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Tualatin library presents discussion on Declaration of Independence

While some people shy away from mentioning sensitive topics, starting hard conversations is one of Oregon Humanities' goals.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities partners with organizations around the state to lead discussions that aren’t always easy, but are always inquisitive.

And just in time for Independence Day, a talk titled “The Truths We Hold: The Poetry and Lessons of the Declaration of Independence” will be held at the Tualatin Public Library on July 2.

“What we try to do is get people talking all across the state, especially about hard questions,” said Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities. “We’re trying to fill this desire to get people talking.”

The July 2 conversation will be led by Wendy Willis, who is a poet, essayist and executive director of the Policy Consensus Initiative, a national nonprofit that aims to improve democratic governance. She’ll pull knowledge from all of these avenues while leading the discussion during “The Truths We Hold,” and will explore themes such as how the Declaration can be used to improve the country and what the right to pursue happiness truly means.

“(Wendy) has gotten people talking about everything from race and policing to poetry to hard-core political realities,” Davis said. “She’s really good at opening the space to different perspectives in helpful ways.”

And that’s the goal of the Conversation Project, to simply start the conversation and open up someone’s world view. The idea isn’t to fill a room full of people with the same opinions, said Davis; it’s about learning from people who might see the world differently, and to leave feeling more comfortable in exploring the topic.

“I think any good work we do together in the community depends on our capability to engage with people we don’t know or don’t agree with. It’s enjoyable to talk about substantive things with people that are different than us,” Davis said. “It’s fine to walk out with even more questions than you walked in with.”

What:

— The Truths We Hold: The Poetry and Lessons of the Declaration of Independence

— Discussion in partnership with Oregon Humanities

When: Thursday, July 2 at 7 p.m.

Where: Tualatin Public Library, 18878 S.W. Martinazzi Ave.

Cost: Free

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