Barrington to Launch Year of Courageous Conversations

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Barrington, IL — Recognizing the need for better dialogue across divides, a group of community leaders have joined forces to launch A Year of Courageous Conversations—a new series to explore empathy, diversity and how to live together in difference.

To launch the series, they will welcome one of the nation’s preeminent voices on civility and compassion in American life, Krista Tippett—host of the Peabody Award-winning podcast On Being, author of Becoming Wise, and curator of the Civil Conversations Project.

Ms. Tippett will deliver a keynote address on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Barrington High School Johnson Auditorium, 616 West Main Street. Doors open at 6:30pm. Free & open to the public.

This series is presented by Urban Consulate and Barrington’s White House, thanks to support from Jessica Swoyer Green & The Duchossois Family. Following May’s launch event, monthly conversations will begin in September 2019.


Media Contacts:

Jessica Swoyer Green

Dr. Zina Jacque


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High-resolution images available upon request

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For high-resolution images, contact urbanconsulate [at] gmail [dot] com.


A collection of quotes from civic & spiritual leaders—

"A lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.”

 —Ronald Reagan


“We found that a single 10-minute conversation with a stranger produced large reductions in prejudice.” 

 —David Broockman & Joshua Kalla

“Society is a conversation scored for many voices. But it is precisely in and through that conversation that we become conjoint authors of our collective future, rather than dust blown by the wind of economic forces. Conversation—respectful, engaged, reciprocal, calling forth some of our greatest powers of empathy and understanding—is the moral form of a world governed by the dignity of difference.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“The greatest single antidote to violence is conversation, speaking our fears, listening to the fears of others, and in that sharing of vulnerabilities discovering a genesis of hope.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

"The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don't talk anymore, they don't sit down to talk and listen. They go to the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, update their status on the internet, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories."

—Paul Coehlo

“I write as one who believes in the dignity of difference. If we were all the same, we would have nothing unique to contribute, nor anything to learn from others. The more diverse we are, the richer our culture becomes, and the more expansive our horizons of possibility. But that depends on our willingness to bring our differences as gifts to the common good. It requires integration rather than segregation, and that in turn means that we must have a rich and compelling sense of the common good. Without it, we will find that difference spells discord and creates, not music, but noise.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”

—Brene Brown

“Civility and civil society look like different things. One is a personal matter of manners, sensitivity, politeness, tact. The other is a social phenomenon: associations, congregations, communities of commitment. What connects them is concern for the welfare of others, a refusal to let everything be determined by politics or economics, an insistence that human beings owe one another a respect that is not coerced or paid for, but simply because they are human beings.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. If we are going to change what is happening in a meaningful way we’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up and join, and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.”

—Brene Brown

"If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life." 

 —Barack Obama

"Face-to-face encounters have become increasingly rare—and because they are rare, they may be more memorable and impactful.”

—Kenneth Sherrill

“Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability - a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one's own best self and one's own best words and questions.” 

—Krista Tippett

“We have to be educated by the other. My heart cannot be educated by myself. It can only come out of a relationship with others. And if we accept being educated by others, to let them explain to us what happens to them, and to let yourself be immersed in their world so that they can get into our world, then you begin to share something very deep. You will never be the person in front of you, but you will have created what we call communion.” 

—Krista Tippett

“Without a moral vision, we will fail. And that vision, to be shared, can only emerge from conversation – from talking to one another and listening to one another across boundaries of class, income, race and faith.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship, acknowledging the complexity in each other’s position, listening less guardedly. The difference in our opinions will probably remain intact, but it no longer defines what is possible between us.” 

—Krista Tippett

“In a debate one side wins, the other loses, but both are the same as they were before. In a conversation neither side loses and both are changed, because they now know what reality looks like from a different perspective. That is not to say that either gives up its previous convictions. That is not what conversation is about. It does mean, however, that I may now realize that I must make space for another deeply held belief, and if my own case has been compelling, the other side may understand that it too must make space for mine.”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences—good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as ordinary courage.” 

—Brene Brown

“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!” 

—Brene Brown


A few statistics that reveal some room for learning & growth—


By 2020, most American children will be nonwhite. 


The typical white American lives in a town that is more than 75% white.


The typical white American group of friends is more than 90% white.


Nearly three-quarters of Republicans think foreign influence over the American way of life needs to be curtailed.


A majority of Democrats disagree.


The wealth gap between white and black Americans has more than tripled in the past 50 years.


The median net worth of white families is 10 times that of black families.


The number of years it will take for black families to earn the same wealth white families have today.


A high majority of black Americans think people do not see discrimination where it really exists. 


A majority of Republicans say the bigger problem is people seeing discrimination where it isn't.