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College of Arts and Sciences hosts Symposium Against Indifference event

Christine Jenkinson

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Dr. Susan Glisson and Charles Tucker, co-founders of Sustainable Equity, LLC, spoke on Tuesday, Jan. 30th at the Symposium Against Indifference, called Building Bridges Through Dialogue.

The symposium was about ways that metaphorical bridges have been built in cities.

“There’s no manual for how to heal racism,” Glisson started off. “It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you come from, we’re all children of God and we can all be a part of a human rights community and treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Tucker told the story of how one police chief in Birmingham, Ala. got a community to come together and accept each other.

He had a meeting that included marshalls and various organizations.

He said, even though the chief was not wearing the uniform and was not around during attacks in the city, he apologized for the actions of those who did the city wrong.

Weeks later, Tucker said, the chief had representatives of the organizations and officers sit in a circle, packed with chairs, with Glisson and Tucker there after the chief left.

The idea was for the community to get to know each other.

“We went around the room and everyone introduced themselves,” Tucker said. “My name is…and we went around that circle. And then we started to say ‘now, we would like you to tell us the story of your name, the story of your community, and your gift. Not just what your name is: how you came to have that name. Not just where you live, but something about that place you live. What’s your gift? Not your skill.”

And it worked.

“By the time we got around that circle, folks were laughing and looking at each other,” Tucker said. “By the end of that night, two of the Black Lives Matter people were sitting next to one of the police officers and talking about self care…People were starting to see each other as people.”

Tucker went back to explaining that change can occur.

“When you start talking to people, laughing with people, instead of talking havoc, you can make change happen,” Tucker said. “…He said, ‘isn’t talk cheap?’…and Susan said ‘cheap talk is cheap. Real talk backed by action is change.”

Kim Chartier, Assistant Director of Ashland Center for Nonviolence, attended the symposium.

“I think the most important thing I took away from their talk is that’s important to get to know people, to really listen to them before we judge them or jump to any conclusions,” Chartier said. “I think as a community we can first acknowledge some of the issues that we have seen and recognize that before we begin to move forward.”

Tucker ended with reminding the audience that there is good in the world.

“Sometimes we overlook the good,” Tucker said. “Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that there are good things that deserve attention, that we must protect.”

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