Andrews University hosts interfaith event in solidarity with local Jewish community.Read More
Walla Walla University has opened the Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture—named after one of the first black tenure-track faculty members to be hired by an Adventist college or university. The center will promote research through an annual conference, and encourage student involvement in matters of social justice.
The center also will offer pedagogy workshops on curriculum inclusiveness and multiculturalism, and it “will aim for excellence in thought, generosity in service, beauty in expression, and faith in God through the promotion of research, the provision of pedagogical resources, and the encouragement of student-led acts of service that relate to race, ethnicity, and culture.”
By Emily Muthersbaugh, Student Life Manager, Walla Walla University
This year, Walla Walla University’s sixth annual Peacemaking Weekend extended to a full week and focused on civil rights and civil discourse, promoting peaceful discussion and interaction during a politically charged time.
The week extended from January 18 to 23 and began with the national holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in order to honor King’s commitment civil discourse and civil rights. Rising tension in the political landscape during this election year called for a continued discussion of issues particularly central to Dr. King’s work: civility.
Peacemaking Week began on Monday with WWU’s weekly campus-wide assembly called CommUnity. The program featured choral music, a video depicting the legacy of King, a singing of “We Shall Overcome”, and a presentation by Dr. Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference. Graham presented: “A King’s Dream.” Monday evening, WWU joined Whitman College and the Walla Walla community in a march to honor the life and legacy of MLK that extended from Whitman’s campus to the main plaza in downtown Walla Walla. The WWU choir performed gospel songs during the march.
On Tuesday of Peacemaking Week the Amnesty International Club served warm beverages and encouraged those passing by to take a moment and discuss a heated topic civilly with a stranger. The event “Peace Drinks” lasted three hours and received significant interest on campus. On Wednesday, the Social Work Club challenged the campus to engage in a day of intentional listening. They passed out pins with the phrase “The Future is Listening” on it and those who took the pins were asked to be more intentional about listening to others in conversation, rather than dominating discussion.
Walla Walla University’s David Bullock (chair of the Department of Communications and Languages) and Montgomery Buell (professor of history) delivered a presentation Thursday evening: “Making Peace with Uncivil Campaigns.” Bullock started the discussion by presenting about some of the least civil presidential campaigns in United States history and Buell discussed where the concept of “civil discourse” came from. There was significant interest from the audience in the topic as the current election is seen by many as more partisan than ever.
Friday evening continued the tradition of a candlelight vigil and march honoring lives lost in efforts to promote peace. The vigil began outside the University Church immediately following the vespers program and was led again by the Amnesty International Club. After a scripture reading and prayer, participants marched with candles around the perimeter of the campus, ending in the Student Activities Center where students practiced civil discourse in debate.
Saturday morning featured a panel discussion: “Making Peace with Uncivil Friends” where panelists considered how we can engage with each other more civilly every day, particularly when discussing controversial topics. Panel participants included Loren Dickenson, Brooklynn Larson, Cendra Clarke, Alden Thompson, and Emily Tillotson as moderator.
The Peacemaking Weekend Committee is now working in collaboration with the Chaplain’s Office, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee, and the Office of Diversity on preparations for next year’s Peacemaking Weekend, with a commitment to promoting ongoing peaceful discourse in the Walla Walla Valley.
We reported earlier that Andrews University students were active in demonstrations calling for racial justice. Also, the president of the Northeastern Conference made a public statement. These were not the only Adventists who joined the national conversation. Students at Oakwood University and Adventists in Ohio also participated, reports Spectrum. Here are a number of articles that reported on their involvement. Excerpts below:
Pastors: Prayer trumps protest ( , Columbus Dispatch, 7 Dec 2014)
Church leaders and members gathered outside the Statehouse yesterday to call for prayer in a time of social unrest. “You can’t meet anger with anger,” said John Boston, pastor at Central Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Near East Side. “We want to meet anger with calm, protest with prayer.”
March on Wynn Drive to University Blvd. (Oakwood University, 5 Dec 2014)
We understand that some of our Oakwood students along with other students have been involved in the organizing of a demonstration (#ShutItDownHSV) for December 5, at 4:30 p.m. We support the rights of our students to peacefully protest. However, we are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of our students and anyone else who has planned to participate. We do not support the breaking of traffic laws and ask every Oakwood student, “If you choose to participate, to do so peacefully and lawfully, in accordance with the laws of the city of Huntsville.”
We also invite students who wish to express themselves, but do not wish to march to join us on Sunday, December 7, at 5:00 p.m. in Moran Hall to help assemble an action plan for how Oakwood students can support the mission of creating “One Huntsville.”
March on Wynn Drive to University Blvd: A message from Oakwood University president (Oakwood University, 5 Dec 2014)
Tonight I stood among our students as they made their voices heard. I marched with them. I felt their unrest. I could sense that they wanted change and equality. As I looked at their faces, I couldn't help but think how this experience would change them forever. Being able to protest for change is a beautiful thing. And we are proud of how they conducted themselves in the midst of their pain and anger.
Students from Oakwood University fill streets with peaceful protest (WAFF 48, 5 Dec 2014)
The protest started to block off Wynn Drive from Oakwood University all the way to University Drive Friday evening.
UPDATE: #ShutItDownHSV protest march remains peaceful along University Drive (Matt Kroschel, WHNT 19, 5 Dec 2014)
Oakwood University students and other local college students angered by high-profile cases in Missouri and New York gathered for a protest march Friday evening. Students used social media and the Twitter hashtag #ShutItDownHSV to get out the word.
Oakwood University Students are Joined in Protest by the Huntsville Community on a March to Shut Down University Drive (Jonathan Bratton, Vimeo, Dec 2014)
Oakwood University Students are Joined in Protest by the Huntsville Community on a March to Shut Down University Drive
Two days after 300 Oakwood University students marched in protest against African American deaths by police, they began working on "tangible solutions," such as requiring police body cameras, that they intend to deliver to city officials.
Oakwood students have ‘What’s next’ meeting after protests (Shevaun Bryan, WHNT 19, 7 Dec 2014)
A quiet Sunday meeting was filled with ideas from the same minds that brought a massive demonstration to the Rocket City.