As the world grows more connected with the help of digital communications, more cracks can be found in people’s relationships with each other. The division is not only observed in terms of political opinions but also in their economic decisions, lifestyle preferences, and social engagements, to name a few. More often than not, these incongruencies lead to conflicts, and conflicts result in dissolutions and, at worst, violence. Believing in the power of conversations to bridge the gaps among those holding opposing views, Jonathan Rivera has created a movement dedicated to driving change.
As the founder of Conversational Activism, Jonathan Rivera is not only fueled by the goal of breaking the stigma of activism but is also motivated to highlight the importance of conversations as a way to solve division. “I wanted to change the way we see activism and look into the possibility of having a dialogue with friends I don’t agree with as well as those who hate me,” shares the visionary. Armed with a clear-cut vision of what he wants to translate into reality in the future, he visits new places to talk to people who are deemed controversial and may be misunderstood because of their beliefs.
This purpose-driven personality, who is set about making a difference in the world, is neither a journalist nor a politician. He first started in the airline industry as an engineer, working with American Airlines back in 2014 and on the receiving end of chances to travel the world. Through his travels, he managed to meet people from all walks of life, which led to the development of a deep-seated appreciation for the utility of conversations.
At the core of Jonathan Rivera’s brainchild is the recognition that differences can be opportunities for growth and learning. While facing these divergences can be tough and challenging, doing so may birth understanding and unity. Additionally, discussions that seek to clarify — instead of arguing — also enable a person to perceive others as fellow humans and not enemies on the other side of the fence.
So far, Jonathan Rivera has had conversations with the heads of the Republicans, members from Pro-Life groups, as well as Abortionists, one of the founders of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and even one of the protesters that stormed the US Capitol. In these discourses, the engineer by trade prioritized listening and learning about the roots of their beliefs over debating, establishing the space between him and the other party as safe and non-judgmental.
In the coming years, Jonathan Rivera aims to remain committed to the mission of talking to as many polarizing individuals as possible. Furthermore, he hopes to expand his reach and propel Conversational Activism toward the limelight by gracing universities, companies, and conferences. Regardless of the nature of his future initiatives, one thing is guaranteed: they will all be intended to emphasize how far conversations can build communities.
Learn more about Jonathan Rivera by visiting his Instagram page.