The Community Conversations group of Spring Hill College has scheduled its fourth event, “What is Your America?,” for Thursday, Oct. 5, at 12:15 p.m. in the Price LeBlanc Grand Hall of the Barter Student Center.
Community Conversation events have included a film designed to encourage conversation about a topic, followed by table discussions among students, faculty and staff at SHC. The Oct. 5 event is inspired about the horrific events of Aug. 12, when one person was killed and 19 others injured at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Kathleen Orange, a political science professor at SHC and a leader in the three previous events, said the focus on Oct. 5 will be “to get people to think about the ways we are united and the ways we are divided.” Specifically, the Community Conversations group hopes to inspire participants to be intentional about healing divisions in America, and to think about moving forward after the events in Charlottesville. The need for civility and building community will be emphasized in the Oct. 5 gathering.
Previously, the Community Conversations group held discussions on race and immigration in the fall of 2016, then focused on “What is Truth?” in the spring of 2017. Each event drew between 75 and 100 students. At the conclusion of each event, Dr. Orange compiled the table notes, searched for common themes, and then made a final report available for faculty, staff and students.
“The comments on the racial exchanges were overwhelmingly positive,” Dr. Orange said last spring. “Participants said they felt free to express themselves and that they learned a great deal from one another. Many students at the second one commented that they had never really considered what immigrants go through until they saw the film and participated in the discussions. This is why we did this: so students have a chance to examine the stereotypes being flung around and look at them from another point of view.”
The Oct. 5 event is free to students, staff and faculty.