Last night, I had the chance to participate in the #QCommons event here in South Denver.  And all I can say is, “What an amazing idea?”  Much like the TED talks you might have seen online, Q is an organization trying to give a specific venue for issues important to the world.  And I mean, THE Whole WORLD.

All across the globe Q Commons was a combination of 3 national talks woven together with 3 local speakers.  Malcolm Gladwell, Soledad O Brian, and Mark Burnett gave compelling talks on issues they wanted to highlight, and then all over the world there were three LIVE local speakers who did the same.

Here in South Denver, we heard topics ranging from “Re-Imagining Education” to How to engage with the poor in our city.  Ryan Taylor did an amazing job helping South Denver understand what’s going on with racism downtown, and how to be aware of our play in the national racism debate.

I took my 9 minutes to talk about “Creative Civility” focusing on my own US vs. THEM narrative I’ve written here about for a while.  I started with my fear of Islam and Muslims after 9-11, and invited the audience to join me on a journey from Fear to Friendship.  Citing real life stories, I hope I gave South Denver a way to be aware of the news stories in our world with headlines about ISIS compared to the Muslim living next door.  Walking carefully through my own journey of faith, I explained how we don’t have to be afraid and allow fear to keep us isolated, but rather; how to engage with people who think differently than we do.

Wes Roberts did an unbelievable job as the host of the event, and Gabe Lyons (the director of Q) helped massage some hard issues so we could talk through them collectively at the event.

At the end of the night, I felt like “hope” was the blanket we could grab a hold of.  Hope for education.  Hope for how we deal with the world around us through a racial divide.  And Hope that we don’t have to cower to fear with our neighbors.

This is the kind of venue I believe will take the scales of ignorance off the eyes of many, and help us ask important questions pointing to real life solutions for some of the hardest issues we deal with today.

I’m looking forward to implementing much of this in our summer project at KIVU, so students can own the issues they want to talk through this summer at KIVU.

A Big thanks to Gabe Lyons, and all the staff at Q for allowing communities around the world to join you in the important conversations.  What a blast!!

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