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Denver Talks Engages More Than 6,000 Residents

"Citizen: An American Lyric" sparks citywide discussion of race, social justice

DENVER—More than 6,000 metro-area residents participated in Denver Talks events this fall, part of a citywide dialogue on race, social justice, and Claudia Rankine’s book, Citizen: An American Lyric.

A project of Lighthouse Writers Workshop, NEA Big Read, and the City & County of Denver, Denver Talks hosted six weeks of arts events, book talks, and community discussions, culminating in a free on-stage conversation with Rankine and Mayor Michael B. Hancock at Boettcher Concert Hall. Some highlights of the project include:

  • More than 1,800 people were in attendance for Rankine’s conversation with the mayor.
  • An audience of 360 middle school, high school, and college students attended the mayor’s student conversation with Rankine at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
  • Lighthouse coordinated more than 60 individual book talks, community conversations, and Citizen-inspired art-making sessions in Denver as well as in Broomfield, Westminster, and Aurora.
  • More than 1,600 copies of Citizen were handed out for free, and 1,900 print, electronic, and audio books were loaned out through Denver Public Libraries.
  • Several dozen high school and college classes made Citizen a part of their fall curriculum.

Denver Talks involved more than 36 community partners and 17 sponsors located throughout the metro area, and Denver Arts & Venues—inspired by IMAGINE 2020 and its own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness initiative—supported the purchase of more than 900 of the distributed books.

Denver Talks will become an ongoing project, and residents are invited to submit their ideas for what they’d like to see next at