We find ourselves living in parallel and polarized realities that are sharing fewer and fewer facts by the day. Hate is on the rise and our faith in our leaders is at an all-time low. It is hard to dispute, given the unprecedented divide between the haves and have nots, the crumbing of our infrastructure and our renewed climate crisis—the very soul of our country is at stake. The choices we make now—whether we engage in the work of addressing our differences so that we can face our future collectively or retreat to our echo chambers—will determine the kind of world we pass on to our children and our children’s children.

We hail from different parts of the country and the world; we are the children of immigrants and the descendants of enslaved Africans; we are translators, trailblazers, code switchers and shapeshifters who successfully maneuver a complex, dynamic world. What we share is a common commitment to people and communities impacted by systemic injustice and a common dream of a world where everyone can show up whole. We all have a responsibility and role to play in making this a reality.

Third Settlements is our response to the call.

Photograph by George Del Barrio/The Vanderbilt Republic