Ashland Center for Nonviolence Presents "Creating a Caring Community" Symposium

1/21/11 ASHLAND, OH -- The Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University will present "Creating a Caring Community," a symposium of four programs to be held Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 22 and March 2, respectively.

"Community" is a word that is tossed about casually. Sometimes it refers to the people who happen to live around other people, the people on the block or in this town or county. Other times it refers to the group of people who share deep feelings with each other, perhaps a church group, fishing buddies, sorority sisters, or work group.

There are many feelings evoked by the word community - a sense of sharing and interaction, sometimes a sense of shared commitment, a sense of gratitude that everyone is in all of this - whatever this is - together.

The challenge for everyone right now is bringing these two realities of community together.  How do we create a sense of community with the people who happen to be living in this town or this county? How do we create a sense of community among the people who happen to live near each other?

The community of people living around others is much more complex than people would like to admit. Some of the neighbors have lost jobs, some have been evicted, but others are very comfortable with good jobs and stable home life. Some of the people in a community abuse their spouses or their children; others work as volunteers in hospitals. They may be the same people because everyone is more complex than the statistics that define people in a single way.

Everyone is more complex than what the neighbors see, more complex than the political pundits say that people are, more complex than the police records (or lack of them) suggest.

Everyone is a complex and complicated individual. Everyone can be a part of many groups of complex and complicated individuals who need, at the very least, to get along simply because they are a group of people thrown together. But a community is more than a group "getting along."

"Creating a Caring Community" attempts to open up the question of how people live together in a way that strengthens everyone.
This is not about being "nice." It is about understanding what everyone can contribute to each other - what each person adds to the community, what the unemployed factory worker (who is much more than an unemployed factory worker) contributes, what the special needs child adds.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence has approached this issue through three small windows for 2011:

Who Is My Neighbor?  - Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m., Ridenour Room (115)
Dauch College of Business & Economics
What do three related but very different faith traditions say about our neighbor and our obligations to our neighbor. How do these traditions work together, in community, and yet maintain their distinct identities? Panelists include Rabbi Leah Merz, recipient of the Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize; Hameen Habeeb, president of the Islamic Society in Mansfield; and Father Joseph Hilinski, director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Activities for the Diocese of Cleveland.

Our Migrant Community - Feb. 9 (Legal & Economic Myths/Realities) and
Feb. 22 (Social Myths/Realities) 7:30 p.m., Ridenour Room (115)
Dauch College of Business & Economics
That there are migrant workers in this region surprises many, but they are here, providing important work for us. As we continue to hear about migrant workers and undocumented workers, we are exploring the myths and the realities about their presence in the community.  What do they contribute to our community? How should the community treat these workers, these families, these children?  Speakers include Attorney Jason Lorenzon, Orrville Police Chief Dino Carozza, Father Chris Trenta of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, and Hispanic Pastor Haroldo Nunes of Open Arms Hispanic Ministries.

Grassroots Democracy:  Making Community Work - March 2, 7:30 p.m., Ridenour Room (115)
Dauch College of Business & Economics
How do people who are very different in many ways come together as a community and for the community. In this case how did people who feel very differently about how public land is to be used come together to form a Park District. How did a group of interested people create a caring community? Presenter Dr. Louise Fleming will share her insights on this very intriguing topic.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence, located on the campus of Ashland University, is committed to exploring and promoting alternatives to violence in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.  For more information about these events, or to learn more about the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, please call 419-289-5313, email us at acn@ashland.edu<mailto:acn@ashland.edu>, or visit us online at www.ashland.edu/acn<http://www.ashland.edu/acn> and/or www.facebook.com/acn<http://www.facebook.com/acn>.

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.