Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Educators to Brainstorm Ideas for "Teaching Through the TRC"

From a GTRC Press Release...

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Faculty from Bennett College for Women, UNCG, N.C. A&T and other schools across the city will gather to brainstorm ideas for using the historic work of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their classrooms. The session happens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the Little Theatre at Bennett College, 900 E. Washington St.

Steve Willis, assistant professor of speech & theatre at Bennett, agreed to host the event after beginning to explore ideas for his own classes. Also participating will be faculty members whose students already have learned or are learning through the Commission’s continuing work of seeking truth and working for reconciliation around the city’s tragedy of Nov. 3, 1979.

Community divisions exploded in violence that day, ending with Klan and Nazi members killing five labor organizers and wounding ten others at a rally organized by the Communist Workers Party (CWP). The Commission, the first of its kind in the United States, has a grassroots democratic mandate to examine the causes, context, sequence and consequences of that day.

The multifaceted work offers real-world opportunities to increase understanding about such issues as violence, justice, police-community relations, politics, hate groups, labor, race and class. Educators at colleges, universities and law schools around the country have taken advantage of the opportunity and the Commission has benefited from the service-learning work of numerous students.

Local faculty members expected to help spark new ideas by sharing their experiences at the brainstorming session include Spoma Jovanovic of UNCG’s communication studies department, Myra Shird of A&T’s speech communication department, and Sheila Whitley of A&T’s journalism and mass communications department.

The three are among educators who had their students attend the second of the Commission’s three public hearings, held at A&T last month. More students and teachers are expected at the Commission’s third and final hearing, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, in the Elliott Center Auditorium at UNCG. The topic of the hearing is “What does the past have to do with the present and future?”

Created through a public nomination and selection process, the Greensboro Commission is modeled on truth-seeking efforts in South Africa, Peru and elsewhere. The Commission’s three planned hearings – as well as its final report and a community forum planned for November – will give voice to the community’s collective experience of Nov. 3 and its aftermath.

The report, due by spring 2006, also will include specific recommendations for the Greensboro community and its institutions for concrete healing, reconciliation and restorative justice.

For more information, call 275-6462, e-mail
info@greensborotrc.org or visit www.greensborotrc.org or www.gtrc.blogspot.com.

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