The “Can We Talk” series began in 2016. This ongoing series is designed to engender productive and respectful discourse here in Concord. The goal is to create opportunities for the community to come together to discuss and learn from what is happening around us.

Since 2016, the CCACE Advisory Committee has promoted and hosted three community forums: Fake News: The Changing Landscape of Journalism in the 21st Century, Conversations in a Civil Society-Agreeing to Disagree, and The Defamation Experience.

CCACE covers the cost of bringing these talks to the community. We charge a fee to help defray these costs. If you would like, you may make a donation to help cover future “Can We Talk programs”.


November 2018:
The Defamation Experience

Join us for a participatory play that is appropriate for audiences of all ages and will be the must-see event of the fall!

The premise is a civil suit: An African American female business owner is suing a Jewish male real estate developer for defamation. The woman was invited to the home of the man for a potential business project. After the meeting, the developer realized that his family heirloom watch was gone.

After the 75-min dramatic testimony, the judge tells the audience they are going to be the jury. A first poll is taken. The choices are for the plaintiff, the defendant, or undecided. The tally is announced and the judge then leads a deliberation. The audience is invited to stay for a post-show discussion.

Learn more about The Defamation Experience.


April 2017:
Conversations in a Civil Society: Agreeing to Disagree
The search for common ground

Join us for a panel discussion by

Moderator: Ethan Hoblitzelle, Social Studies teacher at CCHS

Panelists: Ona Ferguson from Consensus Building Institute, Dr. Robert Munro
from Middlesex School, and Rose Pavlov from Ivy Child


April 2016:
News: The Changing Landscape of Journalism in the 21st Century

Click here to view the program.


David Nurenberg, Concord-Carlisle High School English Teacher,
Assistant Professor, Leslie University School of Education
Dr. Nurenberg has been teaching high school humanities for 15 years, during which he has taught, and designed, a wide variety of courses, including a World Literature elective that won awards from the US State Department for promoting international understanding. He has worked with the State Department over the past five years to design and administer the first ever sister-school exchange program between schools in the USA and the insular former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan. In keeping with both Social constructivism and Critical pedagogy, Dr. Nurenberg believes that teachers and students co-create learning through either conscious or unconscious negotiation, and that becoming conscious of this process is a vital factor in shaping effective education. He believes that students are most engaged when they can apply the work they do in class to authentic opportunities to empower themselves and effect change in their school and community. He tries to engage his Lesley students in applying relevant educational theory to grounded use in classroom practice.

Panelists bios:
Tim Riley, Emerson College, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism
NPR critic Tim Riley is the author most recently of Lennon: Man, Myth, Music (Hyperion, 2011), which the New York Times praised as “a critical tour-de-force.” He has also written Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary (Knopf/Vintage 1988), Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary (Knopf/Vintage 1992, Da Capo 1999), Madonna: Illustrated (Hyperion 1992), and Fever: How Rock’N’Roll Transformed Gender In America (St. Martin’s/Picador 2005). He has lectured on campuses nationwide discussing Censorship in the Arts and Rock History, and was Brown University’s Critic In Residence in 2008. He runs the Riley Rock Index and contributes to blog riley.

Karen Shiffman, Executive Producer, On Point
Karen Shiffman, executive producer of On Point, has worked on the show since it went on air in 2001. Before coming to WBUR, she spent more than a decade as a television producer at WCVB-TV and WBZ-TV. Karen holds a master’s in psychology from Harvard and once almost went to work for Martha Stewart, a fellow Barnard College graduate. Instead, she runs On Point and has produced the station’s coverage of the past three Democratic and Republican conventions.
A rabid Red Sox fan and an enthusiastic home cook, she lives in Brookline, just blocks from Fenway Park.

Melissa Zimdars, Merimack College,
Assistant Professor of Communication, Department of Communication & Media

Dr. Zimdars earned her Ph.D. in Communication Studies (Media Studies) from the University of Iowa in 2015. Her M.A in Media Studies (2010) and B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science (2008) are from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Zimdars was previously an instructor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. She is a member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the National Communication Association.

When she’s not researching and teaching, Dr. Zimdars spends time working on, a project that navigates fake and otherwise misleading “news” websites.

Dr. Zimdars also has a radio show on Merrimack College’s station, WMCK, and spends a lot of time going to shows in the Boston area, listening to records, and eating fried foods that she should probably avoid.