Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Rob Burgess - Speeches, appearances, etc.

Here is a list of speeches, appearances and the like I’ve been honored to be invited to participate in:

Speeches

2019-03-26 - Guest speaker at Feature Writing class at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

I was honored to be invited by Cory Cathcart, a student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis' Department of Journalism and Public Relations in the School of Liberal Arts, to speak to her 300-level Feature Writing class from 3 to 4:14 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2018. The 3-credit lecture class was taught by Chris Lamb.


2019-03-15 - CBD Expo Midwest 2019 - 'CBD vs. THC' Panel Moderator



 





On March 15 and 16, 2019, the CBD Expo Midwest 2019 was held at the Indianapolis Marriott East. From 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 15, 2019, I was honored to be asked to be a moderator at the “CBD vs. THC” panel. Here's the description:
“With CBD taking center stage this year, there has been increased coverage of this 'miracle' compound in the news. But it’s important to remember that THC is also a very important cannabinoid with some very powerful properties. While many enjoy the calming benefits of CBD without the psychoactive effects, dose-dependent effects of THC can be very beneficial for a variety of medical conditions. Cannabis science has rapidly advanced in the past year, with studies published in top-tier journals on CBD, THC, and CBD:THC. By comparing and contrasting the isolated effects of each of these compounds and how they interact in the brain and body, we can better understand how the endocannabinoid system works.”


Here are the self-submitted biographies of the panel:


News Editor, NUVO
Rob Burgess is a nine-time award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in print, radio, online and television. He is currently News Editor at NUVO. Before that, he was City Editor, Opinion Page Editor, and Editorial Board Member at the Kokomo Tribune; and Managing Editor of the Indiana Lawyer. He was also a reporter at WFHB, the Times-Mail, The Reporter-Times, Ukiah Daily Journal, and Ukiah Valley Television.

Investigative Reporter, CBD Spa
Brad has been in the Cannabis Industry for over 3 years and has been an outspoken advocate for legalization, decriminalization, and proper regulation. While he was a partner with California Weed Blog, he produced the CannaBiz Expo in Los Angeles, was the lead editor, and investigative journalist. With a focus in Cannabis Science, Business, and Politics, Brad has written and spoken on many topics that have educated thousands of people and changed the course of California Regulation. Brad is now living in Florida and has his sights on Adult-Use in the state. He will be presenting a bill on the floor for the 2019 session to legalize and decriminalize Cannabis State-Wide with the assistance of many leaders in the industry from multiple states, which will be one of the most comprehensive, progressive, and structured bills to date.

Founder, MZM, Inc.
Brandon is an award winning change agent and educator, having gained an understanding of social and ecological entrepreneurship at an early age. He has led public and private workshops on design solutions for over a decade and has presented across the globe, including MIT, Yale, the United Nations University in Tokyo and many other venues on his work in Indiana, sustainability and zero emissions. He is currently working with a variety of organizations from global industries to small not-for-profits and local municipalities along with entrepreneurs, pushing the boundaries, inspired by the innovations found within nature while exposing others to the opportunities to do better with what we have. Brandon is a ZERI certified practitioner and promoter of the Blue Economy (theblueeconomy.org) and has traveled extensively to nearly 40 countries researching dozens of global projects, learning, and sharing along the way. He has appeared on numerous radio shows, TV spots, and newspaper and magazine articles in central Indiana and internationally.

Owner, Medie Edie’s and Elite Health and Wellness stores
I was born and raised in Indiana. I became a marijuana activist in 2008. I have always been interested in the healing property of the cannabis plant. What turned my interest into a passion was our family dog’s battle with epilepsy. This became the reason I moved my family to Michigan in 2014. After extensive research, and getting certified I started an edible and extract company. Medie Edie’s has successfully been setting a standard for our industry since 2014. It has been my dream to be able to bring back to Indiana my knowledge and expertise and apply it in hemp and CBD. I am looking to vertically integrate from working with the best farmers, to processing and making available a top quality product for consumers.

Director of R & D, Nemadji
Eric is the Director of Research & Development for Nemadji/ExtraktLAB where he leads the extraction, refinement, and formulation of hemp oil and isolates. Prior to Nemadji, he was Director of a Cannabis testing lab and several THC manufacturing facilities in San Diego. Eric earned his B.S. in Bioengineering from Arizona State University and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California San Diego.

