About The Podcast
“Let us all hope that the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. – Letter from Birmingham Jail
For years, I have been concerned about the increasing polarization and division across our country. In the 2016 Presidential Campaign voices of xenophobia, fear-mongering, and hate seemed to reach a crescendo.
I am starting this podcast to speak into the national conversation in a positive way. One of the purposes of the podcast is to amplify voices for peace building – the voices of men and women calling for people of good will to come together to build bridges of understanding across their differences in order to link arms in collaborating to serve the common good.
These would be voices of diverse people: diverse in terms of ethnicity, academic and professional disciplines, political affiliation, and religion.
What would unite them?
- Love for their fellow humans and the natural world
- Commitment to universal human rights and the responsibilities of citizenship
- Willingness to shoulder the responsibility to constantly reform the systems and structures of our society to make them more just, more participatory, less violent, more inclusive, and more environmentally sustainable.
They would be the voices of people working in their circles of influence to make their parts of the world places in which every person has the opportunity to both benefit from and contribute to the common good. We want to tell the stories of these practical peacemakers.
Along the way, we want to engage in courageous conversations that take us to the edge of the unknown and then dare to go further. We want to explore what it will take to create a successful democracy – an inclusive, united multiethnic, multicultural, multi-religious society in which every person has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the common good.
. . .
About Randy Butler
Randall (Randy) Butler has dedicated his life’s work to the belief that persons of different races, ethnicities, religions, and ideologies can build bridges of understanding and work together for the common good of their communities. In projects from Houston, Texas to the Balkans and South Sudan, Randy conducts mediations and facilitates reconciliation of leaders of groups in conflict. Much of his work involves training leaders in transformational dialogue and conflict transformation skills, and then leading them to use their new skills in collaborative initiatives to build stronger communities in their home regions.
Randy first achieved professional success as a partner and trial lawyer at Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP and later Cook, Butler & Doyle LLP. On January 1, 1999, Mr. Butler left his litigation practice to focus full time on mediation of legal disputes, conflict transformation, and peacemaking.
Randy’s passion for conflict transformation took him to the Balkans twelve times over a period of ten years where he helped design and lead a transformational leadership development and peacebuilding program for 500 young leaders from all of the region’s ethnic and national groups. His experience there led him to found The Institute for Sustainable Peace (ISP) in 2007. He has led the ISP team in the design and facilitation of 15 Transformational Leadership Workshops for over 200 activists and leaders in the Sudanese/South Sudanese Diaspora and in Sudan, Darfur, and South Sudan. Most recently Randy has designed Healing & Reconciliation Workshops in partnership with South Sudan Women United and My Sister’s Keeper.
Randy has designed and facilitated numerous civic engagement and dialogue projects in the Houston Region. The projects there include:
• Jewish/Muslim and Jewish/Muslim/Christian Dialogue Groups with Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.
• The Connecting Communities project in partnership with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research that brought together 51 diverse leaders to answer three questions:
- What does an inclusive, equitable, and united multi-ethnic Houston look like?
- What are the barriers to achieving that vision?
- What are the policy changes and initiatives that should be undertaken to overcome those barriers and achieve the vision?
• Dialogue Workshop: “How Do We Host Diverse Voices In Powerful Conversations About Hard Topics” focused on the question: “How Will We Write The Next Chapter In The Story Of Race In America?”
Randy was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® editions for the past several years in the practice areas of Arbitration and Mediation. He is also rated AV-Preeminent in the Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.
The Anti-Defamation League-Southwest recognized Randy’s peacemaking work when they gave him the Ben & Julie Rogers Ecumenism Award at their annual dinner on October 20, 2010. In May 2011, the Garland R. Walker Inns of Court presented him with its Professionalism Award.