September 2016                        Newsletter of Initiatives of Change                 Issue No. 39


As we head into the fall we are reminded every day through the media of the pressing need to build trust both globally and at home. There is an urgent need for trustbuilders who have the courage to reach across the divides and begin the difficult and necessary conversations.

This month, The Atlantic published an interview with our director of reconciliation programs, Tee Turner, on "How to get Americans to talk about race" (see links in right column). People everywhere are recognizing the need but they want to know "how?" Some are looking to the work of Hope in the Cities in Richmond for answers. Under the leadership of our new executive director, Jake Hershman, we are seeking ways to build our capacity and position ourselves to respond to this need.

Jake had hoped to write a piece for this edition of Trustbuilders but he is dealing with a 15,000 pound oak tree that fell on his house during one of the summer storms! Mercifully nobody was hurt. He promises to catch up with Trustbuilders in the next issue. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma
A story of resilience to share with the world
By Susan Corcoran
"What is the story that nobody wants to hear?" asked Dr. Anthony Marshall, a high school history teacher who was part of the 10 person delegation from Tulsa, OK, that attended the Just Governance conference at Caux, Switzerland, this summer. "Tell the whole story, tell the truth. We must educate about atrocities. If it doesn't challenge you it won't change you." But he added, "Be prepared to be ostracized and criticized."

This group of city leaders and historians was led by John Franklin, senior manager, Office of External Affairs at the soon to be opened National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. They came to Caux to tell the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, or pogrom as some prefer to call it. Often referred to as a "riot," it was in fact the white citizens who destroyed the thriving black community. The white economic and political power structures felt threatened by the success of this area known as the "Black Wall Street." By naming it a "riot" insurance companies did not have to compensate property owners. In the wake of the violence, 35 city blocks lay in charred ruins, over 800 people were treated for injuries and it is now believed that close to 300 people died.

Franklin said that the Tulsa Massacre is one of the stories that will be told in the new National Museum. Many of those who came to Caux helped him to gather the documents, artifacts and oral history needed to tell the story. "This is a story of resilience that must be shared with the world," said John's wife Karen. The families of several of the delegation, including Dr. Jan Christopher of the Williams family that owned the Dreamland Theater, had been personally impacted by the event, losing property and businesses.

Susan Savage, a former mayor of Tulsa, is the third generation of her family to live in the city. She grew up never knowing this story. A short paragraph in a history book in Junior High School referencing the Tulsa Race Riot prompted her to start asking questions. She was told it was not important. Clearly it was not important to white families who had not been impacted by the violence except perhaps inconvenienced by disruption in the schedule of their domestic help. She has learned the truth late in life. Does she feel guilty? "No, but it has instilled in me a great sense of responsibility to mend our community's race relations." She has made it her mission to talk about the neglect of the poor, the marginalized, and people of color in a deliberate way. 

"Oklahoma has not invested in education and healthcare." She now serves as senior director of the Morton Comprehensive Health Services that was established after the riots and which for many years was the only place that African Americans could receive medical care. "The only way to heal from 1921 is to have a relentless moral effort that keeps us focused on the lives of those affected by this tragedy. If we are not active in solutions we are complicit in keeping things as they are." Read more 
A center for community trustbuilding
Learning from Richmond
By Rob Corcoran
Community leaders across the country are looking to Richmond's work of racial reconciliation, inclusive dialogue and trustbuilding. Many people are inspired by the vision of Richmond as a national center for community trustbuilding carrying forward the work of Hope in the Cities. 

Mike Berry, a pastor from Annapolis, Maryland, came to the Richmond office in August to discuss how Hope in the Cities might support an initiative among Annapolis area churches which are engaged in "sacred conversations on race." Berry contacted me after Bill Haley, a grandson of Alex Haley, gave him a copy of my book, Trustbuilding. Haley joined the Richmond conversation. He and Berry reminded us that Annapolis was a major slave port and is the site of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial that acknowledges Kunta Kinte's arrival on a slave ship in 1767.

The previous month, a diverse group also came from Williamsburg, VA, to explore how to build on dialogues that have been occurring over several years. They noted that the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is increasingly moving toward a more inclusive and honest telling of the history of the city.

Mike McQuillan, a former US Senate aide who teaches history in New York City and who served on the NYPD Advisory Board, highlights the relevance of Richmond's model of walking through history in a commentary in History News. With more than 20 cities under Federal Consent Decrees to monitor and reform police behavior, McQuillan proposes that New York - and other cities - might draw on Richmond's example and that police personnel and community delegates could tour "pride and pain" places from both sides' perspectives: "Let's learn from Richmond to 'think beyond the box' where we are. If we'll bridge the race barrier to walk together to places resonant with historic memories that touch emotions we'll start talking about issues that face us all and the work that we, in a spirit of community can do to unite police and community as well as our cities at large." Read more 
Seeking to understand
Living peace: 25 years of Creators of Peace
Kimberly Weichel, author of the recently published memoir, "Beyond Borders: One Woman's Journey of Courage, Passion and Inspiration," and Kathy Aquilina, responsible for Washington outreach programs for Initiatives of Change, were part of the American delegation attending "Living Peace," the 25th anniversary of Creators of Peace. They write of their experience.

