PROJECT UPDATES

Economic Recovery for America’s Workers

As the economic fallout from the pandemic continues and a new Administration takes office, Convergence has continued convening a diverse mix of policy thinkers, practitioners, and business leaders on how to help low- and moderate-income Americans better connect to quality jobs with upward mobility. Unlike typical Convergence dialogues, which forge detailed consensus over many months, this group engaged in fast-moving conversations sharing intel, spotting issues, and identifying next steps for the work, as well as pulling forward select elements of our prior Working Up effort.

Convergence is preparing now to dive more deeply into solutions in 2021 with one or more Convergence Dialogues on employment, job quality, and removing barriers to opportunity. We’ve centered racial equity in the discussions because current job dislocations are hitting people of color, women, and those already in lower-wage work the hardest. We’re proud that business leaders as well as right- and left-leaning advocates, some of whom have been involved in shaping Congress’ relief bills in real time, have strengthened the ideas emerging from this group.

Convergence Dialogue on Guns and Suicide Prevention

This promising project is bringing gun rights advocates, advocates for preventing gun violence, researchers and public health experts together. The first few dialogue meetings (all virtual due to the pandemic) focused, as is often the case at Convergence, on shared learning, in this case building a deeper understanding of gun ownership as a key foundation. We’ve also looked together at existing data on firearm suicide and some key sub-populations we know face higher levels of risk like veterans and African American youth. We’ll continue digging thoughtfully into unique risk factors for Native populations and LGBT youth.

Although real and challenging differences among participants remain, in our last group meeting of 2020, we received words of warm affirmation from many dialogue participants with some holding out our dialogue as a rare place to respectfully work through differing views on what can be a very charged issue.

Given the economic and social isolation many are facing now, there’s an urgent need to think creatively and work collaboratively to prevent firearm suicide, which comprises over 60% of gun deaths each year and has been rising in recent years.