2018-12-04 - L. Keith Bulen Symposium on American Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


On Dec. 4, 2018, I was honored to be asked by Aaron Dusso, department chair and associate professor of political science, to be a part of the Media Panel at the L. Keith Bulen Symposium held every two years at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Here is how the event is described on the official website:
An across-the-aisle discussion about American politics

Every other November, the L. Keith Bulen Symposium on American Politics brings together politicians, political staffers, journalists, and scholars to discuss the latest election and look to the next one.

The one-day event cuts through the sound bites to talk about politics in a more meaningful way. Each symposium includes a media panel, presentations, and a discussion with the Indiana party chairs.

IUPUI’s Department of Political Science hosts the symposium, which is free and open to the public.

Please join us Dec. 4, 2018, for this year’s Symposium, "Politics Near and Far: From Grassroots Organizing to Judicial Decision Making." This year’s keynote speaker is the Honorable Loretta H. Rush, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. In addition, we will have a serious of excellent discussion panels with political journalists, community organizers, and state party representatives.

Since 1998, the Bulen Symposium has been the premier forum for active discussions of American political parties, elections, and other important issues relating to our political system. Please join us as we bring together political practitioners, journalists, and scholars to discuss the politics that shape our world.

First held in 1998, the Bulen Symposium has had many prominent participants, including former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton, former Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard, and current Indiana governor Eric Holcomb. Political reporters who have participated include Jim Shella, Amber Stearns, Amos Brown, Lesley Weidenbener, and Tony Cook.
About L. Keith Bulen
L. Keith Bulen was a prominent political figure in Indiana. He worked in government for nearly half a century, and was elected or appointed at the block, precinct, ward, county, district, state, national, and international levels.

Bulen cultivated the initial successes of Richard Lugar and helped shape the careers of many other leaders and officials. He helped develop metropolitan government in Indianapolis (Unigov), and was involved in the management of campaigns for U.S. Congress, governor, and president. President Reagan appointed him a commissioner of the International Joint Commission, which prevents and resolves disputes between the United States and Canada over boundary waters.

Republicans and Democrats came together to establish this symposium in honor of Bulen’s life.
(Photo credit: Amanda Friesen)

The Media Panel was up first on the schedule: 

9:10 - 10:30 a.m. Media Panel

Barbara Brosher —Senior News Editor and Reporter, WFIU and WTIU in Bloomington, IN
Prior to joining the NPR and PBS Bloomington stations, Barbara worked as a reporter and anchor for WNDU in South Bend, IN. She has received multiple AP awards for her reporting.

Kaitlin Lange—Statehouse Reporter, Indianapolis Star
Prior to joining the Star, Kaitlin covered the state legislature for the Evansville Courier & Press. She began her career as News Editor and was promoted to Editor-in-Chief at the Ball State Daily News where Kaitlin earned her political science, journalism, and telecommunications degrees.

Lesley Weidenbener—Managing Editor, Indianapolis Business Journal*
Prior to joining IBJ, Lesley covered politics and government for over 20 years for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and the TheStatehouseFile.com.

Rob Burgess—News Editor, NUVO
Prior to joining NUVO, Rob was a city editor and editorial board member at the Kokomo Tribune and managing editor of the Indiana Lawyer. He has won numerous awards from the AP and Hoosier State Press Association.

Moderator
Dr. Kristina Horn Sheeler—Executive Associate Dean, IUPUI Honors College, and Professor
of Communication Studies, IU School of Liberal Arts

* = Lesley Weidenbener did not attend the event, but was scheduled.

2017-03-26 - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kokomo speech

On March 26, 2017, I gave a speech titled, "The role of the press in the current political climate."


2015-10-11 - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kokomo speech

On Oct. 11, 2015, I gave a speech titled, "The True Threat to Marriage."

2014-09-21 - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kokomo speech

On Sept. 21, 2014, I gave a speech titled, "Separation of Church and State."

2013-10-20 - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kokomo speech

Appearances

2019-04-23 - Official "tweeter" of Indiana Humanities' INseparable theme event "Chew on This: What Divides Us?" at Rooster's Kitchen


From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2019, I was honored be asked to be the official "tweeter" of Indiana Humanities' INseparable theme event, "Chew on This: What Divides Us?" at Rooster's Kitchen in Indianapolis.

