Breakthroughs Online
May 2011Issue No. 9

Greetings! 

 

As America marks the beginning of the 150th commemoration of the Civil War and Emancipation, we are reminded of the power of history. Our political, cultural, and racial divides are deeply rooted in our past. It's a universal challenge. On every continent, wounded memories are sources of distrust and conflict.   

 

Articles in this issue of Breakthroughs Online highlight how Richmond, Virginia, is learning to walk through its history to create the trust needed to build a new future and is inviting others to share in this experience.

 

This is also a good moment to reflect on how we create the "spaces that build community and cultivate the strength to talk across lines of real and perceived difference," that Dushaw Hockett, from the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC, describes in his commentary.

The Pain and Pride of History

Slave trail marker

One of 17 Slave Trail Markers

Under a brilliant April sky, more than 500 Richmonders came together in an Emancipation Celebration to claim their past in all its pain and pride. State and city leaders unveiled 17 historical markers along a trail that traces the footsteps of some 300,000 people who were bought and sold in the city's slave markets. The ceremony was held at the recently excavated site of the notorious Lumpkin's Jail, a place once known as the Devil's Half-Acre.

 

The ceremony was a powerful reminder of the unspeakable horror of the slave trade and an affirmation of the unbreakable spirit of the African American people. Governor Bob McDonnell said that it was important to mark the historic trail at the start of events commemorating the Civil War so that "we remember the reason the war was fought."

 

Mayor Dwight Jones called the event a step forward in reconciliation for our nation: the trail could be a "beacon" to address America's complex issues. It's time, he said, for Richmonders to "put down our genteel manners" and be willing to talk about the history. "We must be comfortable in making each other uncomfortable."

 

It was on a steamy June day in 1993 that Mayor Walter Kenney led people from thirty cities and twenty-five countries on Richmond's first walk through history, an event organized by Hope in the Cities and its partner Richmond Hill, and co-sponsored by the city with a host committee of seventy-five government, business, and non-profit leaders. Eighteen years later, as part of that continuum, Hope in the Cities was invited to unveil the marker at the Reconciliation Statue. A litany was read simultaneously at each of the 17 markers just prior to the Emancipation Celebration.

 

Read the complete story here.

Walking the Slave Trail  

Duke Divinity School

Duke Students at the Reconciliation Statue


"Before journeying to Richmond, I recognized little hope for the places of pain and misunderstanding related to issues of race, class, and gender deeply rooted in my family's relationships and narratives of urban Cleveland and rural Upstate New York,"
writes Hannah Terry. She was one of a group of Duke Divinity School students who walked the Richmond Slave Trail.

"However," she continues, "Hope in the Cities offered truth. Hope in the Cities offered gracious conversation. Hope in the Cities offered courage to delve into particular places of suffering and shame when I realized I had been running from my roots. God graciously offered me a paradigm shift - one by which I am receiving hope and am compelled to seek reconciliation and relationship."

 

The vision for Richmond as a place of healing was highlighted last year by Tom Silvestri, President and Publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, when he headlined his review of Rob Corcoran's book Trustbuilding, "Why not make Richmond the Capital of Reconciliation?"

 

A PhD class from Yale on a tour of Civil War sites, and staff of the Higher Achievement Program who are preparing to teach Richmond inner city middle school students this summer, have been among other groups seeking to experience the walk through history in the past few weeks.

 

Eleanor Rouse, Executive Director of Higher Achievement, commented: "We will be unpacking it for some time to come! I could tell while we were there that our staff bonds were deepening with each other. Hopefully it will be expressed in our work with the communities, families, and children we are serving. Thank you for guiding us on this path."  

 

Read the complete story here. 

The Future at Stake   

Judge Walter Rice Addresses the Group
Judge Rice with Dayton Civic Leaders (Photo: Rob Corcoran)

 

"Why spend the day talking about trust?" asks Walter Rice, a senior U.S. District Court judge in Dayton, Ohio. "Because nothing less than the future viability of this community - economically, socially, and politically - is at stake."

