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 is a joint project between the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) and BDI that provides 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. 

Issue Brief: Unaffiliated Armed and Unidentified Communal Militia, January 2020 - June 2021

This brief examines trends in 416 instances of armed actors and incidents involving guns at protests recorded by ACLED, where the armed actors were not reported to be affiliated with a named paramilitary or militia organization.

The majority of people arrested in connection with the Capitol attack were not affiliated with militia organizations. These groups continue to be a reality in the US protest environment. Moreover, the attack on January 6 was preceded by a year of multiple notable trends in these types of armed actors at protests. For example, over 94% of all recorded armed counter-protests were in opposition to BLM, defund the police, or anti-confederate monument protests.

Report: Election 2020 Political Violence Data and Trends

The post-election to inauguration period—the 11 weeks from Wednesday November 4, 2020 to Wednesday January 20, 2021—is a unique period of the US electoral calendar. Data on political mobilization and violence from this period tell us something both about what we might expect in the post-election period of future elections, and also offer a first glimpse of what we might see in terms of more immediate political violence in post-Trump America.