John McKnight, Keynote
John McKnight is Co-Director of the Asset-Based Development Community Development Institute and Professor Emeritus of Communications Studies and Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. For more than four decades at the University his research focused on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organization, neighborhood policy and the incorporation of labeled people into community life.
Bruce Anderson from Community Activators is exploring the ripe center and the dangerous edges where asset-based community development and innovative helping organizations meet. Gifts, welcoming, and hope are the three themes he’s pursuing, since they have formed the foundation for thriving communities for centuries.
De’Amon Harges works as a community organizer in Indianapolis under the title of “The Roving Listener.” The primary role and function of his work is to build community, build economy, and build mutual delight among neighbors. De’Amon “roves” block by block acknowledging and celebrating the gifts, talents, passions, and dreams of neighbors and seeking to find ways to connect neighbors together.
Tom Kohler, Coordinator and Executive Director of Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy, is the co-author of Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community. He, along with many others, are leading the movement to host world readings of this historic book on MLK 2011. Tom will help us host the best possible reading in our local communities.
Connie Lyle O’Brien
Connie Lyle O'Brien is a native Georgian who has spent the last thirty years learning about what it takes for people with disabilities, their families, friends and allies to better support people with disabilities to live, work, learn, worship and have fun as full participants in community life. This learning has and continues to occur in many places across the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, and Spain. Her best teachers have been people with disabilities, their parents and friends, and direct service providers. For more information on their books, visit http://tinyurl.com/OBrien-books ; to download some of his papers, visit http://tinyurl.com/OBrien-Papers
John O’Brien learns about building more just and inclusive communities from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. He uses what he learns to advise people with disabilities and their families, advocacy groups, service providers, and governments and to spread the news among people interested in change by writing and through workshops. He works in partnership with Connie Lyle O’Brien and a group of friends from 12 countries. He is a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform (UK) and is affiliated with the Center on Human Policy, Law & Disability, Syracuse University (US), inControl Partnerships (UK), and the Marsha Forest Centre: (Canada). For more information on his books, visit http://tinyurl.com/OBrien-books ; to download some of his papers, visit http://tinyurl.com/OBrien-Papers.