How do we bring people together when it feels like our society is breaking apart?
How can we unleash a greater sense of shared responsibility among us?
How can we be a part of something larger than ourselves to truly make a difference in our communities?
How can we personally find the courage and humility to take such a path?
Rich Harwood helps find the answers. Over the past 30 years, Rich has innovated and developed a new philosophy and practice of how communities can solve shared problems, create a culture of shared responsibility and deepen people’s civic faith.
The Harwood practice of Turning Outward has spread to all 50 U.S. States and is being used in 40 countries. Rich has helped solve some of the most challenging problems in the hardest-pressed communities in America. His experience working on the ground to build capacity and coalitions for change gives him a unique, powerful insight on bridging divides.
If you want to inspire and mobilize people in your community or group to take a new perspective on how we can get things done together, then bring Rich to speak and meet with your key stakeholders.
While tired old debates rage over politics and policy in the wake of this new violence, our social norms rot away. So many people feel utterly bewildered and enraged about the direction of our country. Many of us also feel powerless. But we are not. It is a dire mistake to wait for our politicians to reset our social norms. They are waiting for us.
“Hey bud, here you go.” I looked over to my right when hearing these words, only to see a young man handing a meal to an older homeless gentleman sitting on the sidewalk. I know, there’s a long debate about whether such an action actually helps those in need. But in the world in which we live, we need all the acts of loving kindness we can muster.
Here’s the thing: If we want our work and efforts to be relevant, significant and impactful to the communities and people we seek to serve, then we must make hard choices. Otherwise, what we do may sound good, even do good, but still not be on-target to what we set out to achieve—nor to what we need to do.
Imagine this: Three 12 year-old black kids walk into an ice cream store in an all-white section of town, only to turn to their mentor and ask: “You sure it’s cool that we’re around all these white people?” These kids had never been to this part of town, and as the mentor explained to us in a recent interview, “They were so nervous when they got there.”
Dorothy Day, the great Catholic activist, is someone I have been thinking about lately as our country’s turmoil persists and people’s sense of hope wanes. She once wrote, “People say, what good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?”
Let’s face reality: the underlying change we need in our country today is not likely to come anytime soon from Washington, DC or many of our state capitals. Nor will it come from simply electing a new batch of elected officials that insist on pursuing a divisive and polarized politics. People in communities must step forward if we are to create the lives and communities—and the nation—we aspire to.
As I travel across the country on my new speaking tour, I am hearing a growing readiness and restlessness for a new, hopeful path forward where we can bring out the best in us, the best of us. This is good news—and I find myself reflecting deeply on it as Easter and Passover are upon us.
Last week, in Oak Park, IL, right outside Chicago, I kicked off my two-year, nationwide speaking tour. I’ll have more to say about the tour in the coming days. But, for now, I simply want to talk about why I decided to wear an American flag lapel pin at each tour event and why I have chosen to openly discuss it in my speeches. Many people are downright surprised by this.
I grew up in a small town in upstate New York where lots of people owned guns for hunting. Now, each summer, alone with my two dogs, I go for two weeks to a cabin in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains; this is even more rural and remote upstate New York, where even more people own guns and hunt. Hunting is an act of joy for many people. But when guns become a political weapon, nothing good comes of it.