After credible threats of disruption to Town Hall Seattle’s programs on Thursday, October 20, Reza Aslan’s event has been postponed. Our core mission is to be a collective resource for regional nonprofits and we cannot risk jeopardizing other events in our building. For the additional context of that decision, here’s the note that accompanied our notice of postponement.
Thank you, sincerely, to everyone who reached out with concerns around our previously-scheduled appearance by Reza Aslan. Before addressing this, I wanted to share a few thoughts about our organization generally.
Town Hall Seattle is a 22-year-old nonprofit dedicated to maximizing the expression of ideas and creativity in our region. Programs on our stages originate either with dozens of independent organizations or from the program team at Town Hall itself; when we program an event, we don’t pay and are not paid to host it. Our in-house programs are driven by curiosity, by local relevance, and by the belief that arguments that are respectfully conceived, researched, and delivered will be received as such by a broad, curious audience. We believe that a willingness to consider multiple perspectives can lead to increased empathy that can restore mutual respect to our political and social discourse.
We don’t advocate for specific perspectives; Town Hall Seattle is explicitly non-partisan and the opinions expressed on our stages should in no way be assumed to be those of the organization, its staff, board, membership, or affiliated institutions. In short, we contradict ourselves all the time here — it’s the nature of open discourse.
At the same time, we are also deeply rooted in community — so it’s been important to us to have the chance to hear the feedback we’ve received in the last 24 hours about Dr. Aslan’s planned event on the life of Howard Baskerville. As you may know by now, we’ve decided to postpone his appearance indefinitely, and we will keep all the most thoughtful considerations and concerns in mind in future programming decisions.
Thank you again for taking the time to reach out, and we hope you’ll consider joining us at a future Town Hall event.