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We can find our niche for action when we know what others are doing


When we feel overwhelmed, we need to be aware that many people are creating solutions, healing and reconciliation.

Sometimes our use of media contributes to our feeling hopeless, saturated with too many news stories, too many connections on Facebook, too many emails, too many events competing for our time and too many cell phone calls.

We can make decisions about our use of smart phones, which frequently are the avenue through which “too much” reaches us, because they are at our side all the time.  We can choose when and how to use them.

It was reassuring to learn some new ideas that deal with concerns about reducing hate.

At the Institute for Hate Studies “Engaging Communities for Justice” Conference at Gonzaga in October, there were three ideas.

• In February, Irfran Chaudhry, a criminology and sociology instructor at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, realized there was need to collect and tract hate-related incidents. Most go undocumented because they do not qualify as a hate crime for police to investigate. 

He started the #StopHateAB website to create a space to record hate incidents to document them and address victims’ needs.  Data collected helps track if the hate, prejudice or bias is based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, color religion, gender, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or other factors. 

Victims and witnesses can fill out a form on the website that tracks where the incident happened, if it was it a threat, hateful material or slur, and then a description.  They have built in means to validate the information.

Tracking can help with intervention, funding, awareness, partnerships and action, such as removing graffiti.

• Carolyn Cunningham of Gonzaga’s Communication Studies has been doing research on how video games might shift perspectives about human rights, poverty, migrants and other issues.  As an alternative to graphic, violent, hype-sexualized, competitive games, some games at the “Games for Change” website help players look for solutions to poverty or war, help promote active citizenship, stir awareness of social issues and lead people to engage in activism for social change.

• Jerri Shepard, who has worked in human services, as a school psychologist, and teaching counseling and leadership at Gonzaga in British Columbia and Canada, shared about connecting women through gathering to share food.  A Spokane group meets monthly to share food from their cultures and share about their lives, creating a climate for dialogue.

In this issue, we offer other ways to overcome the noise that produces fear and hate in stories of canoe journeys, job training, ecumenical dialogue, justice action, worship communities and educational events. 

May we faithfully find our niche for engaging in action that makes a difference.

Mary Stamp - Editor

Copyright © November 2017 - The Fig Tree