 

For a decade, Judge Rice has co-chaired the Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations (DDRR). Rice is white; his co-chair, Judge Adele Riley, is black. On April 12, they and twenty other community leaders attended a workshop on "Trustbuilding and Community Change" facilitated by Rob Corcoran and Cricket White. The previous evening Corcoran addressed a civic group at the historic Engineer's Club.

 

Dayton, home to the Wright brothers, the pioneers of flight, has long been a birthplace of inventions: the parachute, cash register, movie projector, and microfiche, to name but a few. But in recent years it has seen a dramatic loss of its industrial base and a declining population. It is also deeply divided by race. In 1975, Dr. Charles Glatt, a school desegregation expert, was gunned down by an extremist at the federal courthouse while working on a desegregation plan for the city's schools.

 

Since 1999, more than 3000 Daytonians have taken part in small group dialogues using the Hope in the Cities curriculum. The DDRR team includes the president/CEO of United Way, senior staff from two universities and a community college, business people, pastors, and community organizers. 

 

Like many U.S. cities, Dayton is experiencing daunting challenges in the face of greatly reduced revenues. "We are a community with about thirty different government structures, little jurisdictions fighting over a finite number of jobs," says Rice. "What we need is a community-wide dialogue on the best form of government for the twenty-first century; otherwise the marketplace will make the decisions for us. But we can't begin to discuss this unless there is an element of trust."

 

Read the complete story here.    

Gandhi Urges Peace Advocates to Uncover Reasons for Conflicts


Gandhi

Former President of Initiatives of Change Internationsl, Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, spoke at the University of Scranton, PA, invited by former Caux Scholar, Dr. Tata Mbugua, an Associate Professor of Education.
 


Jeremy G. Burton, staff writer for the
Citizens Voice, reported on the lecture.


A grandson of Mohandas Gandhi spoke to a standing-room-only crowd Thursday night [March 31, 2011] at the University of Scranton, where he was a keynote speaker of the school's "Education for Justice" program. 
  
Rajmohan Gandhi - an author and research professor at the University of Illinois - urged peace advocates to seek the specific political, economic and psychological reasons that undergird the world's conflicts, rather than make generalizations. He pointed to the divides between India and Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinians, the Muslim world and the West. 
  
"We have to ask, how can this wound of history be healed?" Gandhi said. 
  
He spoke at length about his famous grandfather, whose life he chronicled in a 2007 biography, but Gandhi has also made his own mark as a peacemaker. He was president of the international nonprofit Initiatives of Change, and he has worked extensively for reconciliation between India, Pakistan and that region's Hindus and Muslims. 
  
At least 600 people packed the DeNaples Center for the lecture.
Gandhi recalled how his grandfather was once asked why he used the term "non-violence" instead of "love." Gandhi worried that love alone would not convey struggle. Love can "shake the world to its foundations," but it can also prove "shallow," Gandhi said. 
  
"Nonviolence means love, yet it means something more," he said. 
  
Read the complete story here.

From Tahrir Square to Caux Scholars  

Khalil with other Caux Scholars
Khalil (left) with other
Caux Scholars in 2010
 
  
Khalil, a 2010 Caux Scholar from Egypt, returns this summer as program assistant for the 2011 Caux Scholars Program. As a founding member and officer of the Democratic Front Party launched in 2007, Khalil was one of those demonstrating for change in Tahrir Square. On January 25, he was detained for two days but on being released he immediately rejoined the Egyptian revolution and remained in Tahrir Square until Mubarak resigned on February 11. He will bring this very current experience of non-violent revolution to this year's class.
  
As always, many Caux Scholars are confronting issues of conflict where they come from. Arber is a Kosovo Albanian living in Canada, who has started an NGO in Kosovo, the Association for Sustainable Education, and believes that CSP "will provide me with the necessary tools to work for peace and to help resolve the 'clash of ignorance' that is reflected in the conflicts of the world today."
  
