Episode Information

WWL: Brave Thinkers
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Share this Content

In this episode:

It takes courage to think outside the box


Episode Audio

49:02 minutes (23.54 MB)
Download this Episode

According to the Atlantic Magazine, a “Brave Thinker” is “someone who has the courage to ask fundamental questions about why things are the way they are, and how they might be instead”.

Brave thinkers ask uncomfortable questions and drive our society forward – The Atlantic has nominated 27 such people. Some we know, like Ben Bernanke, Ralph Nader and Barack Obama – and some that are more obscure, like Trey Parker and Matt Stone the creators of the TV show “Southpark", and John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock PA.

But brave thinkers don’t just exist on a national level, they’re also right here in Connecticut – in our cities and towns, in our neighborhoods and schools.

Today, Where We Live – we’ll talk to the editor of the Atlantic to find out how they made their nominations – and you’ll hear some local nominations as well. And we want to hear from you… Who would you nominate as a “Brave Thinker” and why?

Related Content:

Nomination for Brave Thinker

I nominate Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven. As a freshman legislator, Rep. Holder-Winfield could have played it safe, kept his head down, and maybe made a splash with a safe, popular issue. Instead, he took up one of the most controversial and heated topics there was: the repeal of the death penalty. Everybody told him it wasn't the time to push for abolition, that it was too soon, that a bill would never get out of committee. But Rep. Holder-Winfield is an independent thinker, and did not see the need to heed the conventional "wisdom." To him, the death penalty is an injustice, and a huge waste of his constituents' tax dollars. He forged ahead with a bill. Not only did it get out of committee, it passed the House by nationally historic margins, and then proceeded to pass the Senate. Only the pen of Governor Rell stopped the bill from becoming law. Since this veto, Rep. Holder-Winfield has not slowed down, taking every opportunity to promote abolition, expose the Governor's hypocrisy in vetoing the bill, and vowing to see this bill all the way through to enactment the next time around. Our legislature could use more brave thinkers like Rep. Holder-Winfield.

Listener Email from Chris

I nominate Mike Lawlor, the Co-Chair of the CT Legislature's Judiciary Committee. Mike for many years has applied his wise, humane insights into matters legal and judicial, especially to issues of crime and punishment and has led an evolution in Connecticut's views and approaches to such issues. Tough on crime, but smart, Mike is widely respected and recognized, nationally as well as within Connecticut, as a leading thinker in the field.

brave thinkers

As I said on your show, Eve Nussbaum Soumerai, 83, co-author of Daily Life During the Holocaust and of the first Human Rights Curriculum for Dept of Education in CT, is a remarkable educator, writer, and thinker.  She taught "Search for Meaning", a course based on work of Viktor Frankl and Camus and others to high school students back in the 1970's at Conard High School, where she also began her Tributes program.


Tributes  brings together children of different ages and abilities in tribute to important movers and shakers -- people such as Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, poet Langston Hughes, John Lennon, et al.  She is working on one at the moment with kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Hartford -- this one is about Charlie Chaplin.


Mrs. Soumerai has had a tremendous impact on thousands of kids and many, many teachers over the years in West Hartford and other communities.  She is willing to give away her work on Tributes, and she can be reached in West Hartford, where she lives.  She was a great mentor to me during my years as a teacher




Simone Vrabel le Coutre

retired teacher of English/journalism

West Hartford, CT.

brave thinkers

I nominate Joanne Goldblum, founder of The Diaper Bank to your list of CT Brave Thinkers.  Joanne identified a need in her community that most people would not have seen and has addressed it, making available free diapers to women and their babies. Helping babies bottoms to be more healthy and enabling moms  to take the best care of their children. Her work here in CT has gained national attention and now Joanne is helping others to establish diaper banks.