Bridging Divides Initiative

The Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) is a non-partisan research initiative that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States.

We support efforts to grow and build local community resilience throughout elections and other periods of heightened risk, laying a foundation for longer-term work to bridge the divides we face as a nation.


We produce action oriented, responsive research where it can fill existing gaps or empower local leaders.

We enable cross sector collaboration, so individuals and organizations will be better prepared to mitigate risk and respond to crisis when it does arise.

We help drive the policy and community response, helping leaders at all levels advance a whole of society response, both to short-term mitigation and long-term root causes.

US Crisis Monitor

US Crisis Monitor began as a joint project between the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) and BDI to provide the public with real-time data and analysis on demonstrations and political violence across the United States.

Bridging Divides Map

The Bridging Divides Map is a resource for community building organizations and individual leaders to increase their network, coordinate, collaborate and focus resources to areas of highest impact. It includes over 3,000 organizations working tirelessly to build community from the local to national level.

BDI In The News

Throughout the 2020 Election, BDI engaged national, state, and local level leaders. We worked with media and groups across the political spectrum to track and mitigate political violence. Our work has been noted in a wide variety of publications, including:

BDI Updates

New Guides Offer Strategies for De-escalating Destructive Conflict at School Board Meetings

Resources highlight concrete steps for volunteers, elected leaders, and law enforcement working to protect space for civic discourse

Princeton, NJ -- A new collection of resource guides offers elected officials, law enforcement agencies, and members of the public concrete strategies to prepare for potentially contentious public school board meetings and to recognize and de-escalate conflicts. 

New Interactive Map Supporting U.S. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Movement

A new map released by the Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) at Princeton University provides a dynamic visualization of the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) movement, a comprehensive strategy to effect transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Issue Brief: Understanding Emerging Trends in January 6 “Political Prisoners” Demonstrations, January 2021 - January 2022

As the first anniversary of the January 6 attacks approaches, national attention has turned to conflicting commemorations of the day itself. A brief period of bipartisan calls for accountability in 2021 ultimately gave way to revisionism, and in some cases outright conspiracy theories, including from some Republican lawmakers looking to maintain favor with former President Trump.

One of the most concerning narratives includes framing arrested rioters as “political prisoners” by either denying documented actions or claiming cases are politically motivated. Few if any uses of the “political prisoner” narrative have been linked to wider calls to improve treatment for all prisoners or other criminal justice reform, suggesting attention on prison conditions is being used primarily to amplify divisive narratives and fear — rather than as an opening to engage on a topic with potential to promote bipartisan cooperation. Though currently limited in total number, the migration of these narratives from online discussion to offline demonstrations and activity merit specific attention.