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Thank you for joining us this Spring for Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change! The Spring series featured conversations about children living in war zones and overcoming trauma, children on the Autism spectrum and how families can use the arts to connect with their children, and the fight for marriage equality and raising a family on the frontlines of that fight.

Join us again this Fall for three more engaging episodes, which will feature transgender-rights advocates Johanna Olson and Aydin Olson-Kennedy talking about children’s gender identity and how to provide gender affirmation to all children; Mayra Alvarez, CEO of the Children’s Partnership, discussing current immigration policies and their harmful effects on children and families; and Hassan Daniel, founder of the Father Factory, discussing how fathers with childhood histories of sexual abuse can heal and become the fathers they want to be and their families need them to be. Registration for the Fall series will open soon!


Spring 2020 Episodes

Episode #1:

Trauma and Recovery: Children in Warzones, Raising Children to Make Peace
Aired: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

As a human rights lawyer and activist, Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda has dedicated her career to working on behalf of children in warzones, negotiating the release of child soldiers caught up in some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. As a boy growing up in Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah was a child soldier in the country’s civil war, and now is a New York Times best-selling author and global advocate for children. Raising their own children together today in California, they share the stories of children in war zones, and their perspectives on what every child deserves, and how to achieve peace in our daily lives.

Ishmael Beah, Best-selling author and human rights activist






Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda, Human rights lawyer and activist





Watch the recording


Episode #2:
Learning with Parents: Children on the Autism Spectrum and the Arts
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

 Yudi Bennett, co-founder of Exceptional Minds, and Elaine Hall, founder of The Miracle Project, create opportunities for their children and others on the Autism spectrum to find meaning and purpose in their lives through the arts. Find out how their children enriched their lives, what they learned as they listened, and how listening led to an animation studio and a theatre company where young people with autism are getting the world to listen to them.

Elaine Hall, Founder of the Miracle Project and Internationally Recognized Autism Educator and Advocate





Yudi Bennett, Co-founder of Exceptional Minds and founder of Foothill Autism Alliance 





Watch the recording


Episode #3:
Marriage Equality and Same Sex Parenting: Families on the Frontlines
Aired: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives, talks with BTC’s Joshua Sparrow, MD, about both the marriage equality lawsuit she and her wife brought against the state of California, and the struggles and joys of same sex parenting.

Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives

Kris is a nationally recognized early childhood advocate and has been instrumental in driving effective early learning policy at local, state, and national levels. She previously served as president of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). Prior to SCAN, Perry was the executive director of the First Five Years Fund. She was also executive director of First 5 California and First 5 San Mateo County, fostering their emergence as one of the most well-known and respected advocates for early childhood development on the state and national levels. Her dedication to children and their families began at the Alameda County Social Services Agency, where she worked for more than 12 years in various capacities, including as a child abuse investigator, family preservation case manager, and program manager. Perry was also a plaintiff in the landmark Proposition 8 case that returned marriage equality to California after a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The conversation was followed by a live, interactive, panel discussion with Kris Perry and three other women leaders in the fight for LGBTQ families and their rights:

Laura Benkov, PhD, Author, Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents

Jane Clementi, Co-founder and CEO, Tyler Clementi Foundation

Ellen Kahn, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships, Human Rights Campaign

Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University

Watch the recording


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To view recordings of the Learning to Listen series, visit our YouTube channel.


Questions? Contact Kayla Savelli at kayla.savelli@childrens.harvard.edu