Living Room Conversations are being used in ways we never imagined and we are fascinated! This is the glorious thing about open source projects, users adapt materials to better fit their needs and from these experiences we all learn. This year I’ve been privileged to observe Community Living Room Conversations about mental health. This particular variant embraced Living Room Conversations ground rules and has adapted the process to fit a bigger set of participants. The Contra Costa Health Read More...

I was awed by the incredibly qualified applicants who responded to our craigslist ad for Living Room Conversations organizers in Fresno and Stockton. Their expertise in criminal justice reform was substantial, in many cases informed by powerful background stories. Their collective resumes included working with people recently released from prison, homelessness, mental health, foster care, LGBT issues, developing more tolerance in faith communities, and more. I decided to host a non-standard Read More...

"To the Best of Our Knowledge" is a deeply thoughtful, nationally syndicated program produced by Wisconsin Public Radio. This Sunday, Aug. 24, they will air an interview on "healing the heart of democracy"—from the grassroots up—with me and my friend and colleague, Joan Blades. Check your local schedule for the time. Joan is the co-founder of MoveOn.org and of a wonderful civic renewal project called "Living Room Conversations," where I serve as a Project Partner. You can learn more about Read More...

Last week leaders in Fresno County gathered for a Living Room Conversation about community safety. The conversation included the Fresno County Sheriff, Probation Chief, a local banker, a local business owner (multiple industries), Superior Court Judge and an executive from a transition services provider. I helped organize this first conversation with the goal of creating the opportunity for these key leaders to hear viewpoints that they were unlikely to hear in the course of their typical week. Read More...

In March, Citizen's University invited us to share Living Room Conversations (LRC) in a wonderfully full workshop! Debilyn and I had an hour and a half. This was our first experiment with brief LRCs- not enough time for a full conversation, but good to get the flavor and a sense of possibilities. The brief conversations were a success - participants enjoyed hearing diverse perspectives and appreciated the safety of the conversations. Plus we have theories for how to make brief conversations better Read More...

We (Jim and Cindy) moved recently to Rossmoor, an "active fifty-five and over adult community" with almost 10,000 residents in Walnut Creek, California, about 20 miles east of San Francisco. As you might expect, we've discovered an incredible variety of people and experiences here, and we are enjoying making new friends and exploring the variety of recreational resources and social clubs. Among these are many active political groups of all persuasions. Since we care deeply about the future of Read More...

As the proud mom of an adult son with schizophrenia and an addiction history, who has received fragmented services in the Contra Costa Public Health System for 14 years, I have dreamed of a health system that will provide continuous, compassionate, integrated medical and recovery care for my son. Because of my son’s co-occurring illnesses he is at risk of dying 25 years younger than the healthy population. A whole health system is what he needs to save his life. My dream is to help build our Read More...

It’s now four months since XtraOrdinary Magazine launched monthly conversations coded “XOConversations” in East Africa. The XOConversations is a live monthly café/living room conversations organized by individuals in their respective communities with guidance from XtraOrdinary Magazine team. The conversations were launched with an objective of serving as a platform to inspire, inform, educate and invite all Africans between and within all sectors of society to deliberately focus on our common Read More...

Can we talk about mental illness?  We certainly don’t.  It’s really odd that in a time when we know so much more about the brain and biochemistry mental illness remains surrounded by misperception, shame, blame, stigma, and just plain ignorance.  All of that makes it mostly an unspoken, and too often poorly addressed, issue even though its prevalence in the society is so high.   (According to a new publication from the US government about 20% of Americans over 18 will experience a mental Read More...

Audrey Addison Williams, professional speaker, writer, spiritual leader, business consultant and expert in personal transformation and community empowerment Originally published in Huffington Post, 7/3/2013 I was raised in a Republican household; my dad was a paid speaker at Republican conferences and events. I grew up in the ‘60s and have vivid memories of vibrant, invigorating, loud, informative, respectful, intelligent, fun and life affirming political debate in our living room. Whites, Read More...