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December 2013            Newsletter of Initiatives of Change USA
Issue No. 24




As we approach the season of Thanksgiving we are grateful for everyone in this network of changemakers.

Four 2013 Caux Scholars came to support the Metropolitan Richmond Day events last week. We were joined by people from Dayton, Memphis, Montgomery and DC. A class from Eastern Mennonite University started their journey at 6:00 am to join the 20th anniversary walk on the Slave Trail. One descendent of slave owners described the personal impact of the walk: "You are making a difference in our community - and helping others of us make a difference."
Dr. Paige Chargois, an initiator of the original walk, wrote, "It is my hope and prayer that it will be a walk towards greater and deeper efforts of reconciliation for a country in more desperate need of it today than it was 20 years ago."

Afterwards, a young woman posted on Facebook, "If you work for a nonprofit or you are just interested in learning how you can really make a difference in Richmond and in the world, get to know the work of Hope in the Cities...You'll be glad you did!"

A senior citizen, aged 93, who sends a check each month, is looking ahead to our national forum next spring and writes, "We hope all is going well with you and the plan for the national conference is great! We will pray for that!" (more information on that to follow) 

Metropolitan Richmond Day 2013 
Courageous philanthropy
By Rob Corcoran 

"The work of this century is the work of dealing with unconscious bias," said Dr. Gail Christopher of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, speaking at the Metropolitan Richmond Day forum sponsored by Hope in the Cities on November 8.

Christopher, who serves as vice president for program strategy, underscored the power of stories. "Data is critically important, but when it comes to touching hearts and minds and moving people, our brains are wired for story," she told the more than 200 guests.

She said that after decades of working on "diversity and inclusion... the [Kellogg] board said 'it's not getting us there. We have got to address racism.'" Five years ago the foundation launched America Healing, to work for healing in divided communities and to bridge racial gaps in such areas as education, health, juvenile justice, economic success, and the media. It addresses the issues at the core of structural racism: those policies and practices that continue to create barriers for children of color. Read more ... 
Walking the historic slave trail
Retracing the steps of enslaved Africans

Laurin Hodge was a Caux Scholar in 2013. She lives in Washington, DC, and will begin working with Initiatives of Change later this month. She writes:

As a recent Caux Scholar the invitation to join Hope In The Cities as they celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Richmond Slave Trail Walk was both an honor and privilege. 
Learning the roots of such a historical city - Richmond, VA - inspired mix emotions within me. As an African-American woman I was fully open to experience the trail for both cultural and educational reasons. Rationally I understand the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was a business but to experience first-hand where so many of my ancestors traveled to a lasting legacy of suffering was emotionally volatile. As a college graduate of a university based in Virginia and a resident of the Washington region the proximity to such a racially charged city is something I never considered until this experience. Curiosity, compassion, frustration, peace and hope all pulsed through me throughout this weekend.

Retracing the steps of enslaved Africans in silence with my fellow Caux Scholars, as well as women and men I have never met before, was the most memorable experience by far. Read more ... 
Hope in the Cities
Calling Richmond Home

A new 6-minute film by Karen Elliott Greisdorf was premiered at the Metropolitan Richmond Day lunch forum. Through voices from around the Richmond community, Calling Richmond Home highlights the impact made by Hope in the Cities over the past 20 years.
Healing History
Join the conversation 
Grant Rissler, (CSP 2001) a PhD student in public policy at Virginia Commonwealth University, authored the  report of the Healing History conference in Caux, Switzerland. He writes:
This is a large file and may take a few moments to download

In the final plenary of the Healing History conference this past July, Ciraj Rasool, a professor from South Africa, challenged participants to continue a "deep discussion about questioning hierarchy (in the human family)... as we go down the mountain."  

Our hope in drafting this report on the conference, including the embedded hyperlinks, was that it would serve as a door through which you can enter into the conversations that took place at Caux. 

As you read the report and explore the links to speaker's presentations, work group reports and videos, I hope you'll ask some of these questions:
  • How does a belief in hierarchy based on race or another quality impact the structures of my community and nation, of the IofC network, of my own thinking?  
  • What would changing that belief and structures look like, sound like, feel like?
  • Who around me (physically or virtually) should I be in conversation with about this?
The answers we each develop in our circles of conversation are some of the next steps in this work of healing history and overcoming racism.  Perhaps you'll let IofC US know what answers you've discovered in a future column for Breakthroughs.

