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Posted: 10:05AM October 20th, 2011 | Comments

Visionary seems like one of those words that gets tossed around a little too freely.  

And we're told by every other TV commercial and magazine ad about someone or something that will "change the world."

But, for my money, the list of 25 "Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World in 2011," published in the newest issue of Utne Reader, does justice to both of those otherwise hackneyed phrases.  Whether it's Tim DeChristopher's stirring call to political engagement in the face of brazen corporate self-interest, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison's blunt demands for cultural and religious tolerance, or David Simon's groundbreaking television addressing class, color, and criminal justice -- the work by the individuals on Utne's list is clearly at the advancing edge of human creativity and ingenuity.  

(Maybe I'm just responding to the cumulative force of a crowd -- as I read each bio I say, "Yeah!" then "YEAH!" then "HECK YEAH!  THEY'RE DOING WHAT?!")


Friends of Sustain Dane will be particularly excited to see Parker J. Palmer's name on the list.  Though Parker's been "changing the world" for a couple decades now, his new book is finely calibrated to the political and civic difficulties that are, if not unique to 2011, certainly plumbing new lows in this build up to a "crucial election season" (to use another hack phrase).

Parker is a Madison resident, though his work with Center for Courage and Renewal has affected tens of thousands of Americans, helping them "rejoin soul and role" and rediscover their vocations.  Healing the Heart of Democracy is an analogue to that work, focused on rejoining the central collective spirit of the American experiment to the political process that is meant to channel that spirit rather than enslave it.

Please join Sustain Dane as we collaborate with Parker Palmer for 2 very special Madison-area appearances.  This Saturday at 1pm, Sustain Dane's Executive Director Kristen Joiner will appear with Parker and Madison Urban League's Kaleem Caire for a panel discussion at the Wisconsin Book Festival.  

And, of course, Parker will deliver a TED-style talk on Friday evening of the upcoming Badger Bioneers Conference (November 11 & 12 at Edgewood College), along with 5 other individuals we regard as, yes, Visionaries.




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