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Language and the words we use possess the extraordinary ability to bridge divides and bring people together, fostering understanding and solidarity among diverse communities. However, when wielded maliciously, they can also serve as a dangerous tool for sowing discord and causing division. This week on The State of Belief, the weekly radio show and podcast by Interfaith Alliance, host Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush talks with crisis communications expert Helio Fred Garcia. They delve into the power of language, its implications, and discuss available strategies for resistance, particularly in the context of the current election year marked by an alarming escalation of divisive and dehumanizing rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“We can, at whatever level of society we happen to be at, we can be diligent and say, this demonization and dehumanization stops with me. I’m going to be the person who lives by the standard – and behavior that we walk past is behavior we condone. And so we need to call it out when we see it.”

– Fred Garcia, founder and president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group, and executive director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership. A coach, counselor, teacher, and public speaker, Fred’s books include Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. He’s on the faculty at New York University and Columbia University and is a past chair and long-time member of the board of directors of Interfaith Alliance.

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