Here is the original April 4, 2019 press release announcing the event:
Statewide dinner parties invite Hoosiers to explore what divides us
“Chew on This: What Divides Us?” will feature simultaneous conversations in restaurants on April 23 as part of Indiana Humanities’ INseparable theme
INDIANAPOLIS (April 4, 2019)—Dig into some tasty food and deep conversation as Indiana Humanities invites Hoosiers across the state to explore the extent to which Americans are divided along urban and rural lines.
On April 23, the organization will offer simultaneous dinner conversations from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. called “Chew on This: What Divides Us?” at 10 restaurants in Bargersville, Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany, Rensselaer, South Bend and Warsaw.
The events are part of Indiana Humanities new two-year INseparable initiative, which invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across dividing lines and consider what it will take to be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.
“Nothing breaks down the barriers among us like sharing a meal around a common table,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “With INseparable, that’s exactly what we want to do—encourage people to talk with each other rather than at each other and promote understanding and empathy across boundaries.”
Among the topics of conversation will be whether or not Americans are more polarized and divided than in previous generations. Historians Kevin Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer say yes, and that current divisions can be traced to 1974, when a combination of the Watergate scandal, the end of the Vietnam War, and anti-busing riots were among the many crises that rocked America.
Others look back to the 1920 census, which was the first to show that the majority of Americans lived in cities and towns, rather than rural areas.
At the dinner conversations, an expert facilitator will guide the conversation and help participants consider not only the sources of division in our society, but what can be done to bridge divides. Among the facilitators will be history teacher Dan Hawthorne in Rensselaer; Tory Flynn, Hillenbrand’s director of communications, in Batesville; Tim Swarens, a journalist and opinion writer based in Indianapolis; and Rima Shahid, executive director of Women4Change, in Carmel.
Ticket prices range from $20 to $30, which includes a meal, a non-alcoholic drink, tax and tip. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase for an additional cost at most locations. Space is limited and registration is required at https://cotwhatdividesus.eventbrite.com.
Chew on This is a program designed by Indiana Humanities to use the power of food and drink as a convener of people and catalyst for conversation to inspire thoughtful discussion on engaging topics.
Participating cities, venues and facilitators are:
Bargersville
Restaurant: Taxman Brewing
Facilitator: Dana Monson, CEO, Johnson County Development Corp.
Batesville
Restaurant: The Sherman
Facilitator: Tory Flynn, director of communications, Hillenbrand
Carmel
Restaurant: divvy
Rima Shahid, executive director, Women4Change Indiana
Fort Wayne
Restaurant: Próximo
Facilitator: John Christensen, Fort Wayne magazine
Indianapolis
Restaurant: Ambrosia
Facilitator: Terri Jett, professor of political science, Butler University
Restaurant: Rooster's Kitchen


Facilitator: Tim Swarens, journalist
New Albany
Restaurant: Pints & Union
Facilitator: Roger Baylor, blogger
Host organization: ArtSeed
Rensselaer
Location: Carnegie Center
Facilitator: Dan Hawthorne, history teacher
Host organization: Jasper Newton Foundation
South Bend
Restaurant: Tapastrie
Facilitator: Micah Towery, writer and scholar
Warsaw
Restaurant: rua
Facilitator: Brenda Rigdon, development director, Kosciusko County Community Foundation
About INseparable
INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org/inseparable.
About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org.

