Those who are working on the ground to heal their communities opened up to ABC7 News about what it's going to take to reunite as a country when this presidential election is over.

When a winner in this historic presidential election is declared, a big question on so many minds and in homes all over the Bay Area has been, how do we address the tension and divides that have been exposed in the last four years?

It won't be easy.

ABC7 News reached out to those who are working on the ground to heal their communities.

"This is not a time to move on, this is a time to reflect, said Martin Reynolds, a journalist who is the co-executive director of the Maynard Institute. "I think there's been clear racial division and racism sowed by this administration, it's really undeniable."

A contentious election, a summer of protests, four very polarizing years -- many are not ready to move on. Instead they are calling for lessons to be learned, conversations to continue.

"We've got a lot of work to do to promote dialogue across racial lines," said Larry Diamond, a fellow at Stanford University.

At UCSF's Office of Diversity and Outreach, dialogue sessions are being held to help people heal divides and process post-election.

"There really can't be healing if the oppression that is faced today is the extension of intentional harm that has never been undone and addressed fully," said Dante King, an anti-racist leader and communicator who helps facilitate some of the sessions.

In Daly City, Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo got a troubling call -- a resident who felt uncomfortable about displaying an American flag.

"She felt worrisome that there would be some backlash with her putting up a flag, and so for me to hear that was disheartening," said Manalo. "We need to ensure that there's respect for one another and remember our humanity."

Diamond and Reynolds say it will take more than just election results, to heal divides.

"Each side should listen with an open mind and not try to persuade the other at this point. Let's talk to each other and find out what motivates us," said Diamond.

"I don't think it's about changing hearts and minds, I think it's about where we can find commonality," said Reynolds.

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