Allelo's Call to Civil Discourse

By Allelo Team

January 8, 2021

The United States Capitol Building during January 6th 2021

Yesterday was a jarring moment, the starkest example yet of how polarization and misinformation undermine our democracy, well-being and confidence in the institutions and beliefs that bond us as Americans.

This has been a challenging season for parents, educators and students (many of them our peers and platform users), especially those who value productive, robust debate and civics education.

While the full impact of a brazen attack on our Capitol is still unfolding, it provides yet another example of why we are committed to our mission: improving online civil discourse among a new generation of learners.

The dramatic shift of our learning and civic square online has laid bare how disinformation, toxicity and intimidation degrade productive civil disagreement. While we applaud social platforms freezing those inciting violence, simply silencing those whose language is dangerous and provocative is not a sustainable solution. This is not the lesson we want the millions of students watching to learn. It isn’t up to social media platforms to teach discourse skills. This is, instead, our collective responsibility.

This is a disorienting moment, but we applaud the educators, journalists and politicians who have shown us examples of discourse that rises above polarization. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, speaking after the attack about the role of civics in uniting us, said, “You can’t do big things together as Americans if you think other Americans are the enemy.”

Since our launch last fall, all of us at Allelo have watched robust, sometimes intense, but always respectful discourse happen on our platform around the most charged topics of the day: race, athletes’ activism, Confederate monuments, campus free speech and this week, the #DisruptTexts movement roiling some schools. We’ve watched discourse open eyes, minds and sometimes even help opponents find common ground.

Education is the key to defusing the growing polarization fraying the fabric of our society. We are proud and humbled to provide a platform to help teach and host positive discourse. Many of our team voted for the first time in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania this November. While we didn’t all vote the same way, we shared an excitement about being in the heart of a historic moment. As we look ahead, we hope this week’s stunning events will re-invigorate our collective commitment to discourse that leads to a stronger, better America for all. And if you are an educator, reach out, we’d love to help you use our platform in your classroom.

The Allelo Team

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