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T H E S E R I E S

As America becomes increasingly diverse, we are also dangerously polarized—not just in our politics, but our everyday lives. The good news? We can change this, if we’re willing to try. Join us to explore our greatest challenge—how to live together in difference.

Beginning in 2019, we are inviting Barrington area community members and guest experts for a series of monthly talks designed to spark critical inquiry, awareness & growth. Topics include: The Art of Listening, Cultivating Curiosity, Understanding Privilege, Confronting Prejudice and Practicing Courage. Read more below.

T H E H O S T S

This series is made possible thanks to generous support from Jessica Swoyer Green & Kim Duchossois, and presented through a unique urban/suburban partnership between Urban Consulate, a national network of parlors for civic exchange, and Barrington’s White House, the historic cultural center in the heart of downtown Barrington.

T H E P L A C E

Thirty-five miles northwest of Chicago, in the countryside Village of Barrington, residents recognize the need to reach beyond their own lived experiences to better understand diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

By the numbers, Barrington is fortunate. Beloved for its traditional charm, great schools, and quality of life, it is kind, generous and open to learning how to be the most welcoming and inclusive community it can be.

T H E S T O R Y

After venturing off to other cities, two daughters of Barrington, Jessica Swoyer Green & Claire Nelson, found themselves struggling to talk about social issues back at home. Through conversations with Zina Jacque and Lauren Hood, and the help of their families, they began hatching a series for learning & exchange—A Year of Courageous Conversations.


T H E H O S T S

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B A R R I N G T O N ’ S W H I T E H O U S E

Located 35 miles northwest of Chicago, Barrington’s White House began with a vision to turn a historic home on Main Street into the heart of the town. Built in 1898 and renovated in 2017, the house now serves as a welcoming cultural center for meetings, classes, exhibits, concerts & celebrations.

Originally the home of John and Julia Robertson Jr., today it is owned by the Village of Barrington and supported by the Friends of Barrington’s White House, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, for the benefit of the community.

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U R B A N C O N S U L A T E

Urban Consulate is a national network of parlors for civic exchange. A winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, the Consulate hosts conversations in Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans & other great American cities to bring people together and share ideas for better communities.

Through parlor talks & dialogues on topics ranging from civic engagement to racial equity, the Consulate invites diverse guests to ask hard questions, share knowledge and build trust & understanding across different perspectives.


C U R A T O R S

D R . Z I N A J A C Q U E

Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque brought her ministry and talents to The Community Church of Barrington in February of 2007. She has served on the staffs of multicultural, urban and suburban churches, both large and small. Rev. Zina has done extensive work in the areas of education, counseling, and support programs, and has been involved with many civic and philanthropic endeavors, including serving on the boards of JourneyCare, the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs, and the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago. In addition to her Doctorate in Practical Theology and Masters of Divinity (Summa Cum Laude) from Boston University, she has a Masters of Education from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.

L A U R E N H O O D

Lauren brings an authentic perspective to community engagement & development. Through her consultancy Deep Dive Detroit, she conducts popular community conversations, workshops, dialogues & dinners on racial equity and ethical redevelopment for civic, philanthropic and institutional clients. An advisor to Urban Consulate, Lauren serves on the City of Detroit Planning Commission and has been a fellow of Leadership Detroit, PlaceLab Chicago, and Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program. An avid traveler, she has participated in several exchange delegations with Aspen Institute, Civic Commons, 880 Cities & more. Lauren received her Masters in Community Development from University of Detroit Mercy.

J E S S I C A S W O Y E R G R E E N

A Barrington native, Jessica has been an active member of the Chicagoland philanthropic community for the past decade. After participating in a SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) seminar, the experience led her to seek meaningful ways to mindfully expand inclusion & diversity within her sphere of influence. She serves on the board of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) to promote interfaith cooperation in higher education, and was a founding member of the Chicago leadership council of Upwardly Global to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants & refugees. As Vice President of The Duchossois Family Foundation, she stewards investments in education & wellness. Jessica received her BFA in Dance from University of Illinois and MA in Arts Criticism from City University London.

