"Listening Beyond Division"

Thursday, August 11 at The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan, in Oklahoma City

Our “In the Light Bulb Room" discussion series takes its central motif from Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man. Confronted by racism and disillusionment, the book's narrator retreats underground to tell his story. He turns his basement bunker into a space of reflection, healing, experimentation, and—having hot-wired the room with 1,369 light bulbs—literal illumination with regard to truths about himself and the society in which he lived. In Ellison’s spirit, and through engaging with his work and legacy, we hope to create a similar zone of free exploration, multicultural good will, and open conversation as we engage with the issues of our own time.

For our session on August 11, "Listening Beyond Division," we will present an open forum designed to respond to the difficult and stressful moment in which we now find ourselves in the summer of 2016. This election cycle has been filled with polarizing rhetoric about pressing national problems, particularly with regard to race in America, and recent tragic events have highlighted attitudes of increasing division. In response, our panel-based evening will ask participants to consider their deep concerns and listen to those of others with the aim of taking the conversation beyond politics. This event will not be an evening to advance partisan agenda or endorse candidates; instead, it will present an opportunity to listen and understand the hopes and fears of our neighbors, open ourselves to multiple perspectives, and acknowledge our shared humanity in the name of a greater sense of community in OKC.

Dr. Belinda Biscoe

Dr. William Tabbernee

Ann Thompson

Guest speakers include Dr. Belinda Biscoe, Associate Vice President for Outreach at the University of Oklahoma, The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, and Ann Thompson, Executive Director of Oklahoma Humanities. Discussion sessions will follow our panel presentation. The Ralph Ellison Foundation is proud to partner with the Temple B’nai Israel, the Respect Diversity Foundation, and the East Sixth Street Christian Church in presenting this event.
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