I was invited to live-tweet the event by Claire Mauschbaugh, events and communications associate at Indiana Humanities. Here is the "Tweeter Guide" sent to me:
CHEW ON THIS: WHAT DIVIDES US?
TWEETER GUIDE
Thanks for live-tweeting Chew on This: What Divides Us? Your role is basically that of note-taker, but so much more fun!
During the conversation, tweet out big questions, interesting quotes and observations, and pictures of delicious food and engaged participants. This conversation is the first of our INseparable-themed Chew on This events. In March, we launched INseparable, a new two-year thematic initiative exploring how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable in all the ways that matter.
The theme of this evening asks participants to look at divisions between Hoosiers. If our goal is to work together, it’s important to name the barriers that prevent collaboration, community or neighborliness. We hope that this conversation starts a productive dialogue about how and why we disagree, and how we might start to breach the boundaries that divide us. #chewonthis @INHumanities
WHAT TO TWEET:
As our live-tweeter, your goal is twofold: 1) Document what is occurring during the event, and 2) Involve those who are not there. Things to keep in mind to successfully live-tweet an event:
1. Prepare as much as possible. Make sure you know the names of facilitators, etc. (and how to spell them) and the Twitter handles of everyone involved with the event. See the chart at the end of this guide.
2. Use the right hashtag and use it in every live tweet or at the beginning of a tweet thread— #chewonthis
3. Mix it up! Tweet memorable quotes from speakers and guests, intriguing questions posed, photos of the group and the food, or fun, short videos.
4. Make every Tweet count. Post only clear photos and be selective about quotes or insights you post.
5. Don’t attribute quotes to participants. We want to keep the discussion a safe place. Feel free to attribute to the facilitator. You can use a quote, just don’t connect a name to it.
BELOW ARE SOME POSSIBLE DISCUSSION PROMPTS OR FACTOIDS YOU CAN SHARE OVER THE COURSE OF THE NIGHT:
QUESTIONS
• Recent Pew Research Center polling finds that 53% of urban dwellers believe that the values of rural Americans
differ from their own, while 58% of rural Americans feel as though their values differ from people living in urban
communities. Do you feel as though your values differ from your urban/rural/suburban counterparts?
• Are we divided along urban/rural/suburban lines? Why do you believe this is the case?
• How is your community, specifically, divided? What’s causing tension within your community?
• Is it harder connect today than it used to be? Why or why not?
• What role does the media or social media play in our ability to connect across difference?
• What do we need to do to be less divided?
FACTOIDS + STATS
(If applicable to the conversation)
• According to @PewResearch, rural population loss is largest in the Midwest with a majority of rural counties (especially farming counties) losing population since 2000.
• Older adults are a higher share of the population in rural areas than in urban and suburban counties. Urban and suburban counties are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse at a much faster pace than rural counties.
Data from @PewResearch.
• Most urban and rural Americans say people in other types of communities don’t understand the problems people in their community face, according to @PewResearch.
• About 4/10 Americans say they don’t feel attached to their community. Rural residents are more rooted in their community says @PewResearch.
• Urban Hoosiers are less likely to rate Indiana as an excellent place to live compared to their suburban and rural counterparts, according to the @BallState’s Hoosier Survey: https://bit.ly/2Ip5SSa
• What unites us across rural, urban and suburban lines? According to a @richard_florida survey, all communities have a desire for high-quality public schools.



Here are the descriptions of the event itself:

Thanks for signing up for Chew on This: What Divides Us? The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Feel free to arrive a few minutes early to mix and mingle, order a drink and get comfortable. We will conclude between 8 and 8:30 p.m. (depending on how talkative your group is!). Your ticket price includes a meal, non-alcoholic beverage, tax and tip. If you plan to order beer, wine or cocktails, please bring an additional form of payment (cash recommended).
Rooster’s Kitchen
888 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN
6:30-8:30 EST
On Tuesday night we’ll be talking about what divides us and how we might start to breach the boundaries that divide us. We’re curious to hear what you have to say, as well as learn from our expert facilitators. Open to a little homework? Read ahead:
· This op-ed from the New York Times explores why people leave, stay or return home to a community.
· This report looks at how demographic shifts are impacting rural, suburban and urban America.
· This podcast features historians discussing about where they believe the fault lines emerged.
-The Indiana Humanities Team


