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What if the "missing link” in our national conversation on race is a simple yet profound shift in how we frame the conversation? Read more

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This project's funding goal was not reached on April 24, 2014.

What if the "missing link” in our national conversation on race is a simple yet profound shift in how we frame the conversation?

About this project

Welcome to the pre-sell of my book, The Conversation We COULD Be Having.

This book is for everyone, but it's ESPECIALLY for You -- the folks I call the "hidden demographic,"  What does that mean, you ask?  Well, read on:

If you are open-minded, progressive, and thoughtful, then this book is for you. 

If you don’t consider yourself an "activist," and yet still want to engage on the topic of race -- not only regarding social justice, but also cultural exchange and friendship -- then this book is for you.

If you do consider yourself an activist, then this book is also for you -- because, even though we may have different approaches, we are still working toward the same righteous end: total EQUALITY for ALL PEOPLE.

If you want a space where you're not asked to be the "representative of your race," then this book is for you.

If you're a white person who is not in denial about the need for this conversation -- but also someone who doesn't resonate with the "you MUST admit you're racist, even if you don't think you are" white-guilt approach -- then this book is for you. (In other words, you get that white people and people of color still aren't treated equally in this country, but rather than guilt and shame, you'd like to bring your "whole humanity" to the program.)

If you are a person of color who is a bit weary of explaining "racial" things to white people, and yet also don't necessarily consider yourself an activist, then this book is for you.

If you are not afraid to talk about race, but often feel like you don't really know how to, then this book is for you.  

If you are multi-racial, in an interracial relationship, were adopted by parents  of another race, or have adopted a child of another race, then this book is for you.

If you want to get beyond the guilt and denial and really connect – in a more meaningful, lasting way -- then this book is for you.

If you want a real conversation about race that feels authentic, uninhibited,  and rich with possibility, then this book is for you. 

ConversationWe at IGNITE (5-min. video of me sharing some core concepts of the book.)

HOW I GOT STARTED IN ALL OF THIS

I was about eight years old, in the mid 70's, looking at images from the Civil Rights Movement, in the big TIME/LIFE book on my grandmother's coffee table.  I was simply riveted.  I didn't fully comprehend what I was looking at, but I knew it was something of great import.  That was the seed of my calling.

Ultimately, I became a musician, painter and educator --  and began to use the arts as a catalyst for a different kind of conversation about race.

In the Spring of 2000, I realized a 20-year dream and debuted my full-length "concept album" called The Divided States of America.  Tony Norman, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as "a suite of songs about race, class, and other divisions that continue to haunt the American dream."  You will get the full album as a download, at just the $5 donation level -- PLUS the advance preview of the book! You can check out the songs here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/j.g.-boccella/id6272793

The Divided States of America album
The Divided States of America album

A NEW PARADIGM FOR RACE

After years of creating and implementing programs on race, I began to notice a phenomenon: a “hidden demographic” of people who really wanted to connect across lines of race -- socially, professionally, and intellectually -- but who didn’t have “a way in.”

In “The Conversation We COULD Be Having,” I offer a new paradigm for race relations in America. I describe how -- by engaging each person’s “whole humanity” -- we can move beyond narrowly defined roles, to a place of far greater understanding, connection, and relationship.

Something is brewing. There is a zeitgeist forming – an opportunity before us. All over the country, members of this hidden demographic want something more -- something more holistic, more accessible, more generative.  I truly believe that this book could help so many people because it meets a huge unmet need that's out there.  The hidden demographic represents a lever for social change.  How do social norms shift?  When people are empowered, given a way into a process, and a way to connect.  Please help me get these ideas to as many people as possible by helping me get the book finished and marketed.  Many thanks!

REWARD CATEGORIES

DOWNLOADS: For just $5 you'll get the full-album download AND the full book preview!

PHYSICAL BOOKS: Check out all the options for paperback and hardcover editions of The Conversation We COULD Be Having. From the $20 pledge level, up to the $250 level. 

CONVERSATIONS: Let's have a conversation!  Coffee and conversation with you, a friend, and me for a $450 pledge.  Luncheon conversation for you and up to 5 friends, and yours truly, starting at $1,250.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Starting at the $1000 pledge level.  I will come and speak to your group, school, nonprofit, corporation or event about the core concepts from the book.  More on my speaking at: www.ConversationWe.com/speaking 

FLAG PAINTINGS: My signed, original, acrylic-on-canvas "Diversity Flag" paintings -- based on the book cover art. 

CONCERTS: J.G. BOCCELLA & the MODO MIO BAND, live in concert!

MY PLAN FOR THE BOOK

I am setting this up like an artist residency.  I need two months to finish the book with total focus and no distractions.  

I have a team including publicity, graphic design and editing -- who really believe in the book and are investing their time.

Danielle Chiotti, active in the NYC publishing world for the past ten years, will be editing the book.

