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Statement from President Mark Farr on Charlottesville

Statement by the Sustained Dialogue Institute
regarding the recent events in Charlottesville, VA

The Sustained Dialogue Institute regularly trains students, faculty, and staff members on college campuses around the United States on how to successfully combat forces of racism on their campuses. Such forces have recently been on murderous display on and near the campus of the University of Virginia, where SDI has one of our own chapters.

SDI completely condemns racism and white supremacy; and also the false moral similarity which equates the actions of the white supremacists with those of the counter-protestors. There is no moral equivalence between those who foment violence and those who come to oppose it.

Instead, our country needs a new commitment to dialogue – a tough process of genuine interaction through which human beings listen to each other. In dialogue, everyone makes a serious effort to take other’s concerns into their own picture, even when disagreement persists. No participant gives up their identity, but each recognizes enough of the other’s valid human claims so that they will act differently toward the other. SDI now calls for the end of violence and beginning of a staged and long-term national process of listening, so that our polarized country can begin the long road of healing: one that begins with listening deeply enough to be changed by what we hear.

Mark Farr
Sustained Dialogue Institute


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