For years, Roy Beck dedicated his career – as well as much of his life – to one of his true passions, journalism. At one point he was based out of Washington, D.C. and was a chief correspondent for the Booth Newspapers chain. He spent three decades reporting from more than 30 states and in over 12 countries. Prior to that, he completed his education at the esteemed University of Missouri School of Journalism.
He would go on to found NumbersUSA – a grassroots organization that is made up of an online-driven network of more than nine million people from across the country – in 1996. NumbersUSA is known as an immigration reduction advocacy organization and Beck cites a lot of the work that he and his colleagues are doing today as being influenced by the lessons that he learned as a journalist for all those years.
The Journey of Roy Beck
During his career as a journalist, Beck learned two very important lessons. Not only did he quickly realize that he had to get comfortable with the very idea of pluralism, but also with the fact that all people have their own opinions – and their own bias – on every subject. Because of this, he learned how critical it is to be honest with yourself about your biases. If you cannot truly eliminate them, you can instead work to understand them and learn more about where they come from.
Indeed, Beck has said that if he ever were to encounter someone that had a position on a topic that was different or even outright opposed to his own, he would always go out of his way to be as fair as he could in the forthcoming discussion.
Just because Roy Beck left journalism doesn’t mean those types of lessons left him. When it came time to put together the Board of Directors for NumbersUSA, he made it a priority to be as inclusive as possible. He wanted those differing opinions, and he wanted people who were willing to disagree with one another because in his mind that is how true progress is often made.
On the subject of diversity, he sees the biggest problem facing the country today as one of political polarization. These days, people have a tendency to come together based on ideologies – because of that, they’re less willing to partner with people who have differing views from their own.
When you invite these types of differing points of view, it can certainly make life harder for all involved to a certain degree. When two people are starting out on totally opposite ends of the spectrum, it will be difficult to get them to come to some form of agreement quickly. But still, the process is extremely important to Beck, and he’s always encouraged it at NumbersUSA from day one. He has indicated that it is something that he has been dealing with for nearly 26 years, but it is an approach that will not be going away anytime soon.
Since its humble beginnings in 1996 until now, NumbersUSA has become the largest grassroots immigrant reduction organizations in the United States. Its millions of members are comprised of not just conservatives, but also moderates and liberals as well. Though they may disagree on how to do it, their collective goal is ultimately a straightforward one: they aim to encourage as many members as possible to persuade their elected officials to help get immigration numbers back to traditional levels in an effort to help both current and future generations maintain their standard of living.
Beck has said in the past that, while he sees a lot of organizations separating people into ideological tribes based on specific issues, almost nobody is trying to do what his organization is attempting. That is to say, Beck and his colleagues want to bring together people from all ideologies from both sides of the aisle to work together on a common goal. By taking a pluralistic approach on the particular issue of immigration, innovation can’t help but thrive. That in and of itself may be the most important benefit of all.
Keep up with Roy Beck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/roybeck_nusa