Oxonians invited to share stories with HuffPost Friday

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2017

There are many ongoing conversations about what it means to be American. This Friday, the residents of Oxford will share their hopes and dreams for Oxford, as well as their definition of an American identity through the “Listen To America” road tour.

The “Listen To America: A HuffPost Road Trip,” is a 23-city, cross-country bus tour to listen and learn what it means to be American today. The multi-state road trip will spotlight personal stories and perspectives from across the U.S. to better understand what unites — rather than divides — the country. The ultimate goal is to accurately, humanely and emotionally capture the concerns, hopes and dreams of everyday Americans.

On Friday, the tour will come to Oxford.

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From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the “Listen to American” tour bus will be parked outside of City Hall. Residents are invited to step aboard the bus and tell their story – what matters most to them and what they believe being American means today.

“This is an opportunity to help showcase what we share as Americans, rather than what divides us,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill in a press release Wednesday. “We are stronger when we stand together and we are stronger when we are civil and respectful to one another.

“We need to challenge ourselves to really listen to other viewpoints and work together to understand all perspectives. Everyone wants and deserves to be heard, respected, and valued.”

The tour, fueled by a partnership between the National Institute for Civil Discourse (established after the tragic Tucson, Arizona shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) and Huffington Post, is an effort to interview and listen to people across the country. It will build upon the June 2017 US Conference of Mayors call to have all mayors “United to Revive Civility and Respect.”

HuffPost reporters and producers are traveling across the U.S. with a mobile studio to collect the stories of hundreds of Americans in their own words. HuffPost will create engaging stories along the tour, from first-person interviews to impactful deep dives. The “Listen To America” tour will use video, podcasting, newsletter, chatbot, text, in-person activations and HuffPost’s social media channels to highlight undercovered communities and issues. Additionally, HuffPost will highlight heroes in each location who have made a significant contribution to their communities.

At 5:30 p.m., Curtis Wilkie, journalist and author will sit down with Tannehill at Off Square Books to discuss progress, positive change and roadblocks to overcome.

“Civility is not about being passive. It is an affirmative act and takes discipline,” Tannehill said. “In our community, we are working diligently to improve the tenor of our politics and I’m proud to be working with others to spread civility nationwide. We owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, and our children to fix the crisis in front of us.”