Hard copies of the report can be ordered from the IofC office.  
Intern from Ukraine
Healing a divided society 

My name is Lena Kashkarova, I am from Ukraine and I'm currently an intern with Hope in the Cities.

In the Ukraine I am a dialogue facilitator for the Healing the Past project. This involvement 
has brought me to Richmond. Hope in the Cities with its 20 years of experience of working in the sphere of dialogue and reconciliation seems to be the right place to come to learn. 

Back in the Ukraine I am involved in Foundations for Freedom (F4F) an NGO that aims to foster the development of a truly free, democratic and just society, where people live a commitment to the values where freedom thrives.  


In particular I'm in charge of the House in Baranivka project, which is a spin-off from F4F. We are building a meeting place, open to everyone, that aims to establish a community of people who will work to improve society. Read more ...  

Overcoming racism, building community 

This column by Rob Corcoran appeared in the
Richmond Times-Dispatch
on November 3, 2013. It is reprinted with permission.

Rob Corcoran cropped One of the great challenges facing societies everywhere is discovering how to build healthy, inclusive communities in places where wounds of history still scar memories and discrimination based on race or ethnicity continues to impact our social and economic structures.

In July, I was among a delegation of 15 from Richmond who attended an international forum on the theme of "Healing History: Overcoming Racism, Seeking Equity, Building Community." Two hundred and twenty-five participants from 34 countries met at the international conference center in Caux, Switzerland, which has been operated by Initiatives of Change since 1946.

The forum drew racial justice advocates, healing practitioners, scholars, faith leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials. While the largest delegation was from the US, significant groups came from Africa and Europe as well as South Asia and Australia. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs brought leaders from Chad, Mali and Niger. A delegation came from South Sudan, the globe's newest country.

The forum was a partnership between Initiatives of Change, best known in Richmond for its Hope in the Cities program, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Five years ago the foundation launched "America Healing," a $75 million initiative to help heal divided communities and bridge racial gaps in the areas of education, health, juvenile justice, economic success and the media. The focus is on issues at the core of structural racism - those policies and practices that continue to create barriers for children of color.

"My dream is that all children will grow up in a world that no longer clings to the hierarchy of the human family: the fallacy that some of us are worth more than others," said Gail Christopher, the foundation's vice president for program strategy, in her keynote speech. She called for a "global fund" dedicated to "the healing of racism [and] for healing from racism." Read more ...   
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Breakthroughs. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for trustbuilding.
Thank you!
In this issue
Corageous philanthropy
Retracing the steps of enslaved Africans
Calling Richmond Home
Join the conversation
Healing a divided society
Overcoming racism, building community
Please remember IofC in your year-end giving.

Sixty percent of our support comes from people just like you!
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IofC National Forum
More information to follow
Caux Scholars Report
Great gift ideas!
 Spiritual vision of FNDB
The Spiritual Vision of Frank Buchman 
by Philip Boobbyer
Penn State College Press
Review by Dick Ruffin
Order from you local bookstore or follow this link for a special discount offered online
The Power of Silence  
The Power of Silence 
British journalist and author Graham Turner explores the world of silence ... and those who recognize its value.
Review by Charles Aquilina
Order from you local bookstore
or on online

Trustbuilding Book Cover


by Rob Corcoran

Read his latest blog,

AAA flyer image
The Imam & The Pastor  

 "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. 

Find more gifts ideas in the 2013 Books & Media catalog

Two up-coming global events 

January 10-14, 2014
Making Democracy Real 
Learning from Democracy's Journey - Panchgani, India
For more information

February 14-19, 2014 
'Encuentro' of the Americas From the heart of the Americas weaving a community of change
Bogata, Columbia 
Read more articles and commentaries online

New film launched by Caux Scholar
Tim Hall

Initiatives of Change

focuses on the link between personal and global change and seeks to inspire, equip, and engage individuals as trustbuilders.
It starts with listening and responding to the still small voice within, applying values of integrity to everyday living, and taking risks to bridge divides.

Visit ourwebsite 
for more information.
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