It Starts With You

We’re beginning a dialogue. All around the country, students, thought leaders, and their communities are discussing constructive approaches to living together in a society of difference, where every voice is heard.  

Especially when societal values like non-discrimination or child welfare interact with faith, many see friction and no solutions. Today’s tense public discourse drives young people away from even exploring how best to live together.

We have a better way: talking to each other.

Engaging Hard Issues at the Intersection of Faith, Sexuality, and Families

For example, LGBT people face discrimination in housing, jobs, and restaurants in parts of the country.  They want to be treated like everyone else.

Religious schools, employers, and small businesses seek to affirm their deeply held convictions around religious sacraments—like marriage and circumcision.  Sometimes they ask to step aside from services that would violate their beliefs.  Sometimes houses of worship are regulated like government buildings, grocery stores, and other public places.

Instantly, important freedoms are in tension.

Equally hard, children are dying in pockets of the US from “faith healing.” Does respecting faith mean that nothing can be done to prevent these tragic deaths? Will jailing parents save lives? Can we better protect children by engaging religious communities more deeply? 

Is there a solution to hard issues that best serves all our commitments?  This is where the Dialogues come in.  

More Than An Idea

The Tolerance Means Dialogues challenge the misconception that it’s impossible for people of good will to find common ground on the hardest issues. The Dialogues harness and amplify the insights of Millennials, tomorrow’s leaders, who have grown up with unprecedented diversity—and a spirit of openness and inclusivity. Just look at the essays written by our scholarship winners. Tolerance, they urge, means moving beyond ambivalence and forging a path toward genuine respect.

 
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Henry Shafer-Coffey

Undergrad Student Winner
BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

People tell me that “America is more divided than ever”, but I’ve read my history textbooks. I know we’ve been divided before, and I know we always come back stronger. It might be as simple as listening a little more, and yelling a little less.
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Chris Talbot

Undergrad Student Winner
University of Pittsburgh

…[O]ur world is actually becoming smaller…[T]he interests of real people—who, like us, have feelings, goals, friends, families—are at stake when we make many of our choices.
 
 
 
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David Givens

graduate STUDENT winner
University of Pittsburgh

The importance of tolerance—receiving tolerance as well as practicing it—was thrown into sharp relief for me after the birth of my first son in 2013.[...] For our family, Joshua’s needs have illustrated the difference between tolerance and true acceptance.
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Brett Jarvis

Graduate STUDENT Winner
UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO

I see another parallel between the engineering world and human interaction: “Tolerance is the I-beam that spans the vast distances of democracy. It embraces our differences to make us better than we would be on our own.”
 

All Views

In our tense public discourse, valuable insights can be lost. Not only is that a shame, it is self-defeating—these insights may hold the key to solving these difficult problems.  So, to guide this important conversation, we've brought together voices that capture all angles and points of view.

Each Dialogue approaches its subject with a sense of compassion and respect, with a spirit of civility. The reality is that none of us knows all there is to know.  Only by listening with an open mind can we move forward together.  

 

Putting It Into Practice

We're hitting the road and taking these dialogues to all corners of the country. Take a look at where we've been and where we're planning to go.

University of Pittsburgh

Idaho State Capitol

University of North Carolina

University of St. Thomas

 

Loras College