And here is a summary of the event after the fact:
Thank you for joining Indiana Humanities for Chew On This: What Divides Us? Tuesday night's event brought together more than 150 Hoosiers in nine communities around the state for an evening of great food and insightful conversation. Chew On This: What Divides Us? was part of our INseparable initiative, which invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.
It's a leap of faith to show up and talk about big ideas with strangers. A few themes emerged in nearly every location: the need for courage and vulnerability to talk even when we disagree, the importance of honesty coupled with laughter as we tackle tough topics, and the power of food and neighborliness to bring people together. Click here to read through some of the comments and observations of those who took part across Indiana. Thanks to the facilitators for leading interesting and meaningful conversations and the tweeters who captured what happened.
Here is a description of the INseparable theme:
INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.
About
Whether due to real or perceived differences, Americans see each other differently depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban communities. The conclusion drawn from the near-constant polling, media commentary and academic analysis of the past two years is that America is culturally divided by its geography. In 2019 and 2020, Indiana Humanities invites Hoosiers to dig into these divides, exploring how Hoosiers relate to each other across boundaries and considering what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.
Over the next two years, INseparable will address the ways we’re the same and the ways we’re different; how we benefit from working together and when we’re fine on our own; the barriers we build and the ways we look beyond our differences; the progress we’ve made and our persistence to endure.
We’ll explore how Hoosiers and Americans have thought about urban, suburban and rural differences over time and what we think about them today. We hope to spark conversations about the ways in which the futures of urban, rural and suburban Hoosiers are linked and what might be preventing us from working together.
As a proven convener and conversation starter, Indiana Humanities will push Hoosiers to look beyond the demographics of the urban-suburban-rural divides to consider the people behind the data. With programming that facilitates discussion, self-examination and fresh perspectives, Indiana Humanities will seek to help residents from all settings cross boundaries and gather to explore the opportunities and challenges we share.
WHY THIS THEME, WHY NOW?
We believe the humanities can help individuals and communities make sense of the real and perceived differences between urban, suburban and rural Hoosiers. They can provide context and lenses for analysis, as well as create space for critical inquiry, open-ended consideration and reflection.
To that end, we’ll use these animating ideas to guide our work:
How can the humanities help Hoosiers frame and understand the real and perceived differences across urban, suburban and rural lines?
What’s the particular history of how Hoosiers have related to each other across lines of urban/suburban/rural difference? How have these tensions or differences played out politically, socially, culturally, economically or environmentally?
How has Indiana responded to larger national and transnational movements (civil rights, Great Migration, industrialization, urbanization, immigration, etc.) that have shaped urban, suburban and rural communities?
What are the factors that lead some communities to embrace change and others to resist it? What lessons can we draw from the past or from across Indiana and the U.S. today?
How can the humanities help Hoosiers frame and understand the complex challenges facing communities, such as outmigration, changing job markets, the opioid crisis, talent attraction and retention and quality of life?
We are not alone in asking these questions. For instance, a 2017 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of rural Americans found that 7 out of 10 rural residents said their values differ from those of city dwellers. Conversely, 48 percent of urban Americans said their values differ from people in rural areas or small towns.
Several significant anniversaries and commemorations that tie to our theme, as well as the next presidential election, come during 2019-2020. These include:
the Indianapolis bicentennial
the 50th anniversary of Unigov
the 50th anniversary of the administration of one of the nation’s first black mayors, Gary’s Richard Hatcher
the 60th anniversary of legislation that led to the major wave of rural school consolidation in Indiana in the late 1960s
the centennial of the 1920 census, which was the first to show that a majority of Americans lived in cities and towns.
Sometimes it feels as if we’re coming apart at the seams. T he conclusion drawn from the near-constant polling, media commentary and academic analysis of the last few years is that Americans are polarized—divided along geographic lines or by race, by generation or by socio-economic status. Historians Kevin Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer say it all goes back to 1974, when Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War and anti-busing riots were among the many crises that rocked America. Journalist Bill Bishop, working from reams of sociological and political science data, says we started to sort ourselves into camps in 1965—between June and October, to be exact. Others go back to the 1920 census, the first to show that the majority of Americans lived in cities and towns, rather than rural areas. So what’s true? Are we more divided than ever before? If so, why is that? What, exactly, divides us? We dug into these and similar questions on Tuesday, April 23 during a special INseparable-themed Chew On This.




And here is a link to a PDF of all of my tweets from the night:

Chew on This: It Was a Sellout!
More than 140 Hoosiers took part in our Chew on This: What Divides Us? dinner conversations, selling out 10 locations in nine cities on April 23. The food was great and so were the conversations, as we explored issues of race, age, poverty, immigration, the rise of social media and more. Thanks to our restaurant hosts, moderators, tweeters and everyone who attended the events in Bargersville, Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany, Rensselaer, South Bend and Warsaw.

2018-08-24 - Sounding Off guest appearance


Aug. 24, 2018, I was asked to be a guest on the Sounding Off podcast by host Brandon Chapman:

Rob Burgess, News Editor for NUVO, calls in to talk about his role in the Bob Lamey story, the reason for passing it on to WTHR, and the reaction/fallout of the details involving Lamey leaving the Colts.
The story in question was my Aug. 22, 2018 story in NUVO, "Colts Announcer Bob Lamey Resigns After Use of N-Word."

I have edited, uploaded, and embedded the interview here:


2016-01-08 - Workers' Voice Show guest appearance


I was recently a guest on The Workers' Voice, a radio show on Indiana Talks hosted by Indiana University Kokomo Labor Studies Program associate professor Patrick Hill (who was out sick) and Randy M. Obenchain. You can listen to the show in its entirety by clicking this link. It's under the Jan. 8, 2016 heading. You can also listen to it on SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes.
Host Randy M. Obenchain and guest host Rob Burgess, Night Editor for the Kokomo Tribune, discuss events of the 2015 year as well as 2016 predictions concerning the working class.
I've embedded the episode here:


2015-03-14 - Workers' Voice Show guest appearance

On March 14, 2015, I was a guest on The Workers' Voice, a radio show on Indiana Talks hosted by Randy M. Obenchain and Indiana University Kokomo Labor Studies Program associate professor Patrick Hill. Here is my post about it. Embedded below is the audio:


2008-05-31 - KMEC's The Compassion Network guest appearance

At 11 a.m. May 31, 2008, I was interviewed on Jin Gwang's show "The Compassion Network" on KMEC in Ukiah, California. According to the show's website, its focus is on: "speakers who commit acts of kindness locally and globally." If there is audio of this archived, I don't know about it.

