Clara Nevins on Being The Change You Wish to See in The World
The most important thing is to get back up again.
Clara Nevins is a social entrepreneur and activist. She believes in being the change she wishes to see in the world. Clara is the founder of the international organization, Bridge the Divide. Bridge the Divide is a political intitiative that seeks to promote political conversation amongst youth in a time of great divide in both American and global political affairs. They work to unite politically active students who desire to create change in the world by stimulating conversation between young people in a productive and respectful manner. Bridge the Divide is run solely by young people to work towards a more politically-prosperous, collective future for young people.
1. Humble Beginnings
Q: How did you get started and what or who inspired and empowered you to?
This summer, I attended an incredible political program at Yale University. It was there that I met one of my friends, Joe. Joe and I hold profoundly different political views, being a classic Californian and avid Hillary supporter, I identify as liberal. Joe is from the red state of West Virginia and wholeheartedly identifies as conservative. This made our initial conversations frustrating. After days of heated debates, we both realized we live in a big, complicated country, and there is no substitute for trying to understand people with different points of view and different ways of looking at the world. It is this type of conversation that brings us closer to understanding each other, and to tolerance which is increasingly rare during this moment in our nation’s history. If we don’t have these conversations, there can be no progress.
Thus, we founded Bridge the Divide We wanted young people all around the country, and even the world, to experience the kinds of eye opening conversations we were able to have with each other. The divides that are plaguing the international political landscape are not sustainable. In order to create real solutions to global issues, we need to be able to build bridges and start communicating with one another.
Q: What unique and creative strategies if any did you use when you were first getting started?
We really used social media to get started. We reached out to friends who then reached out to their friends—that’s how our network of ambassadors got started. Networking on social media is so important!
Q: What mindset distinguished you from others who were doing the same thing and how did you develop it?
I think what makes Bridge the Divide successful is the passion our leadership team has for ameliorating the divides in politics. Each person working on our team is young and believes in a future world without political polarization. We are all full of energy and drive! We don’t take no for an answer. Our mindset was developed as a result of our desire to truly create change and build bridges for our generation.
3. What is your definition of success?
I believe Maya Angelou, the great poet laureate, defines success well. She says that “success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Additionally, I believe that success is being relentless and rebounding after failures.
Q: What do you think is the main reason why some people face failure when going after their vision?
Anything worth going after or fighting for is inherently difficult and frustrating. You are going to have set backs, you will make mistakes, you will have experiences that feel like failures—and that’s not easy. The most important thing is to get back up again.
5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across and would like to share with everyone?
It may be cliche, but it’s true—“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi)
To view Clara’s work, visit www.bridge-the-divide.com
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