"People are everything," said Gill Hicks, a woman who lost both legs in a suicide bombing in London. Gill shared her wisdom and compelling story with 200 of us from 43 countries attending the Creators of Peace conference in Caux, Switzerland. (Photo: Gail Hicks)

"Seek to understand and become part of the solution to end violence and violent extremism," Gill offered, explaining "confidence is the greatest antidote to fear." She strongly believes in the power of the individual and that we all have "the ability to make or break the world around us... Each of us has the ability to choose how to react and respond." Love saved her life, and she poignantly shared, "Someone somewhere is feeling the effects of something you have said or done." What we do or do not do matters. And her powerful question resounded throughout the conference: "Does it have to take a tragedy or disaster for us to feel deeply connected as one species?"

Her story was one of many remarkable stories shared in a "Living Peace" conference held in one of the most majestic venues overlooking Lake Geneva and Montreux, Switzerland. Creators of Peace, an international association, focuses on being radical peacebuilders by addressing the root of conflict and understanding the link between our personal attitudes and actions and our outer work. By embodying peacebuilding principles we are better able to live them in our daily life. Yes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. 

There was the moving story of different ethnic groups in Kenya who worked together to bridge some deep-seated differences that divided them for decades/centuries. When a group of Kenyans told this story, a Kenyan woman sitting in the audience from a neighboring ethnic group rose to give each of them hugs. Love and understanding connected them. Read more
Connecting with Caux Scholars
Bringing the best hope to Afghanistan
Patrick McNamara (CSP 1996) is vice-chair of the Initiatives of Change USA board and has served on the faculty of the Caux Scholars Program in India at Asia Plateau. Dr. McNamara has worked locally and internationally with universities, corporations, governments, NGOs, and foundations for 20 years. He serves as Director of International Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He writes:

Twice in the past year, I have traveled to Afghanistan. Both times I re-connected with two of the best and brightest Caux Scholars. The first time in October 2015, was with a team from University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) when we were facilitating dialogues about water conflicts with neighbors. (For more on that project, please watch my TEDxOmaha talk titled Water Conflict, Water Peace.) My second time in Afghanistan was April 2016 when a team from UNO went for a $2.2 million grant from USAID to help start new degree programs in Communication Studies at Kabul University and Balkh University.

Shabnam Hamra and Hajer Wariss were star students in the CSP-AP 2014 course in India. These two remarkable young women graduated from the prestigious Faculty of Law at Kabul University. They both have a heart for changing their country for the better. Shabnam was working on a grant project in a camp near Kabul for internally displaced people sponsored by the Danish Refugee Council in Afghanistan. Hajer was volunteering at a girls' school mentoring at-risk students who could use a strong, smart older role model.

Both Hajer and Shabnam have been frustrated by the lack of job opportunities in Afghanistan, a sentiment I heard echoed by dozens of other young Afghans I spoke to. As we sat under the shade at a picnic table on the beautifully lush campus of Kabul University, both talked about exploring opportunities outside Afghanistan, but have family and other ties that will make that hard. I feel for their struggle. I too want to see these talented women succeed in life and career, but also know that their country needs them right now more than ever. There has been a huge "brain-drain" from Afghanistan in the past four decades of conflict there. And Shabnam and Hajer could easily find opportunities elsewhere. However, the young people of Afghanistan bring the best hope that country has of economic development and peacebuilding. Read more
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Trustbuilders. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for trustbuilding. 
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The Community Trustbuilding Fellowship is a unique program that increases the capacity of community leaders to overcome divisions of race, culture, economics and politics by creating a network of skilled facilitators, capable team builders and credible role models. 

The 2017 program will begin in January and run through May.
CTF alumni voices
Accepting the person in front of me
Joshua Ballew (CTF 2016) is a Dispute Resolution Specialist in the Virginia Attorney General's Office. He writes of his experience as a Community Trustbuilding Fellow.
Shortly after arriving in Richmond, VA, my wife and I applied for the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship as newlyweds. I was eager to learn how I could play a role in what I saw as a great need for constructive dialogue in society. The Fellowship was a life changing experience that I strongly urge you to consider applying for. The following are three truths about trustbuilding that I learned through the Fellowship: the necessity of personal transformation, the nature of belonging, and value of empowering my community.

The Fellowship's operating assumption that personal transformation is what leads to social change intrigued me. Was this a disguised form of the idea that you have to help yourself before you can help others? From my experience, that sentiment is only used as an excuse to delay social change. However, it has also been my experience that social change is undermined by a lack of self-awareness and reflection. The Fellowship beautifully brought these two seemingly opposing positions together in harmony. The first truth of trustbuilding is that personal transformation helps social change flourish, and social change gives personal transformation its purpose. Trustbuilding requires purposeful transformation. Read more
Press article
The Atlantic
How to Get Americans to Talk About Race
"Start with simple questions, and establish a baseline of trust." This excellent interview with Tee Turner appeared this month in The Atlantic. Read more
by Rob Corcoran
Trustbuilding Book Launch
  Read Rob Corcoran's latest blog

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is part of a diverse global network with an 80-year track record of peacebuilding, conflict transformation and forging partnerships across divides of race, class, religion and politics.  
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