In 2015 Facing History and Ourselves celebrated ten incredible years of Community Conversations, marking the decade with its first ever event in Boston.
Thanks to The Allstate Foundation’s sponsorship of Community Conversations, Facing History has been able to engage communities in difficult discussions around bigotry and hatred; work we’ve honed for nearly 40 years in classrooms around the globe. These free events spark respectful dialogue about pressing social issues and engage people from all different backgrounds to address racism, prejudice, and antisemitism. And in today’s world the need for unifying, understanding, and healing has never been greater.
“We are living in a time when courageous choices are needed for us to improve as individuals and as a society,” said Jason Calianos, an Allstate insurance agent from Roxbury who provided opening remarks to Boston’s Community Conversation on December 9.
The event featured Bryan Stevenson, human rights activist, author, and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He gave an electrifying speech to an audience of over 500 people in person - including Boston's Mayor, Marty Walsh, and other city officials - and to an additional 500 people who streamed the event live.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of what Facing History and Ourselves is doing not just in Boston but all over the country,” said Stevenson as he addressed the crowd. “I’m persuaded that we can change the world. I think we can do better in confronting our history of racial injustice.”
That so many choose to participate in these events reflects the importance of coming together to find grounding in our differences. In ten years, nearly 100 leading voices on contemporary social justice issues have spoken at over 100 events in ten cities across the United States, reaching over 70,000 people.
Partnering with The Allstate Foundation has made it possible to reach so many through Community Conversations. Our shared commitment to safe and vital communities, tolerance, inclusion, and diversity made it an easy decision to team up with the foundation for this series. In addition to sponsoring Community Conversations, it has also generously supported many regional Facing History programs throughout the country while individual employees have made countless contributions through the Allstate Giving Campaign.
“Facing History and Ourselves consistently demonstrates extraordinary leadership by creating an open forum where people can hear from prominent speakers and discuss challenging social issues in this country and around the world," said Stacy Sharpe, senior vice president of Allstate Corporate Relations and a member of Facing History’s Chicago Advisory Board. “Together, for a decade, The Allstate Foundation and Facing History have been engaging our fellow citizens in inspiring dialogue. Each time I attend a Community Conversation, I am reminded that the barriers to a stronger, more tolerant world are not insurmountable—and that sharing the views of enlightened thought leaders is an excellent way to move us all forward.”
Thank you to The Allstate Foundation, to our speakers, and to the thousands who joined us for making the last ten years so successful. Facing History is looking forward to exciting new ways we’ll be enhancing our Community Conversations, including expanded virtual viewership and interaction. Check out our upcoming events for the year ahead.
Take a look back at 10 years of Community Conversations!