Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Violence in Our Universities

Yesterday's tragic events at Virginia Tech compelled me to think about the value of dialogue, insisting upon inclusion even of those who would prefer reclusion or seclusion. When I searched for the proper image, I was struck by this photo. It is from Kent State University's violence and shootings, which took place in 1968, nearly 40 years ago. Unfortunately, I'm left to conclude that passions and differences still find their way onto Colleges and Universities throughout our nation, as we sit idly by hoping that it is but an isolated incident or aberration. As the mother of three college-aged children, I have to hope that I can be a part in instigating a more open environment towards ensuring the safety of our kids by giving an open valve for all students to communicate--their despair, their anguish, their fears, their hatred of others. The other facet which struck me was that this occurred the day after my name appeared in the Los Angeles Daily Journal in an article regarding "cross-cultural mediation". The subject of the article was my colleague, Hannah Kim, who was quoted as saying she had high hopes for her Korean mediation service because the Korean people were high-spirited and outspoken, often filled with unresolved conflict. I'm proud to add the quote that: "All mediators should be trained in cross-cultural sensitivity". In any case, it is a tragic sign that the young man who was the alleged "shooter" was a Korean, raised in our nation's capital, with a heavy animosity and loathing for rich kids and a sad disappointment in religion. I'm not sure I know the answer to this horrible event, but I'm beginning to understand the depth of the questions it raises.

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