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The National Conversation
This year on April 13, Thomas Jefferson’s 276th birthday, Americans from all backgrounds, including those from communities impacted by anti-Muslim bigotry, will gather for in-person and online video conversations to reflect on the America we want to be.
Jefferson was a complicated man. He was the primary author of our Declaration of Independence and a spokesman for democracy. Remarkably, Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur’an. He also enslaved Black men, women, and children.
Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an would later be used during the congressional swearing in ceremony of Keith Ellison, one of the few African Americans elected to Congress and the first-ever American Congressman of Muslim faith. For the first time, in 2019, two Congresswomen of Muslim faith were also sworn in on copies of the Muslim holy book.
Although Americans of Muslim faith now occupy some of the highest positions in U.S. politics, a majority of Americans still claim to have seldom or never spoken to a Muslim person (Public Religion Research Institute, 2017). In small towns and even diverse metropolitan communities, we rarely take the opportunity to speak with our neighbors.
In the face of this challenge, Living Room Conversations and America Indivisible invite Americans of all backgrounds to join us for a discussion about the America we want to be. We invite those who have been impacted by anti-Muslim bigotry (which may include South Asian, Arab, Sikh, Black, and other communities) to join their allies and neighbors in small-group conversations. All you have to do is sign up to join, and we’ll do the conversation matching to ensure that a rich mix of diverse experiences are represented in each group.
Who should join? All are welcome! We encourage individuals in small-town communities and parts of the country with limited connections with Muslims, Sikhs, South Asians, Arabs, African and Black communities to participate as well as others who have been impacted by anti-Muslim bigotry. We will match diverse participants with each other to ensure enriching discussion and opportunities for new learning.
How can I get involved? Sign up to join this free event as a host or participant for either an in-person or online video conversations on April 13, 2019. All conversations will last a total of 90 minutes and conversation groups will include approximately 5-6 people.
Host perks: By signing up to host either in-person or online video conversations you will receive host training and optional media training with ReThink Media to share your experiences with local media outlets after the event. Hosts will receive additional guidance on how to reserve space in public libraries, local museums, religious and cultural centers, as well as other public institutions for in-person conversations.
Participant perks: Get connected to conversation partners from across the country! Engage in deep and meaningful dialogue about challenging and enlightening themes in a respectful, lightly structured conversation. In preparation for the conversation, you may choose to review the conversation guide, “America We Want to Be: Founding Aspirations.”
If participating in an online conversation you will need a device with a webcam to participate. Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance.
Living Room Conversations is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 as a result of a transpartisan partnership focused on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation. Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
America Indivisible is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization addressing anti-Muslim bigotry and its impact on communities perceived to be Muslim. We work with a coalition of 18 partner organizations to build neighbor to neighbor ties in communities across the country and equip officials in local government to address this challenge through inclusive policies.