2019-04-23 - Official "tweeter" of Indiana Humanities' INseparable theme event "Chew on This: What Divides Us?" at Rooster's Kitchen


From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2019, I was honored be asked to be the official "tweeter" of Indiana Humanities' INseparable theme event, "Chew on This: What Divides Us?" at Rooster's Kitchen in Indianapolis.

Here is the original April 4, 2019 press release announcing the event:

Statewide dinner parties invite Hoosiers to explore what divides us

“Chew on This: What Divides Us?” will feature simultaneous conversations in restaurants on April 23 as part of Indiana Humanities’ INseparable theme

INDIANAPOLIS (April 4, 2019)—Dig into some tasty food and deep conversation as Indiana Humanities invites Hoosiers across the state to explore the extent to which Americans are divided along urban and rural lines.

On April 23, the organization will offer simultaneous dinner conversations from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. called “Chew on This: What Divides Us?” at 10 restaurants in Bargersville, Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany, Rensselaer, South Bend and Warsaw.

The events are part of Indiana Humanities new two-year INseparable initiative, which invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across dividing lines and consider what it will take to be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

“Nothing breaks down the barriers among us like sharing a meal around a common table,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “With INseparable, that’s exactly what we want to do—encourage people to talk with each other rather than at each other and promote understanding and empathy across boundaries.”

Among the topics of conversation will be whether or not Americans are more polarized and divided than in previous generations. Historians Kevin Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer say yes, and that current divisions can be traced to 1974, when a combination of the Watergate scandal, the end of the Vietnam War, and anti-busing riots were among the many crises that rocked America.

Others look back to the 1920 census, which was the first to show that the majority of Americans lived in cities and towns, rather than rural areas.

At the dinner conversations, an expert facilitator will guide the conversation and help participants consider not only the sources of division in our society, but what can be done to bridge divides. Among the facilitators will be history teacher Dan Hawthorne in Rensselaer; Tory Flynn, Hillenbrand’s director of communications, in Batesville; Tim Swarens, a journalist and opinion writer based in Indianapolis; and Rima Shahid, executive director of Women4Change, in Carmel.

Ticket prices range from $20 to $30, which includes a meal, a non-alcoholic drink, tax and tip. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase for an additional cost at most locations. Space is limited and registration is required at https://cotwhatdividesus.eventbrite.com.

Chew on This is a program designed by Indiana Humanities to use the power of food and drink as a convener of people and catalyst for conversation to inspire thoughtful discussion on engaging topics.

Participating cities, venues and facilitators are:

Bargersville

Restaurant: Taxman Brewing

Facilitator: Dana Monson, CEO, Johnson County Development Corp.


Batesville

Restaurant: The Sherman

Facilitator: Tory Flynn, director of communications, Hillenbrand


Carmel

Restaurant: divvy

Rima Shahid, executive director, Women4Change Indiana


Fort Wayne

Restaurant: Próximo

Facilitator: John Christensen, Fort Wayne magazine


Indianapolis

Restaurant: Ambrosia

Facilitator: Terri Jett, professor of political science, Butler University


Restaurant: Rooster's Kitchen

Facilitator: Tim Swarens, journalist


New Albany

Restaurant: Pints & Union

Facilitator: Roger Baylor, blogger

Host organization: ArtSeed


Rensselaer

Location: Carnegie Center

Facilitator: Dan Hawthorne, history teacher

Host organization: Jasper Newton Foundation


South Bend

Restaurant: Tapastrie

Facilitator: Micah Towery, writer and scholar


Warsaw

Restaurant: rua

Facilitator: Brenda Rigdon, development director, Kosciusko County Community Foundation


About INseparable

INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org/inseparable.


About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org.

