Past Community Conversations

Go to Current Community Conversation

Follen Church Community Center, 755 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington

Watch the LexMedia video on YouTube

What is “affordable housing”? Who uses it and why do we need it in Lexington? How will the actions we take as a Town impact our community and the broader housing crisis in Massachusetts? The evening’s panelists will answer these questions from personal, Town, and State perspectives and then invite you to consider how much affordable housing Lexington needs.

Before the Conversation, we screened the short animated film, “Segregated by Design”. This film is based on Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law.


State Representative Michell Ciccolo


Jack Cooper, Board member, Housing Corporation of Arlington, and retired Executive Director, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants

Chris Kluchman, Acting Director, Community Services Division, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC)

Tiffany Payne, Affordable housing advocate and board member, Affordable Housing Trust

Elaine Tung, real estate attorney, and Chair, Affordable Housing Trust

October 2023: Why can’t we talk to each other? A conversation on civil discourse, extremism, polarization, bias, and our town

Watch the LexMedia video on YouTube

October 24, 7-8:45 pm
Lexington Community Center Dining Room, 39 Marrett Road

Expert panelists discussed how divisions develop – on the national and local level – and how to promote a culture of open, respectful communication in Lexington and beyond. Learn how improving civil discourse allows us to approach difficult topics to build healthier relationships and a more connected community. This event was co-sponsored by the Lexington Observer and the Lexington Human Rights Committee.


Regie Gibson, Literary Performer


Kerry Dunne

Kerry Dunne, Ed.D. History & Social Studies Department Head, Lexington High School

David Fairman

David Fairman, Senior Mediator, Consensus Building Institute, and Associate Director, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program

Harry Forsdick

Harry Forsdick, Founder and Moderator, Lexington List

Katherine Manning, World History Teacher, Lexington High School

John Sarrouf

John Sarrouf, Co-Executive Director and Director of Program Development of Essential Partners

Read more about our panelists

April 13: How do we think about local news?

April 13, 7-8:45 p.m.
Follen Church Community Center, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington

How well are communities served when their news sources either discontinue operations or are bought out by corporate conglomerates that shift to a regional focus? Where do you go to learn what’s happening in your community? How are people in power held accountable when there no local news?

This event was co-sponsored by the Follen Church Social Action Justice Team, Lexington Lyceum Advocates and the Lexington Observer


Amber Payne, Editor in Chief of The Emancipator.

Dan Kennedy, professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University

Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro,  CEO and co-founder of the National Trust for Local News

Lauren Feeney, co-founder and interim Executive Director of The Lexington Observer.


Julie McCay Turner, cofounder of The Bedford Citizen.


Maggie Herzig, Founding Associate – now retired – of Essential Partners, an organization promoting dialogue on public issues.

March 7: How do we encourage civic engagement to foster a greater sense of community in Lexington?

Resources, presenter bios, and evaluation forms

What do you think makes a good citizen? What makes someone feel a part of a community — or excluded from it? Our panelists and attendees will wrestle with what it means to be engaged: voting, serving as an elected official, advocating for yourself or others, speaking and demonstrating, attending meetings, and volunteering on committees. How do you do this when life already feels overcrowded and there are too many demands on your time?

This is the second in a series of conversations co-sponsored by the Lexington Lyceum Advocates and LexObserver.

Anil Ahuja is a Lexington Town Meeting Member and a Member of the Lexington Appropriation Committee1.  He is the current President of Indian-Americans Getting Involved Group (iGIG). 

Mike Barrett is State Senator for nine Massachusetts communities — Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Weston, and large parts of Lexington and Sudbury.

Jerren Chang is the co-founder & CEO of GenUnity – a Boston-based nonprofit that brings diverse residents – from ‘proximate experts’ experiencing an issue (e.g., Housing Insecurity) to ‘siloed experts’ working in relevant institutions (e.g., Boston Housing Authority) – together to drive change.

Dr. Ofrit Liviatan is a lecturer on law and politics at Harvard’s Department of Government. Dr. Liviatan’s research interests and award-winning teachings focus on divided societies and the role of legal and political mechanisms in the accommodation of diversity.

February 9: How can our education system foster a sense of racial and social justice in our schools and throughout our communities?

An interactive conversation

Lexington’s demographics are rapidly changing, which brings challenges to the whole community. Are we effectively honoring and celebrating this diversity? How do we tell a more complete story of who Lexington is and has been in our school curriculum? What kind of projects or programs can foster collaboration, respect, and appreciation for the contributions of Lexingtonians of all backgrounds?

This community conversation will take place in an interactive format: brief remarks by experts in the field, followed by a moderator-led Q&A discussion with audience members, and culminating in break-out sessions in small groups, led by the panelists.

This is the first in a series of conversations co-sponsored by the Lexington Lyceum Advocates and LexObserver. This community conversation is co-sponsored by the Lexington Lyceum Advocate,  LexObserver, and the First Parish Racial Justice Team.


Dr. Natasha Warikoo, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University; author of Race at the Top and The Diversity Bargain

Kerry Dunne, Ed.D. History & Social Studies Department Head, Lexington High School

Mona Roy, Advocate, Education Committee of Indian Americans of Lexington, Past Chair of Lexington Human Rights Committee, Vice Chair of Lex250 Committee

Jane Hundley,  Social Studies Department Head, grades 6-8, Lexington Public Schools


Dr. Robert Bellinger, Public historian and educator

Come to talk, share, question, listen, and learn! 

Have ideas for more community conversation topics? Let us know!