Events & Opportunities

October 21, 2019

Think & Drink with Rich Benjamin

Join Rich Benjamin, author of "Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America," for a conversation about community, belonging, social values, and the state of whiteness in America. This event is cosponsored by Oregon Humanities.

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 10 Barrel Brewing Eastside Pub, Bend

October 22, 2019

Conversation Project: What Does It Mean to Be American?

The United States is a culturally diverse nation with residents who can trace their heritage to countries across the globe, and our diversity is projected to continue to increase over the next several decades. Given the differences of race, ethnicity, place, religion, wealth, language, education, and ideology that exist in the US, what are the things that unite us a nation? How do we understand what it means to be American and what we hold valuable? Join this conversation led by facilitator Ellen Knutson to share your ideas about what it means to be American and hear others’ ideas, to identify differences and points of connection that may lead us toward the ideal stated in our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum, out of many, one. This conversation will take place in the Boxer Pause Room in Washburne Hall in the University Center.

11:30 a.m., Pacific University McCall Center for Civic Engagement, Forest Grove

October 22, 2019

Conversation Project: Can We Get Along?

In 1992, in the midst of riots sparked by the acquittal of police officers who brutally beat him, Rodney King asked, “Can we get along?” This iconic American question still resonates today. What is it that drives this question, and why can it be so difficult to answer? What holds us back from connecting with each other? How do our personal experiences contribute to—and have the potential to break down—these barriers? Join facilitator Chisao Hata as she holds space to examine our individual and collective questions on race, perspectives, and cultural values around what brings us together and what separates us. This conversation may include some hands-on activities.

7 p.m., Hoffman Center for the Arts, Manzanita

October 23, 2019

Conversation Project: How We Grow Old

What are the stories that shape how we think about growing old? How do we acknowledge the unique differences among aging individuals and separate the true stories from the myths? How do we accept the wisdom of our elders’ experiences while also recognizing new ideas about what it means to age in America? No matter our age, we all hear and tell stories about growing older that reflect our own ideals and fears—and the ideals and fears of our communities. Join facilitator Melissa Madenski as we look at the power of story in a conversation that will ask you to share your own experiences and ideas about aging and listen to the perspectives of others in your community.

10 a.m., Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, Lake Oswego

October 24, 2019

Conversation Project: Faith and Politics in Oregon and Beyond

While faith and politics have long been taboo subjects in polite conversation, it’s no secret that people’s political affiliations and support are often influenced by their faiths. At the same time, faith-based movements, such as the Religious Right of the 1980s, have exhibited great power in political arenas. How do our faith systems influence our political beliefs—and vice versa—today, both in Oregon and nationally? Join writer, educator, and former minister Russ Pierson in a conversation about how our religious ideas and political identities mix and what it means for our common life together. This event will take place in the Program Area.

6 p.m., Klamath County Library Service District, Klamath Falls

October 26, 2019

Conversation Project: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Studies show that neighbors interact much less than in previous decades. This has been theorized as a kind of side effect of modern life and the result of technology, limits on attention, and in some instances, differences in cultural concepts of what it means to be neighborly. Join facilitator Jen Mitas in this conversation that asks, How do you interact with your neighbors? How do you feel about those relationships? How might you improve or change these relationships in order to make a positive impact on the places you live? This conversation is a chance to reflect on one’s own role in the social networks that make up the places we live, and to complicate clichés about neighborliness that may be unconsciously rooted in the mid-twentieth century ideal of the American suburb. This event will take place in the Community Room, on the main floor of the library.

1 p.m., Oregon City Public Library, Oregon City

October 26, 2019

Conversation Project: Why DIY?

Are we as self-sufficient as we can be? As we should be? What are the pleasures and pitfalls of doing it yourself? This conversation with Jennifer Burns Bright investigates why we strive to be makers and doers in a world that provides more conveniences than ever before. How might the “new industrial revolution” of tinkerers and crafters affect American schools and workplaces? How do maker spaces or skills courses foster greater engagement and involvement? What could be left behind when we increase self-sufficiency in a community? All kinds of DIY interests are welcome: we can focus on foraging, permaculture, prepping, woodworking, or hovercraft making—or perhaps all of these at once! Through our shared stories, we will seek to understand more deeply how DIY functions in American life. This event will take place in the Flora Room.

11 a.m., Estacada Public Library, Estacada

November 1, 2019

Conversation Project: What Are You?

The number of mixed-race people and interracial families in Oregon is growing. What are the challenges and benefits of growing up mixed-race, raising mixed-race children, or being an interracial couple in a state that’s historically been mostly white? How can we openly discuss our own ethnic and racial heritage with each other without being regarded as odd or unusual? How have the answers to “What are you?” changed through the decades? Dmae Roberts, who has written essays and produced film and radio documentaries about being a biracial Asian American in Oregon, leads a discussion of heritage that goes beyond checking one race on US Census forms. This event will take place in the Education Room.

11 a.m., Garlington Health Center, Portland

November 2, 2019

Conversation Project: Why DIY?

Are we as self-sufficient as we can be? As we should be? What are the pleasures and pitfalls of doing it yourself? This conversation with Jennifer Burns Bright investigates why we strive to be makers and doers in a world that provides more conveniences than ever before. How might the “new industrial revolution” of tinkerers and crafters affect American schools and workplaces? How do maker spaces or skills courses foster greater engagement and involvement? What could be left behind when we increase self-sufficiency in a community? All kinds of DIY interests are welcome: we can focus on foraging, permaculture, prepping, woodworking, or hovercraft making—or perhaps all of these at once! Through our shared stories, we will seek to understand more deeply how DIY functions in American life.

12:30 p.m., Josephine Community Libraries - Illinois Valley Branch, Cave Junction

November 2, 2019

Conversation Project: Faith and Politics in Oregon and Beyond

While faith and politics have long been taboo subjects in polite conversation, it’s no secret that people’s political affiliations and support are often influenced by their faiths. At the same time, faith-based movements, such as the Religious Right of the 1980s, have exhibited great power in political arenas. How do our faith systems influence our political beliefs—and vice versa—today, both in Oregon and nationally? Join writer, educator, and former minister Russ Pierson in a conversation about how our religious ideas and political identities mix and what it means for our common life together.

7 p.m., Astoria Public Library, Astoria