GREENWICH — A trauma surgeon who works closely with police yet fears for his safety if pulled over by officers will take on the issue of race in a talk Tuesday night in Greenwich.
The Nantucket Project — working with the Westport-based nonprofit The Common Ground Committee — will host the discussion, “A Doctor’s Dilemma: Race, Violence and Medicine,” with Dr. Brian Williams at 7 p.m. at 123 Mason St.
The talk is billed as “a night of discussion about coming together on what could tear us apart.”
Williams was at work at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on July 7, 2016, when a shooter ambushed officers at the end of a rally protesting police brutality. Williams treated seven of the 14 officers who were shot; three of them were among the five who were wounded fatally in the deadliest incident for law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.
That deadly shooting marked a “turning point” for Williams in terms of how he faces the difficult questions created by the racial divide in America.
“There are a lot of people talking at each other, talking over each other, trying to shout each other out,” Williams said in a past interview on CNN. “But I don’t see people truly listening to the other side. Until we are ready to do that, there probably won’t be any truly substantive change.”
As part of Tuesday’s discussion, Williams will be interviewed by Bruce Bond, chair of The Common Ground Committee and, afterward, he will take questions from the audience.
“Our goal is to bring light, not heat, to public discourse,” said Bond. “We exist to open up conversations like this one on race and work toward finding common ground. We believe it is possible for all sides to come together to find clarity, understanding and progress in a respectful manner without compromising fundamental principles.”
The audience will hear about the issues from Williams’ perspective, engage on the issue and gain understanding. That is vital when it comes to such a difficult topic, Bond said.
Bond said audience members can take a “step toward healing” as Williams shares the experience of treating those wounded officers while still addressing the larger issues involved.
“He is really the personification of this issue as he spends his day at work bridging that divide and working side by side with law enforcement and yet he knows things can become different when he goes home from work,” Bond said. “His speaking out is very important if we’re going to have this conversation about this issue.”
The Nantucket Project has made its home in Greenwich through its Mason Street Project initiative as a satellite of the main organization. For tickets and more information, visit https://nantucketproject.regfox.com/mason-st-project-brian-williams .
The Nantucket Project also put together a 2017 event in town with The Common Ground Committee about bringing civility back into the national discourse through finding common ground. The discussion focused on how people can work together instead of being in conflict, a situation complicated by today’s hyper-partisan political climate.
Scott Williams, president of The Nantucket Project, noted how the two groups’ missions dovetail. The Nantucket Project’s goal is to “bring fresh ideas to curious audiences” through discussions, short films and “unforgettable experiences.”