Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ed Cone meets with interns

As the guest at today's weekly summer intern meeting, Ed Cone talked about the truth and reconciliation process, his own dynamic understanding of it, the democratic underpinnings of blogging, and finally, with only minor arm twisting, his own background. Because he's written as much as he has about each of these topics, I won't attempt to recount much of it here, but at least one of the points he made today is stuck in my head.

Ed described how he personally came to believe that a truth and reconciliation process had the potential for a positive outcome in Greensboro. (I know he's written a blog post on this transition because it was the first thing I ever read about the GTRC, but I can't find the link now.) He later told us that he thinks it is difficult (if not impossible) to explain the importance/potential of this process by speaking in general terms. He said his own experience has shown that he is able to communicate about the TRC process better if he shares his personal "journey."

I think this is probably the case with any issue of substance and now I'm trying to figure out how to best share the personal stories of the people involved in the TRC's work--Commissioners, staff, and volunteers--without (a) focusing too much on the personal at the expense of the concrete information that needs to be disseminated and, though it goes without saying, (b) taking up too much time from the other work we need to be doing.

Ultimately, however, I agree with one of our summer interns who said, "Reconciliation means that people who haven't had a voice have a chance to speak and to be heard/validated...the most valuable part of this process is that people who haven't been heard get written into history." And "when you turn anything over to the people it always gets messy," according to Ed Cone. We tend to enter history/movements/projects primarily through the windows of others' personal stories, so the TRC should probably be getting its personal stories (or those of its Commissioners and staff/volunteers) out through this website. Stay tuned for that shift soon...but be prepared that it might be messy.

posted by Jill Williams, Exec. Dir.


Blogger Troublemaker Staff said...

Hey GTRC folks...I appreciate all of your efforts. I am anixously awaiting what you will have in store for the next hearings.....will they be at weaver?

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Jill Williams said...

Thanks, Ben. Right now, we are working on securing a location at A&T for our second public hearing--"What happened on, and after, Nov. 3, 1979?"--and at UNCG for our third--"What does the past have to do with the present and future?".

Regarding the specific speakers you can expect to hear at these next hearings...I want to be clear that the GTRC's plan is not to release that information until the Thursday afternoon prior to the hearings. The purpose for this decision is twofold: (1) to keep the speakers from being approached by media (or other interested parties) prior to giving their statements and (2) to maintain security during the public hearings. (With our last hearing, for example, both Virgil Griffin and the GPD had requested, for security's sake, that we not release information about Mr. Griffin's scheduled appearance.)

We are working as hard as we can to get people with diverse, relevant perspectives on these topics to speak at these hearings. If you or anyone you know might fit into this category, please contact us at

8:55 AM  

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