10th Annual Peace and Social Justice Conference

With hopes of changing the world, an NCC professor organized and hosted the 10th annual Peace and Social Justice conference in the Lipkin Theatre on Oct 2nd.

The professor, Ken Burak, spoke on various social issues.

He said, “We are all here illegally, living on stolen land.”

“Maybe the root of changing the world is learning how to play new games with each other,” he said.

“When you hit the ball towards me in tennis, you’re hoping I miss… Maybe we should start trying to teach more kids about cooperation rather than competition.”

Burak introduced Kreg Adamson, a representative of the International Institute of Restorative Practices, to speak on the concept of restorative justice. He shared various statistics, including the fact that 35 US states incarcerate more people than any other nation on the planet and that black and Latino men are jailed at a drastically higher rate than any other demographic, around 10 times the rate of white men.

Adamson suggested that, when thinking about justice, we shouldn’t think “Was the law broken?” and “How much punishment will we apply?”, but instead, “Who was harmed?” and “What will it take to make everyone as whole as possible?”

“People are more productive, happier, more cooperative, and more likely to make positive change when those in authority do things with them rather than to them,” Adamson said.

“It’s all about empathy, it’s about collaboration. It’s about being able to communicate with each other.”

At around 11 AM, Climbing Poetree, a musical duo who spend most of their time working with social justice movements, arrived to educate the audience on peace and social justice movements.

For example, Spotlight Solution is a group dedicated to “shining light on resilient, innovative, solution-oriented actions people are taking around the world to galvanize positive transformation in their communities.” On their website, you can find coverage on various different social movements that are ongoing all around the country.

S.T.I.T.C.H.E.D. is a project that Climbing Poetree involved the entirety of the audience in.

They asked people around the country to write something on a small piece of colored fabric and brought them all together into a tapestry of stories, confessions, and dreams.