C L A I R E N E L S O N

A Barrington expat, Claire is founder of the Urban Consulate, a network of parlors for civic exchange. A winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, the Consulate hosts conversations in Detroit, Philadelphia & New Orleans to bring people together and share ideas for better cities. Over the last two decades, she has led several projects to promote community engagement, including Urban Innovation Exchange, Model D, On the Ground, Declare Detroit, Open City, Mind the Gap and Bureau of Urban Living. Claire studied architecture & urbanism at Smith College and Columbia University’s Shape of Two Cities: New York/Paris program, and was a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome. New Orleans & Detroit are her homes.


A D V I S O R S & P A R T N E R S


C O N V E R S A T I O N T O P I C S

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DEFINING COURAGE

What are we afraid of? What does it mean to have courage? Let's learn about the neuroscience of fear & courage, what is really going on inside our brains, and what tools & techniques we can use to control & respond.


PRACTICING MINDFULNESS

Our lives are stressful and busy, and our anxiety can impact our social interactions, especially those with whom we disagree. How can we practice mindfulness to bring our attention to the present moment, allow ourselves to think & breathe, and create space between ourselves & our reactions?


CULTIVATING CURIOSITY

We are born with wide eyes of wonder—but this curiosity can fade with age. How do we keep our fervor for learning, understanding & adapting to the changing world around us? How can we check our tendencies toward stubborn certainty, false confidence or confirmation bias? How do we remain open-minded to new ideas & different perspectives?


THE ART OF LISTENING

Active listening with less judgment and more curiosity, humility & empathy is a skill that takes training & practice. Journalists, therapists & clergy are taught this—how can more of us learn?


UNDERSTANDING PRIVILEGE

We often say we are “blessed” or “fortunate," but do we really know how much? Let's look at the numbers, regionally & nationally, and learn about our place within a historical context and contemporary systems & structures. How can we use any advantages we may have for good?

CONFRONTING PREJUDICE

How should we respond to discrimination when we encounter it? How do we respectfully correct misinformation or stereotypes we may hear at home, school or work? How can we counteract biases, from xenophobia to homophobia? What does it mean to be a good ally or upstander?


CHALLENGING SEPARATION

The demographic maps are clear: we sort ourselves geographically and socially based on race & class. Where we live and spend our time can inflame polarization and harm social mobility. How can we become more proximate to people with different lived experiences? How can we disrupt patterns of segregation for greater diversity & inclusion?


PAYING IT FORWARD

How does our spending and giving align with our values? How can we be more conscientious investors and consumers? How can we share resources for the common good? Let's talk about ways we can each be a part of creating a more inclusive economy.


FOSTERING BELONGING

Have you ever felt out of place? What does it feel like to be a minority in a room or community? Courageous Barringtonians share their stories of seeking belonging & acceptance while staying true to their authentic selves, identities, cultures, and faiths. How can we ensure everyone feels equally welcome & valued in our community?


PRACTICING COURAGE

How can we apply what we've learned through this series in our everyday lives? Courage Fellows share their learnings, pledges & commitments—and invite friends & neighbors to join in practicing courage.


 
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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “DIFFERENCE”?

 

When you hear the word "difference” do you think first of political partisanship? That's certainly part of the story, but not the full picture of who we are as humans. For this series, we are interested in exploring the many identities we carry—origin, background, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ideology & more—that inform our beliefs, attitudes, preferences (and yes, politics).

 

This series is made possible thanks to generous support from

J E S S I C A S W O Y E R G R E E N

K I M D U C H O S S O I S

S U E & R I C H P A D U L A


 

Would you like to support this series?

Thank you for your support to bring top-notch guest experts to Barrington!

Urban Consulate, a national initiative, is producing this series in partnership with Barrington’s White House and Barrington area community advisors & partners.

Supporters can make a tax-deductible donation to the Urban Consulate Fund at Miami Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, by completing the donation form below. Write “Courageous Conversations” in event line and your contribution will be earmarked exclusively for the costs of producing this series.

All donors will be credited in program materials, with our deep appreciation!