Courageous Conversations Series Returns for Second Season

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Want to be part of a local movement to foster greater inclusion and belonging in and beyond Barrington? We are all invited to join in a new season of Courageous Conversations created by and for our Barrington community. Featuring national guest speakers and interactive dialogue, the virtual sessions will take place from 7-9 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. Registration is now open for the first four sessions of season two where thought leaders from around the country will speak about Standing in Another’s Shoes (September), Parenting for Inclusion (October), Becoming America (November) and Healing Our Communities (December).

The first Year of Courageous Conversations began in 2019 with monthly gatherings at Barrington’s White House and continued virtually this spring. Over a thousand people joined in to be part of the monthly learning & dialogue about how to better hear, share & understand different lived experiences.

The new season begins on September 9th, 2020 with a new lineup of exciting speakers. Hosted by Barrington’s own Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque & Jessica Swoyer Green, the second year of Courageous Conversations promises to be a unique opportunity to expand their Courageous Community in Barrington and beyond.

“While we prefer in-person connection, bringing Season 2 on-line allows families and friends from coast to coast to join in our monthly sessions making space fore more diversity and multi-generational connection,” Jessica says. “Responding to the demands from last season and current events we are looking to explore how segregation affects our communities, raising culturally and racially conscious children, reimagining our social contracts and building civic trust.”

Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque adds those who participate in this year’s sessions will have access to nationally acclaimed authors, speakers, influencers and thought leaders. “Participants will be invited to put on the shoes of men and women who live lives very different from those who make Barrington home.”

“They will have an opportunity to consider what it means to parent children who will come of age in a world that is becoming increasingly diverse. We will also encourage conversation about what its means to live up to the ideal of our nation and to heal as a nation after the election,” Zina says. “We believe that the conversations will help stimulate new ways to move through the world and to be a positive influence in the world.”

Open to all age 15+ the sessions are happening online and advance registration is required to receive the Zoom link. Click here to reserve your spot today. The price is $15 per person and they are making a limited number of free tickets available. (Email here to inquire.) Before the sessions be sure to watch this short orientation video.

Here’s more about the individual sessions & speakers:

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 – 7-9 p.m. (Virtual)

We hear a lot that we are divided. But might we be disconnected? How do we bear witness to stories and lived experiences different than our own? Can stories help build bridges across borders and separations? Join Courageous Community for their monthly (virtual!) edition of Courageous Conversations hosted by Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque and Jessica Swoyer Green with special guests Todd Deatherage, Telos Group (Virginia); Tonika Johnson, Folded Map Project (Chicago) and Dr. Cynthia Armendariz-Maxwell, Sunny Hill Elementary School (Carpentersville).

Click here to register today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 – 7-9 p.m. (VIRTUAL)

How do we become racially and culturally conscious families? How can we best use our intergenerational voices to support inclusion and equity in our schools? Join Courageous Community for their monthly (virtual!) edition of Courageous Conversations hosted by Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque and Jessica Swoyer Green with special guest speaker Courtney E. Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream and contributing writer to On Being, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Christian Science Monitor & more. We welcome Courtney from her home in California, followed by breakout dialogue.

Click here to register today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – 7:00-9:00 PM (VIRTUAL)

We just had a presidential election. How do we reimagine our social contract and civic trust? Join Courageous Community for their monthly (virtual!) edition of Courageous Conversations hosted by Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque and Jessica Swoyer Green with special guest speaker Eric Liu, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen University which works to build a culture of powerful and responsible citizenship in the United States. He is also the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program where he started the Better Arguments Project. Liu is the author of several books, including Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility and Democracy, The True Patriot, The Gardens of Democracy, and You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. We welcome Eric from his home in Seattle, followed by breakout dialogue.

Click here to register today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – 7:00-9:00 PM (VIRTUAL)

This has been a time of great change, trauma and truth-telling, illuminating fractures in our civic life that require healing and repair. How do we practice that in community? Join Courageous Community for their monthly (virtual!) edition of Courageous Conversations hosted by Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque and Jessica Swoyer Green with special guest speaker Michael O’Bryan, founder and CEO of Humanature. O’Bryan is a practitioner and researcher in the fields of community development, organizational culture, and human wellbeing, with more than a decade working directly with resilient yet underserved populations, including veterans, adults in recovery, returning citizens, and families experiencing homelessness. We welcome Michael from his home in Philadelphia, followed by breakout dialogue.

Click here to register today.

The Courageous Conversations series is presented by Urban Consulate with Barrington’s White House and made possible by your ticket purchase plus generous support from Jessica & Dominic Green, Kim Duchossois, Sue & Rich Padula, Barrington Area Community Foundation, and BMO Wealth Management. To learn more, visit

As we prepare for the new season of Courageous Conversations, we’re also invited to take a look back at highlights from the first year which, Jessica says, was designed to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“In the months leading up to our launch, we spoke with dozens of community members and found that many people struggled to have hard but important conversations on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and more with neighbors, family members, office colleagues and others. Many were frustrated by the politicizing of these issues and the tendency to approach conversations in a paradigm of debate rather than of curiosity and learning,” Jessica says. “We heard that some people are afraid of confrontation, rejection and othering; some felt they could not be themselves or didn’t feel seen and represented within their communities. But all were looking for ways to be in conversation with awareness of their own biases and fears, mindfulness of how to stay grounded in response rather than reactive in emotion, and how to practice vulnerability, curiosity, and generous listening. We touched on much of this and more in the first season and hope you will join us for continued growth during this next year.”

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