Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Poverty Simulation Volunteer Opportunity

Here is an important volunteer opportunity being coordinated by Ginny Telego:

I have been asked to reach out to community members to gather volunteers to assist Hillsdale Middle School with a Poverty Simulation they are putting on for teachers on Monday, August 20th. Volunteers should arrive at 11:00 am for instructions. The simulation will last from noon to 3:00pm. They need of 20 volunteers.

Volunteers will serve at resource stations that represent organizations that people experiencing poverty might interact with in their daily lives — child care, school, grocery store, bank, social services, etc. Your role will be to interact with the teachers who are role playing members of families who are struggling to make ends meet. “Family units” represented include parents and children, single parents with children, grandparents raising grandchildren (some adult family members have jobs, some trying to find work, others unable to work).

I highly recommend participating as a volunteer if you are available — it is very eye opening and can provide insight into how we can provide support and dignity to those who are struggling to keep their heads above water, especially for kids.

Additional information about the simulation can be found here:
"The Community Action Poverty Simulation breaks down stereotypes by allowing participants to step into the real life situations of others. Poverty is often portrayed as a stand-alone issue - but this simulation allows individuals to walk a month in the shoes of someone who is facing poverty and realize how complex and interconnected issues of poverty really are."
If you are available to help with this important educational program for teachers, please contact Tim Keib, Principal at Hillsdale Middle School, via e-mail at or via phone at 740-504-6935 by this Thursday, August 16th. PHONE CALLS PROBABLY ARE BEST TO REACH TIM.

Tim would be happy to talk with you if you would like more information about the simulation and would greatly appreciate it if you would share this opportunity with anyone else who you think would be interested in volunteering.

I hope you will consider helping out!

Thank you in advance,

Ginny Telego, Leadership Ashland

Monday, January 29, 2018

Having hard conversations about confederate monuments

Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 2:30pm

Eagle's Landing in the Student Center

Join presenters Dr. Susan Glisson (Ph.D. in American Studies) and Charles Tucker, the co-founders of Sustainable Equity, for an in-depth yet informal conversation about confederate statues, what they mean and communicate, and what alternatives exist. They will share their experiences from over 20 years of working to reduce inequities in the South and their realization that these fights over divisive symbols have become surrogates for the difficult discussions we're afraid to have about how to dismantle racial barriers that have been fortified over generations. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Glitter in the Dirt

By Emily Wirtz

Gathering around the sweet and warm-hearted Israeli woman, the group of 41 adventurous Ashlanders chose their playground seats. Swings, slides, stumps, and low brick walls supported our tired bodies as we sat in the heat to listen to the tragic story of modern Israel.

When we arrived, our tour guide Efrat pointed to the various small concrete buildings scattered around the community. “When you get off this bus,” she explained, “if you hear a siren, you have 10 to 15 seconds to get into one of those buildings.” A few of us giggled and through side glances. She can’t be serious. “You are two and a half miles from Gaza, and that’s how long it would take a rocket to get here.” We shut up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Collective Violence and Kneeling for the National Anthem

By Craig Hovey

Let’s think about NFL players “taking the knee” in terms of how societies respond to their acts of collective violence. In recent years, I have been shaped in my thinking about violence and nonviolence by the work of the late anthropologist RenĂ© Girard. According to Girard, societies are sustained by collective violence which they must not only justify but also consider and remember as sacred. “Our violence is righteous and has brought us peace and has brought us together,” will be a typical conviction. There will be fierce opposition to anyone who challenges the sacredness of a society’s violence.

For some, the national anthem of the United States isn’t just about our country, but about our sacred acts of violence: our wars and those who fight in them. Singing the national anthem together in public commemorates not just our unity as a nation, but the means by which we were brought together. Not to stand for the anthem, then, produces a deep anxiety for a society used to marking the sacredness of our violence in a way that goes unquestioned.

When NFL players kneel during the national anthem to draw attention to racial violence, the effect is twofold. First, it has the effect of undermining the unity and peace brought by sacred violence that we thought we were celebrating. The sacredness of this moment with this song cannot withstand dissenters whose actions are meant to say we’re not as united nor as peaceful as most have wanted to believe. Second, kneeling draws attention to forms of collective violence other than our wars (that is, white violence against blacks) and which our society today can usually sacralize only awkwardly and incompletely, usually opting to try to ignore it by drawing attention to other things.