MY CREDENTIALS:

To see articles, videos and radio interview, you can go to my media page at: www.ConversationWe.com/media

I have a bachelor's degree, in Visual Art, from Brown University and a master's degree, in Arts in Education, from Harvard University.  I have appeared at The Consortium for Public Education, The CORO Center for Leadership, The Mayor’s Council on Youth, Presidential Classroom, universities, corporations, high schools, churches, and many other organizations, as well as on radio and television.

TESTIMONIALS:

"J.G. gave me insights into this discourse about race that I've been grappling with for years in ways that would have saved me so much time and moved my thinking and clarity forward light years faster had I heard it earlier.  His knowledge, experience, research and insights provides many an a-ha moment to those fortunate enough to have these conversations with him."  - Erika Gold Kestenberg, Ph.D. Visiting Asssistant Professor-Director of University of Pittsburgh UPrep Partnership, Pittsburgh, PA  

"J.G., I just wanted to say thanks for a captivating and influential event tonight...I love the idea of asking, "What can I do to be an ally?" and how that is so simple but not easy. I'll be thinking about engaging our whole humanity, and I'm so glad to feel empowered with a way to talk about my identity in all of this -- an ally and member of the hidden demographic (although now, I think I was part of the hidden demographic, and after tonight have shifted to ally: vocal and not just willing to engage, but will engage). Rory Michelle Sullivan, Development and Communications Associate, Harvard Hillel, Cambridge, MA

"Dear J.G., I want to thank you for coming to the University Unitarian Church to present your workshop, "Race in Amerca: Speaking the Unspoken."  The teenagers in our youth group really enjoyed the evening.  Your music is a marvelous vehicle for reaching teens and for opening them up to this very important issue.  They had vibrant and deep dialogue after your presentation and were inspired to do more anti-racism work at their next conference." - Amanda Ayling, Youth and Young Adult Program Coordinator, University Unitarian Church, Seattle, WA

"Dear J.G., On behalf of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council for the City of
Pittsburgh, I am writing to thank you so much for your powerful,
thought-provoking performance and facilitated discussion on the
“disconnect” between races in America today...The Council thoroughly enjoyed your performance of songs from your original CD, The Divided States of America.  Further, they have not stopped talking about the discussion that you facilitated afterwards...Our society needs more individuals like you taking their passion and talent for affecting social change and sharing them with both youth and adults." -- Daniel Horgan, former Youth Program Officer, TRWIB, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA (Currently  Executive Director, generationOn, New York, NY)

"J.G., thanks so much for your wonderful presentation today!  We had a fantastic  discussion & reflection after you left!  The kids really loved how you related your personal life to the subject and found the program very stimulating.   Your generosity and talent are a real asset to our community.   Hope to see you again real soon.”  - Leigh-Anne Weiss, Community Service Director, Gateway Senior High School, Pittsburgh, PA

Thank you so much for being a part of the manifestation of this book!

OneLove, JG

ConversationWe.com

jgboccella.com

PROGRAM INFO
PROGRAM INFO
"DIVERSITY FLAG" crayon drawing book cover art
"DIVERSITY FLAG" crayon drawing book cover art
                                                       
JGB
JGB
   

Risks and challenges

The reason I am doing this book independently instead of signing with a publisher is because I want to maintain the integrity of the content. And since I'm a first-time author without a huge "platform" or blog following, I don't think they will give me total creative control of the book. Marketing is my key challenge. If I don't raise much money, I won't have much marketing. But with each new level of donations, I will have more dollars for marketing, publicity, and promotion.

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Rewards

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $4 or more
    About $4 USD

    0 backers Limited (250000 left of 250000)

    DIGITAL PREVIEW: The digital preview edition of The Conversation We COULD Be Having, available to you first, before any other versions are delivered to anyone, anywhere. We'll send you a link to the entire book on a specially formatted website, available to read online only for four days, and then it's gone.

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    Pledge $5 or more
    About $5 USD

    2 backers Limited (249998 left of 250000)

    FULL ALBUM DOWNLOAD, PLUS PREVIEW: You'll get a download of my full-length album, "The Divided States of America." It was my first and only full-length album, and the fulfillment of a 20-dream. It is a "concept album" about race in America, and a great companion to the book. PLUS you'll also get the DIGITAL BOOK PREVIEW.

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    Pledge $15 or more
    About $15 USD

    1 backer Limited (249999 left of 250000)

    DIGITAL BOOK: You'll get a DRM-free digital copy of The Conversation We COULD Be Having. This is the fastest and cheapest way to get the book! PLUS, you'll get the full-album download, and the digital preview.

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    Pledge $20 or more
    About $20 USD

    7 backers Limited (993 left of 1000)

    ONE PHYSICAL AND ONE DIGITAL: You'll get a SIGNED, paperback copy of The Conversation We COULD be Having AND a digital copy. For non-US donors, please donate at least $30 total to accommodate shipping.

