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TPR And Area Foundation Issue 'Dare To Listen' Challenge

Shelley Kofler
Texas Public Radio

An influential group of religious, political and community leaders this morning joined Texas Public Radio (TPR) and the San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAF) in launching a campaign aimed at promoting civil discussion among people who may disagree.  

Texas Public Radio President and CEO Joyce Slocum said planning for the “Dare to Listen” project began months ago, before recent police shootings and the ambush of Dallas police underscored the need for communities to unite.

“Establishing an atmosphere where civil, civic debate is valued, where differences are respected and common ground is celebrated is on all of us,” said Slocum.  “We each must take responsibility for our own actions.  It cannot rest solely on the shoulders of our leaders.”

“We must listen to one another, and try to respect each other’s point of view,” said Dennis Noll, executive director of the San Antonio Area Foundation, where the event was being held. "It feels like everyone with a microphone is yelling at me.  And in that atmosphere it's easy to shut down.  That may be what we've done as a country."

The campaign encourages members of the public to “join the movement” by going online at idaretolisten.org to accept the “Dare to Listen” challenge.

Credit Texas Public Radio

Campaign organizers are also planning live events, social media outreach and advertising that will spread the message.

Texas Public Radio will broadcast news segments featuring diverse opinions. This fall, TPR and SAAF will host events at college campuses and create materials religious institutions can use to implement the initiative with their congregations.

Elected officials who attended the event included San Antonio City Council Member Shirley Gonzales, Former U.S. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez and Texas Rep. Diego Bernal. The presidents of St. Mary's University, Trinity University and Our Lady of the Lake University participated, as well as spiritual leaders from Christian, non-denominational, Islamic and Jewish institutions. 

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.