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  • NYS Writers Institute

A Message to Our Audience: Telling the Truth 2020

At the NYS Writers Institute, we believe that it is critical to engage in conversation with people representing the wide spectrum of political points of view we see in our nation. A discussion does not mean an endorsement.

Our seven-day Telling the Truth 2020 addresses the dangers of tribalism and polarization. All the speakers selected for this series—Left, Right and Center— affirm the need to promote dialogue and listen to diverse perspectives.

We have received a number of objections from individuals in the community about featuring Casey Mulligan and Joe Grogan, past members of the Trump administration. This event does not represent an endorsement of their political views, nor does it provide a platform for promoting political messages or policy agendas.

The primary focus of our Saturday conversation with Mulligan and Grogan is on the importance of opening channels of communication, avoiding the impulse to dehumanize those who disagree with us, promoting civility, and seeking the possibility of common ground.

In a series that specifically addresses political tribalism, polarization, and intense hatreds, we felt that we would be doing you — the audience—a terrible disservice if we did not reach out to representatives of political opinions that may be different from yours, and different from our own.

We value the views, concerns and objections of audience members and we encourage you to share them with us.

Thank you for your passionate engagement with our programming. See the complete Telling the Truth 2020 schedule at

--The New York State Writers Institute

“Now more than ever we need to listen to all sides. You may not agree with what they are saying but we need civil discourse.”

Patricia Sibilia, President, League of Women Voters Albany County

“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric.

To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again.

To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.

The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal.

This is the time to heal in America.”

President-elect Joe Biden, Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 7, 2020

Telling the Truth 2020 is presented by the New York State Writers Institute with special thanks to The Maguire Family Endowment at the NYSWI, The Opalka Family Endowment, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, The University at Albany Foundation, and WAMC Northeast Public Radio.


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