I was invited to live-tweet the event by Claire Mauschbaugh, events and communications associate at Indiana Humanities. Here is the "Tweeter Guide" sent to me:

CHEW ON THIS: WHAT DIVIDES US?
TWEETER GUIDE

Thanks for live-tweeting Chew on This: What Divides Us? Your role is basically that of note-taker, but so much more fun!
During the conversation, tweet out big questions, interesting quotes and observations, and pictures of delicious food and engaged participants. This conversation is the first of our INseparable-themed Chew on This events. In March, we launched INseparable, a new two-year thematic initiative exploring how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable in all the ways that matter.
The theme of this evening asks participants to look at divisions between Hoosiers. If our goal is to work together, it’s important to name the barriers that prevent collaboration, community or neighborliness. We hope that this conversation starts a productive dialogue about how and why we disagree, and how we might start to breach the boundaries that divide us. #chewonthis @INHumanities

WHAT TO TWEET:
As our live-tweeter, your goal is twofold: 1) Document what is occurring during the event, and 2) Involve those who are not there. Things to keep in mind to successfully live-tweet an event:
1. Prepare as much as possible. Make sure you know the names of facilitators, etc. (and how to spell them) and the Twitter handles of everyone involved with the event. See the chart at the end of this guide.
2. Use the right hashtag and use it in every live tweet or at the beginning of a tweet thread— #chewonthis
3. Mix it up! Tweet memorable quotes from speakers and guests, intriguing questions posed, photos of the group and the food, or fun, short videos.
4. Make every Tweet count. Post only clear photos and be selective about quotes or insights you post.
5. Don’t attribute quotes to participants. We want to keep the discussion a safe place. Feel free to attribute to the facilitator. You can use a quote, just don’t connect a name to it.
BELOW ARE SOME POSSIBLE DISCUSSION PROMPTS OR FACTOIDS YOU CAN SHARE OVER THE COURSE OF THE NIGHT:
QUESTIONS
• Recent Pew Research Center polling finds that 53% of urban dwellers believe that the values of rural Americans
differ from their own, while 58% of rural Americans feel as though their values differ from people living in urban
communities. Do you feel as though your values differ from your urban/rural/suburban counterparts?
• Are we divided along urban/rural/suburban lines? Why do you believe this is the case?
• How is your community, specifically, divided? What’s causing tension within your community?
• Is it harder connect today than it used to be? Why or why not?
• What role does the media or social media play in our ability to connect across difference?
• What do we need to do to be less divided?
FACTOIDS + STATS
(If applicable to the conversation)
• According to @PewResearch, rural population loss is largest in the Midwest with a majority of rural counties (especially farming counties) losing population since 2000.
• Older adults are a higher share of the population in rural areas than in urban and suburban counties. Urban and suburban counties are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse at a much faster pace than rural counties.
Data from @PewResearch.
• Most urban and rural Americans say people in other types of communities don’t understand the problems people in their community face, according to @PewResearch.
• About 4/10 Americans say they don’t feel attached to their community. Rural residents are more rooted in their community says @PewResearch.
• Urban Hoosiers are less likely to rate Indiana as an excellent place to live compared to their suburban and rural counterparts, according to the @BallState’s Hoosier Survey: https://bit.ly/2Ip5SSa
• What unites us across rural, urban and suburban lines? According to a @richard_florida survey, all communities have a desire for high-quality public schools.




Here are the descriptions of the event itself:

Thanks for signing up for Chew on This: What Divides Us? The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Feel free to arrive a few minutes early to mix and mingle, order a drink and get comfortable. We will conclude between 8 and 8:30 p.m. (depending on how talkative your group is!). Your ticket price includes a meal, non-alcoholic beverage, tax and tip. If you plan to order beer, wine or cocktails, please bring an additional form of payment (cash recommended).

Rooster’s Kitchen
888 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN
6:30-8:30 EST

On Tuesday night we’ll be talking about what divides us and how we might start to breach the boundaries that divide us. We’re curious to hear what you have to say, as well as learn from our expert facilitators. Open to a little homework? Read ahead:

· This op-ed from the New York Times explores why people leave, stay or return home to a community.

· This report looks at how demographic shifts are impacting rural, suburban and urban America.

· This podcast features historians discussing about where they believe the fault lines emerged.

-The Indiana Humanities Team



And here is a summary of the event after the fact:
Thank you for joining Indiana Humanities for Chew On This: What Divides Us? Tuesday night's event brought together more than 150 Hoosiers in nine communities around the state for an evening of great food and insightful conversation. Chew On This: What Divides Us? was part of our INseparable initiative, which invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

It's a leap of faith to show up and talk about big ideas with strangers. A few themes emerged in nearly every location: the need for courage and vulnerability to talk even when we disagree, the importance of honesty coupled with laughter as we tackle tough topics, and the power of food and neighborliness to bring people together. Click here to read through some of the comments and observations of those who took part across Indiana. Thanks to the facilitators for leading interesting and meaningful conversations and the tweeters who captured what happened.