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    About $30 USD

    2 backers Limited (998 left of 1000)

    HARDCOVER: You'll get a signed copy of the hardcover edition of The Conversation We COULD be Having AND a digital copy. For non-US donors, please donate at least $40 total to accommodate shipping

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    Pledge $35 or more
    About $35 USD

    0 backers Limited (1000 left of 1000)

    TWO-PACK: You'll get two SIGNED copies of the paperback edition of The Conversation We COULD be Having AND a digital copy. For non-US donors, please donate at least $45 total to accommodate shipping.

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    Pledge $55 or more
    About $55 USD

    2 backers Limited (998 left of 1000)

    HARDCOVER TWO-PACK: You'll get two SIGNED copies of the hardcover edition of The Conversation We COULD be Having AND a digital copy. For non-US donors, please donate at least $70 total to accommodate shipping

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    Pledge $75 or more
    About $75 USD

    3 backers Limited (997 left of 1000)

    TWO AND TWO: You'll get two SIGNED copies of the hardcover edition of The Conversation We COULD be Having, two signed paperback copies, AND a digital copy, plus the book preview and the album download. For non-US donors, please donate at least $100 total to accommodate shipping

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    Pledge $250 or more
    About $250 USD

    0 backers Limited (100 left of 100)

    TWENTY-PACK: You'll get twenty SIGNED copies of the paperback edition of The Conversation We COULD be Having AND a digital copy.

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    Pledge $450 or more
    About $450 USD

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    COFFEE AND CONVERSATION Let's have a hot beverage and the conversation we COULD be having! You and a friend meet me for coffee.
    Pittsburgh, PA only.

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    Pledge $850 or more
    About $850 USD

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    "DIVERSITY FLAG" ORIGINAL PAINTING: This is one of a limited edition series I am doing based on the crayon drawing that is on the book cover. Each original acrylic-on-canvas painting at this 24"x36" size, is signed, gallery-wrapped and ready to hang.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more
    About $1,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT, PITTSBURGH: I will come and speak to your group, school, nonprofit, corporation or event about the core concepts from the book. More on my speaking at: www.ConversationWe.com/speaking

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    About $1,250 USD

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    AUTHOR CONVERSATION LUNCH (PITTSBURGH, PA, ONLY): Let's have lunch and a conversation! Ask up to five of your friends to join in. We can break bread and talk about the ideas in the book. I would love to hear what you think; and I would be happy to answer questions. Also comes with six, signed copies of the hardback edition of The Conversation We COULD Be Having.

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    About $1,500 USD

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    DIVERSITY FLAG" ORIGINAL PAINTING (36"50", unmounted): This is one of a limited edition series I am doing based on the crayon drawing that is on the book cover. Each original acrylic-on-canvas painting at this larger 36"x50" size, is signed, and left unmounted. I can happily provide consultation on mounting and framing options.

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    About $2,000 USD

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    DIVERSITY FLAG" ORIGINAL PAINTING (48"x70", unmounted): This is one of a limited edition series I am doing based on the crayon drawing that is on the book cover. Each original acrylic-on-canvas painting at this even larger 36"x50" size, is signed, and left unmounted. I can happily provide consultation on mounting and framing options.

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    About $2,500 USD

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    SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT, NYC or BOSTON/CAMBRIDGE: will come and speak to your group, school, nonprofit, corporation or event about the core concepts from the book. More on my speaking at: www.ConversationWe.com/speaking

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    AUTHOR CONVERSATION LUNCH (NYC OR BOSTON/CAMBRIDGE): Let's have lunch and a conversation! Ask up to five of your friends to join in. We can break bread and talk about the ideas in the book. I would love to hear what you think; and I would be happy to answer questions. Also comes with six, signed copies of the hardback edition of The Conversation We COULD Be Having.

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    About $4,000 USD

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    SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT, WEST COAST
    (L.A.; SAN FRANCISCO; SAN DIEGO; OR SEATTLE): I will come and speak to your group, school, nonprofit, corporation or event about the core concepts from the book. More on my speaking at: www.ConversationWe.com/speaking

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    AUTHOR CONVERSATION LUNCH, WEST COAST
    (L.A.; SAN FRANCISCO; SAN DIEGO; OR SEATTLE): Let's have lunch and a conversation! Ask up to five of your friends to join in. We can break bread and talk about the ideas in the book. I would love to hear what you think; and I would be happy to answer questions. Also comes with six, signed copies of the hardback edition of The Conversation We COULD Be Having.

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    PRIVATE CONCERT -- J.G. BOCCELLA & the MODO MIO BAND, live in concert for you and your closest 100 friends! (PITTSBURGH PA ONLY) You can hear what the band sounds like live, here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jgboccella2/from/greatindiemusic

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    PRIVATE CONCERT (NYC OR CAMBRIDGE/BOSTON)
    -- J.G. BOCCELLA & the MODO MIO BAND, live in concert for you and your closest 100 friends! You can hear what the band sounds like live, here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jgboccella2/from/greatindiemusic

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Funding period

- (30 days)