The big professional sports are some of the most important “other things” that are meant to distract us from our collective disunity and the violences we have a harder time covering over in sacredness. The faux rivalries that electrify fans—superficial loyalties for one team over another—allow a society an outlet for energies that might erupt into violence in other settings. It is “bread and circuses” appeasement of the populace. The more violent a sport is, the better this works. When some members spoil this mechanism by interjecting other, racial rivalries into the very sports that were meant to help us ignore them, at least on game day, it has the effect of interfering with one of the deeply important social functions these sports are meant to play. The raw reality of our society’s collective violence is uncomfortably put on public display shorn of all sacredness. So these actions are accused of being both unsportsmanlike and unpatriotic.

Craig Hovey is executive director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Conversation about Historical Context in Confederate Monuments: Who Are We?

Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 2:30pm

Eagle's Landing in the Student Center

Join presenters Dr. Susan Glisson (Ph.D. in American Studies) and Charles Tucker, the co-founders of Sustainable Equity, for an in-depth yet informal conversation about confederate statues, what they mean and communicate, and what alternatives exist. They will share their experiences from over 20 years of working to reduce inequities in the South and their realization that these fights over divisive symbols have become surrogates for the difficult discussions we're afraid to have about how to dismantle racial barriers that have been fortified over generations. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nonviolence in Theory and Practice Conference - Call for Papers

Proposals Due October 15, 2017

Multi-disciplinary conference will be held Saturday, February 24, 2018 on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio

Nonviolence includes a wide variety of philosophies, theologies, practices, and strategies. It commands different levels of commitment from adherents, whether tied to absolute and unconditional core beliefs or tactical and ad hoc methods for achieving social and political change. Some advocates link nonviolence to convictions about the way things are: to wager everything on it is to experiment with truth itself; its practitioners are working with the grain of the universe. Others point to the success of nonviolent movements, greater justice for vulnerable groups, and more equitable arrangements of and access to power, often also linking nonviolence with democratic participation.

Whether primarily thought of as a kind of philosophy or an approach to political arrangements, reflection on nonviolence leads to a range of questions that are being taken up in today’s world, often with great urgency. What are the sources of nonviolence, both philosophically and historically? How do different approaches to nonviolence (such as Eastern versus Western) differ from each other? How do these different perspectives learn from each other? What about when nonviolence fails or appears to fail? What are the most effective ways to promote nonviolent alternatives to retributive responses to injustice? How should we evaluate the outcomes of violence and other conflicts in light of these alternatives?

The goal of this one day conference is to address questions such as these by displaying and analyzing many of the ways that people, communities, and traditions think about and embrace nonviolence. In order to enhance the discussion, we are seeking presentations from a variety of academic disciplines. Both theoretical and practical considerations are welcome.

Possible topics for individual papers and panels might include (but are not limited to):
  • Historical evaluations of nonviolent tactics being used and/or important leaders and advocates in nonviolent movements
  • Philosophies of nonviolence and/or the key figures who have advanced them
  • Religious, spiritual, or theological perspectives
  • Histories of development and debate over the meaning and purpose of nonviolence
  • Sociological or political case studies
  • Ethical debates about the moral meaning and purpose of nonviolence
  • Nonviolence and specific moral issues such as capital (and other) punishment, suicide, war, abortion, immigration, euthanasia, health care, the economy, race, gender, and sexuality
  • Nonviolence in the workplace and at home
  • Nonviolence as a personal or communal virtue and how it is developed
  • Practical training / workshop
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted using the online submission form no later than October 15, 2017. Presenters should plan on a 35-minute paper or presentation with an additional 10 minutes for questions and discussion. We also welcome panel proposals.

Presenters are welcome to engage in technical and academic debates, but they should avoid jargon and be aware that the conference audience will be diverse, including scholars from multiple disciplines, practitioners from many fields, students from various backgrounds, and community members.

The conference organizers are considering publishing a selection of the papers, depending on submissions. Please indicate in your proposal whether you are willing to produce a version of your presentation for publication. Please note that papers for publication will be longer than versions used for presentation (publication versions will usually be around 7,000 words in length).

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gun Culture Conference Opened My Eyes

By Jessica James

Going into the fields of both social work and criminal justice, in some sort of manner I will have to deal with guns on a daily basis. Whether I get a job where I will be permitted to open carry a weapon or even if I have to deal with a suicidal patient who has a cabinet full of guns at home, I knew in some sort of fashion, firearms and guns would always play a part in my life. And this is one of many reasons I wanted to attend the Ashland Center for Nonviolence conference about Understanding our Gun Culture. This conference opened my eyes to a lot of issues relating to gun rights and gun control.

The first night of the conference, as a part of the pre-conference panel, I heard a lot about the issues of gun control and gun rights, specifically relating to this past election.