Here is a description of the INseparable theme:


INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

About

Whether due to real or perceived differences, Americans see each other differently depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban communities. The conclusion drawn from the near-constant polling, media commentary and academic analysis of the past two years is that America is culturally divided by its geography. In 2019 and 2020, Indiana Humanities invites Hoosiers to dig into these divides, exploring how Hoosiers relate to each other across boundaries and considering what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

Over the next two years, INseparable will address the ways we’re the same and the ways we’re different; how we benefit from working together and when we’re fine on our own; the barriers we build and the ways we look beyond our differences; the progress we’ve made and our persistence to endure.

We’ll explore how Hoosiers and Americans have thought about urban, suburban and rural differences over time and what we think about them today. We hope to spark conversations about the ways in which the futures of urban, rural and suburban Hoosiers are linked and what might be preventing us from working together.

As a proven convener and conversation starter, Indiana Humanities will push Hoosiers to look beyond the demographics of the urban-suburban-rural divides to consider the people behind the data. With programming that facilitates discussion, self-examination and fresh perspectives, Indiana Humanities will seek to help residents from all settings cross boundaries and gather to explore the opportunities and challenges we share.

WHY THIS THEME, WHY NOW?

We believe the humanities can help individuals and communities make sense of the real and perceived differences between urban, suburban and rural Hoosiers. They can provide context and lenses for analysis, as well as create space for critical inquiry, open-ended consideration and reflection.

To that end, we’ll use these animating ideas to guide our work:

How can the humanities help Hoosiers frame and understand the real and perceived differences across urban, suburban and rural lines?

What’s the particular history of how Hoosiers have related to each other across lines of urban/suburban/rural difference? How have these tensions or differences played out politically, socially, culturally, economically or environmentally?

How has Indiana responded to larger national and transnational movements (civil rights, Great Migration, industrialization, urbanization, immigration, etc.) that have shaped urban, suburban and rural communities?

What are the factors that lead some communities to embrace change and others to resist it? What lessons can we draw from the past or from across Indiana and the U.S. today?

How can the humanities help Hoosiers frame and understand the complex challenges facing communities, such as outmigration, changing job markets, the opioid crisis, talent attraction and retention and quality of life?

We are not alone in asking these questions. For instance, a 2017 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of rural Americans found that 7 out of 10 rural residents said their values differ from those of city dwellers. Conversely, 48 percent of urban Americans said their values differ from people in rural areas or small towns.

Several significant anniversaries and commemorations that tie to our theme, as well as the next presidential election, come during 2019-2020. These include:

the Indianapolis bicentennial
the 50th anniversary of Unigov
the 50th anniversary of the administration of one of the nation’s first black mayors, Gary’s Richard Hatcher
the 60th anniversary of legislation that led to the major wave of rural school consolidation in Indiana in the late 1960s
the centennial of the 1920 census, which was the first to show that a majority of Americans lived in cities and towns.



Sometimes it feels as if we’re coming apart at the seams. T he conclusion drawn from the near-constant polling, media commentary and academic analysis of the last few years is that Americans are polarized—divided along geographic lines or by race, by generation or by socio-economic status. Historians Kevin Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer say it all goes back to 1974, when Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War and anti-busing riots were among the many crises that rocked America. Journalist Bill Bishop, working from reams of sociological and political science data, says we started to sort ourselves into camps in 1965—between June and October, to be exact. Others go back to the 1920 census, the first to show that the majority of Americans lived in cities and towns, rather than rural areas. So what’s true? Are we more divided than ever before? If so, why is that? What, exactly, divides us? We dug into these and similar questions on Tuesday, April 23 during a special INseparable-themed Chew On This.




And here is a link to a PDF of all of my tweets from the night:

Chew on This: It Was a Sellout!

More than 140 Hoosiers took part in our Chew on This: What Divides Us? dinner conversations, selling out 10 locations in nine cities on April 23. The food was great and so were the conversations, as we explored issues of race, age, poverty, immigration, the rise of social media and more. Thanks to our restaurant hosts, moderators, tweeters and everyone who attended the events in Bargersville, Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany, Rensselaer, South Bend and Warsaw.