Issues Confronting America

Four guest speakers will share their perspectives on issues confronting our nation in 2019, from challenges and changes in rural America to proposals for gun policy reform to unpacking headlines in the news to understanding the tenets of diverse faith traditions. Music precedes each forum a half hour in advance, and a public reception follows. Forums are free and open to all. 

Art Cullen
Tuesday, February 12, Noon
Change and Resilience in the Heartland

Art Cullen is editor and co-owner of The Storm Lake Times, a flourishing, family-owned, twice-weekly newspaper founded in 1990 in Northwest Iowa. In 2017, Cullen was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a series of columns indicting corporate agri-business for polluting the rivers and lakes in the most intensively farmed land in the world. His recently published book, Storm Lake, chronicles his life as a journalist and describes the changes in politics, agriculture, climate, and immigration that are confronting his community and rural America. A graduate of the University of St. Thomas, his commentaries have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and the StarTribune.

David Hogg
Tuesday, March 19, Noon
Putting the USA over the NRA

David Hogg is a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He is among 20 Parkland students who founded Never Again MSD, a gun control advocacy group, and he is a founding member of March for Our Lives, one of the largest youth-led movements in the world. An advocate for ending gun violence in America, he has traveled the country calling for voter participation, civic engagement, and social activism. He and his younger sister, Lauren, are co-authors of the bestselling book #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line and contributors to the book Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement, a compilation of writings from the founders of March for Our Lives.

Jonathan Capehart
Tuesday, April 9, Noon
A Bold Look at Today’s Headlines

Jonathan Capehart is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and member of The Washington Post editorial board, focusing on politics, social issues, and cultural shifts globally and nationally. He is a regular contributor to the blog PostPartisan and hosts the podcast Cape Up. He is a periodic commentator on MSNBC and a moderator at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Center for American Progress, the Atlantic Dialogues conference, and the Brussels Forum. Earlier in his career, he was an editorial page editor and editorial board member for the New York Daily News, and he served as a national affairs columnist for Bloomberg News. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey, attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, and is a graduate of Carleton College.

Barbara Brown Taylor
Tuesday, April 30, Noon
Finding God in the Faith of Others

Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest, teacher, and bestselling author of 14 books on religion and spirituality, including Leaving Church, An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark, which was featured on the cover of Time magazine and named one of the best religion books of 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly. She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, and on the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, Georgia. Her latest book, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others, will be published in April 2019.