A Note from Elizabeth Driggers
Last week was challenging. Our nation was infused with sorrow surrounding the death of Supreme Court Justice and women’s rights trailblazer Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Wednesday the criminal justice system failed Breonna Taylor and her family. Our country surpassed the 200,000 death toll to COVID-19. We live in a period of uncertainty and injustice. However, hope for an undivided America is the cornerstone of how we move forward. It is with this hope that I introduce the first Millions of Conversations University Chapter, encouraging students at Elon University to become the next generation of conversationalists.
I see the circumstances surrounding coronavirus cases on campus fluctuate often, if not everyday. In spite of this uncertainty, students at Elon and universities across the nation anticipate the opportunity to transcend divides through discussion. I recently had a conversation with a friend, a student athlete, surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic and it’s increased transmission in schools. Although she is doing her part to reduce the spread of the virus, she shared that many students and professors assume she and all student athletes are being careless. We agreed that this assumption isn’t invalid and only divides us further. We also agreed that unity is what is needed.
Students are motivated now more than ever to resist stereotypes like this one by means of community discussions across campus with administrators, faculty, and fellow students. It is in this environment of discussion that Millions of Conversations will thrive.
Meaningful change surrounding the future of our country is in the hands of young people. We know that ensuring a shared future is important and that the role of Millions’ University Chapters will encourage students to engage in difficult dialogue around shared values. We believe this program will contribute to the resistance of labeling the “other,” building a community of student advocates that transcend political divides and uphold a society of hope.
In the words of author and antiracism activist Ibram X. Kendi, whom I recently heard speak: “Hope is the fuel of change itself.”
It is at this time that Millions of Conversations lights the torch in support of the next generation of decision-makers. By Fall 2021, we hope to expand the University Chapter program to reach universities throughout the United States. We thank you for your continued support and are excited for you to witness the flourishing of our Millions pilot chapter at Elon University.
Founder of the University Chapters Program
Millions of Conversations
Will we see you on Wednesdays?
Millions of Conversations is sponsoring an eight-part webinar series, “Engine for Art, Democracy & Justice.” Next week, Vanderbilt professor Candice Amich will moderate a discussion amongst professor Doris Sommer, artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña, professor Nikki A. Greene, and dancer and choreographer Shamell Bell. NYU Provost Fellow and professor, Grace Aneiza Ali, will be the respondent. Click below to register for next week’s episode and the rest of the series!
Here’s how racial injustice plays out in the U.S. legal system
Millions of Conversations founding president and CEO, Samar Ali, recently participated in the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit. She addressed racial injustice in the United States and provided a road map for truth and reconciliation. We invite you to watch the video above and take the Pledge to Listen below!
In partnership with Kindness Films:
I pledge to listen to you, will you pledge to listen to me?
I pledge to listen to others who hold different opinions, views or beliefs. I will try to understand their reasons and their perspectives and will respectfully express my own in return. That’s it.
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