Umarou, from Cameroon, the first ever student chair from the minority English-speaking region in the French-speaking university of Yaounde, has been working with youth development through IofC. He wants to bring young people together to create a Youth Charter to enable youth to "reflect on what are my moral values and how they contribute to change in our country."
  
Jenkins, from Liberia now studying for an MA in international development and social change in the U.S., spent 14 years separated from his family as a refugee in several West African countries. He has a passion to see how to best use limited resources for development and devotes many volunteer hours to helping other refugees like himself.  

America Needs a Bold New Space Program  

 

Dusshaw headshot

Dushaw Hocket

Dushaw Hockett is the Director of the Black America Organizing Project (BAOP) which is housed at Center for Community Change in Washington, DC.  

Recently, I attended a memorial service in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street in Southeast Washington, DC. There, roughly one year ago, bullets were fired from a moving vehicle into a crowd of young people. Nine were hit. Four died. The nine had gathered after attending the funeral of Jordon Howe. Jordan was struck and killed by a bullet fired from an AK 47 assault rifle only a few days earlier (by the same assailants). The victims were all black. The suspects: black. The community - Southeast DC - predominantly black. 
  
The city of Chicago tells a similar story. There, in 2010, 700 young people were struck by bullets. Sixty-six died. Forty-nine died the year before. 

In black communities across the country, young people deal with death daily. But why? How does one go about finding cause or blame? Some say high unemployment and low-performing schools. Others suggest an absence of fathers and the presence of single mothers. 
  
But both arguments are incomplete. The issue is much bigger. It has to do with a complex web of structural forces - primarily economic and cultural - that, over time, interact, overlap, and destroy communities. These forces inflict mental and emotional wounds.  
  
In the face of overwhelming pain and trauma in black communities, what does healing and recovery look like? One answer: Black Space or space. For the past year, the Black America Organizing Project (BAOP) and its partners have been working in cities like DC, Chicago, and Nashville to create and nurture "spaces" where black leaders and organizations can learn, re-learn and practice being in community with one another. The overall vision for this work: reverse and eliminate the generational effects of race, racism, and poverty. 

Black Space works like this: In a given community, ten or more black leaders meet once a month for up to three hours a month. Each gathering focuses on a different way for leaders to practice being in community with one another.  

Read the complete commentary here.
Hope you enjoyed this issue of Breakthroughs Online. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for trustbuilding. Visit our website for more information.

Thank you!
In This Issue
The Pain and Pride of History
Walking the Slave Trail
The Future at Stake
Gandhi at the University of Scranton
From Tahrir Square to Caux Scholars
America Needs a Bold New Space Program
Supporting IofC

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The Trust Factor Update

Trust Factor Logo   

A series of events in  

Washington, DC,  

October 10-15, 2011, 

that demonstrate how people from diverse backgrounds have built trust and are collaborating to solve problems in their communities, our nation, and even internationally.

 

For more information   

The Imam & The Pastor

Two. Together

"The African model for finding peace amid the continent's warring communities"  

The Times (London)  

 

An African Answer 

The second film about the work of these two African peacemakers, will be launched in the U.S. in October. 

See special pre-launch offer of Two. Together.  

Trustbuilding Book Cover

 

Author Rob Corcoran's  

most recent blog,

"Taking the Jump Together"

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Caux Conferences 2011

 

Conference Schedule

 

July 3-8

Transform yourself - transform the world around you

July 10-17

Caux Forum for Human Security

July 26-31

Learning to Live in a Multicultural World

August 2-8

Trust and Integrity in the global economy

Global Update

 

Global Update  

reports on young British Muslims offering a contribution to the review of the Preventing Violent Extremism policy, with the launch of a 'Learning to be a Peacemaker' program in the

U.K. Parliament

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