Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez

Illegal. Nazi. Migrant. Refugee. N****r. Terrorist.

Heard of read any of these descriptions recently? I have. A lot.

It seems that now more than ever, communication is breaking down. Name calling and labeling – which many times incites violence – seems to be a norm, especially here in the United States. As a peacebuilder, I’m consistently perplexed about this and I wonder how, or if, this lack of civil communication will shift to a more positive vibe. The air is frenetic with intolerance. The question is, What can we do about it – as individuals and collectively? Continue reading “Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Putting Faith in Interfaith Dialogue by Esther Nelson

esther-nelsonWhy do it?  Sit around a table with people who profess a faith tradition different from our own, drink coffee, nibble on snacks, and talk.  What’s the point?  No doubt the reasons vary depending on the particular people getting together.  Nevertheless, there is the sense that if we “sit down together and talk together about our faiths,” we’ll “break down barriers,” and….then what?  Do we think (or hope) that those on the other side of the table will eventually “come around?”  Is conversion a goal?  Or, perhaps we just want to become more “tolerant” of other faiths.

So, for example, if Muslims share facts with Christians about the history of Prophet Muhammad, the Sunni/Shi’a division, and Shari’a law, will that help Christians tolerate Muslims?  Books on the history of religions abound.  Yet, religion-based violence flares around our globe.  Would learning about doctrinal beliefs–“truths” based on (usually male) interpretation of scriptural narrative–be helpful?  Christians understand Jesus to be God incarnate.  Muslims reject any doctrine that compromises the oneness of God.  Now what?  Are barriers broken down?  Are we more tolerant? Continue reading “Putting Faith in Interfaith Dialogue by Esther Nelson”

Feminists Be Silent! Making a Stand in Solidarity with our LGBT Friends Against Bullying and Harassment By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

“A Day of Silence” occurs tomorrow, April 20th.  Created in 1996, University of Virginia students wanted to raise awareness of the bullying and harassment of issues that LGBT students faced on campus.  Since then, A Day of Silence makes a statement against those who have tried to silence LGBT teens and young adults in school through harassment, bias, abuse, and bullying. Participating students, led by GLSEN, will hand out cards that read the following:

“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”

Family Picture (
Family Picture from

The issue of bullying LGBT teens resonated with the world when Tyler Clementi took his life in 2010 after his roommate secretly transmitted via webcam Tyler’s sexual encounter with someone of the same sex. Tyler’s suicide brought national attention to the issue of bullying and harassment that LGBT people face.  To my chagrin, while writing this article, another victim fell.  Kenneth Weishuhn, Jr., a 14-year-old gay teen, committed suicide because of the intolerable harassment and bullying he dealt with at school.

To really understand the magnitude of this issue, I wanted to examine the statistics surrounding bullying. The numbers are staggering. However, when adding the LGBT component to that same teen, the numbers escalate.  Continue reading “Feminists Be Silent! Making a Stand in Solidarity with our LGBT Friends Against Bullying and Harassment By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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