250 Gather in DC to Inspire Weaver Movement to Repair American Social Fabric

May 9, 2019

Three-day convening in Washington, DC, brings Americans from all walks of life who are working to deepen social ties and rebuild communities

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
202-736-2111 | Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org

Michael Skoler
Communications Director, Weave: The Social Fabric Project
573-256-9600 | Michael.Skoler@aspeninstitute.org

Washington, DC, Thursday, May 9 – The #WeaveThePeople three-day gathering will bring together people across the nation for the first time who are healing our divided society by weaving deep community connections. David Brooks, New York Times columnist and executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project, will open #WeaveThePeople on Tuesday, May 14 at DC’s Union Market.

These local “Weavers” will join donors, journalists, foundation heads, scholars and others already active in the work of building relationship and bridging racial, social, economic and political divides. The Aspen Institute’s Weave project is hosting the gathering.

The event will be staged in the round, town-hall style, at Dock 5 in Union Market, with small and large group discussions, murals by local artists and social events that include a block party setting with food trucks and live karaoke. Across three days, participants will explore their shared values, motivations and common challenges and then design how the movement can grow and propel culture change and social renewal in the US.

“In the same way the environmental movement came together to fight pollution and climate change,” says Brooks, “#WeaveThePeople is the coming together of a new social movement, the Weavers, to fight social isolation and division. These folks are connecting their neighbors in a thousand ways to weave an inclusive social fabric and counter isolation. #WeaveThePeople will help them connect with each other for even greater impact.”

Some of those attending #WeaveThePeople are:

  • Charles Perry from Chicago, who was incarcerated for 19 years and is a community organizer helping former prisoners reenter and young men avoid the path he traveled.
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick of New Orleans, who was shot at random by children during a gang initiation, saw their fear, and founded a center to provide a safe space for kids.
  • Monica Guzman Preston, a Latina journalist who founded The Evergrey newsletter in Seattle to bring community news to a large city and connect people across difference.
  • George Smith, who bucked the trend of businesses closing in Wilkesboro, NC by opening a distillery producing local moonshine and embracing a role as community connector.
  • Asiaha Butler, who changed her mind about leaving a dangerous neighborhood in Chicago to help local residents buy and turn vacant lots into playgrounds and parks.
  • Pancho Argüelles of Houston, who founded an organization to empower low-wage immigrant workers and works with those disabled by spinal cord injuries.
  • Katie Couric, journalist and author
  • Lisa Kay Solomon, Designer in Residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Design
  • Eric Liu, founder, Citizen University and Executive Director, Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program
  • Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Core Founder and President
  • Dan Porterfield, Aspen Institute President and CEO

The Aspen Institute started Weave: The Social Fabric Project to address cultural changes over the last sixty years that have left Americans divided, isolated and unhappy. Executive director Brooks sees a culture of hyper-individualism focused on personal success as the root cause behind social problems, from growing addiction and suicide rates to persistent inequity and today’s gridlocked politics. Brooks introduced Weave in his New York Times column.

The public can watch live and on-demand video of #WeaveThePeople discussions at aspeninstitute.org/weavethepeople starting Tuesday, May 14 at 2pm. The gathering ends on Thursday, May 16 at 2pm. The event agenda can be viewed here.

Editor’s Note: Journalists who want to cover #WeaveThePeople must RSVP to Jon Purves Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org by Monday, May 13, and check-in at Dock 5 behind the public area of Union Market to get badges. Photos, press materials and interview assistance will be available.

About Weave: The Social Fabric Project

Weave: The Social Fabric Project is a new initiative of the Aspen Institute led by New York Times columnist and author David Brooks. American culture has left people divided, isolated and unhappy, leading to social problems and a bitter, dysfunctional political environment. Yet across the country, people are weaving the tattered social fabric by bringing communities together across difference to support and serve each other. The Weave project aims to raise awareness of and spread this grassroots Weaver movement that is shifting US culture from an unhealthy hyper-individualism to relationalism, where meaning comes from deep community connections.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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