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Shoe Company Promotes Reform on Social Issues


As part of the “Born in the USA” series, MSNBC’s Tamron Hall speaks to the founder of Common Ground, John Tawney. His business makes footwear a pathway to raising awareness of key social issues. John Kerry talks about how this election has divided our country. He says that people will have to begin a process of “reconnecting, listening and forgiving”. He talks about how both allies and adversaries of the US are watching what is happening in this country, and that we need to remain united in order to be good leaders.

One company that Kerry’s speech resonated with was Common Ground, a small US business. The company makes footwear and they promote marriage equality, immigration reform, gender equality, and gun violence reform. The shoes are meant to be a conversation starter and a reminder that we are all walking through this life together. John Tawney, founder of Common Ground, says he feels optimistic about these issues that have the country so divided. He says that despite what is happening at the Congressional level, people have the opportunity to listen to each other and understand each other, and therefore have a chance at progress.

Tawney says that there are three core principles: 1. You have to take the time to walk in the shoes of another person and to imagine things from their viewpoint. 2. Just like two shoes, we have to work together to make progress. 3. Our ability to impact the lives of others around us is tremendous. Common Ground takes great pride in hiring local workers.

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