Civility catches on in the US congress. What’s happening at Woo?

As we get ready to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the New York Times reports “the shooting in Arizona that killed six in a failed assassination attempt on Representative Gabrielle Giffords has shifted the political dynamic in Washington and across the nation, with lawmakers embracing a new civility.” (NYT Online). This is good news. Regardless of whether this will stick nationally, as many of you know, CDGE organized an event to reaffirm Wooster’s civility statement last semester. Over 500 students, faculty, and staff reaffirmed that Wooster is a community that is open and respects diverse perspectives and peoples. But we have to do more than welcome diverse perspectives. Part of civil responsibility is to engage in dialogue and mutual understanding, to be exposed to the injustices that prevail in our community as well as in the world, to speak, and to act.

The CDGE event lineup for this semester, continues our theme, “Activism for Inclusion”. We continue to provide access to leading activist figures such as Robert Bullard’s talk on the Politics of Pollution (Jan 18) and the more intimate faculty panel (Jan 20) on the same issue.  We also continue last semester conversation about religious diversity with this year’s Theologian in Residence Gustav Niebuhr who will lead a public discussion on interfaith dialogue. CDGE wants to do this work collaboratively across divisions. Co-sponsorship and complementary events is the way we believe we can do it.

Its not enough to listen. As Senator Schumer added today: “We believe in discourse in America. We believe in strenuous discourse. We don’t sweep differences under the rug.” CDGE will go further than strenuous discourse and encourage activism by hosting a legislative writing workshop and competition, a workshop on writing for social change and fund the attendance to the Debating for Democracy conference in New York. Dr. King has said that “Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, “Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary. ” Lets start acting for peace, love, justice and inclusion.

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