Tami Pyfer, Tim Shriver and the call to unite

Tami Pyfer, former education advisor to Gov. Gary Herbert, is vice-president of UNITE, a national organization started by Tim Shriver to change the culture of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ to just ‘us.’ 

She joined me recently to talk about her work as a “UNITEr” and what that looks like in an increasingly polarized world.

One of the first steps we can take to overcome our current problem of contempt is to find points of common ground: Can we see the humanity in others? Can we recognize their dignity? Unity does not mean become identical. Quite the contrary. It is our ability to embrace diversity as we work toward common goals that will bring about true unity. To quote Ghandi, it is “our ability to reach unity in diversity” that will be “the beauty and the test of our civilization.”

The founder of UNITE, Dr. Tim Shriver, spoke recently at the Herbert Public Policy Forum at Utah Valley University. “Whether we agree on every issue,” he said, “we can find ways to be creative on every difference.” He believes the number one problem we face today – and there are many – is the crisis of trust and meaning between us, which, as we’ve seen, leads to hatred, contempt and demonizing. “Will the uniter prevail?,” he asked. “Or will the divider prevail?”

Shriver also joined KSL’s Boyd Matheson to talk about the power of uniting and building bridges and Utah’s first lady Abby Cox to talk about Special Olympics, his book “The Call to Unite” and social-emotional learning in our schools.

What will you do today to be a uniter?