Help Stop Violence
“Conflict is inevitable. Violence is not.” This simple statement is the motto of Georgia Conflict Center, a local group dedicated to teaching people how to resolve conflicts without violence.
That sounds like an impossible task, but the center knows proven techniques that can be taught to individuals and groups who are in situations where disagreements can lead to violence: schools, jails, workplaces—just about anywhere, even churches. They are talking not only about physical violence but emotional and verbal violence, too.
The center is led by a man, Executive Director John Lash, who has had deep personal experience with violence and its consequences and has evolved into a leader who understands the problems faced by the people taught by the center.
Though most of us are unaware of this effort in our midst, you may know somebody at school or work who has benefitted from the help of this group. Actually, we all benefit from their efforts to teach in our community the principle that violence is not the answer.
Georgia Conflict Center is currently conducting a fundraising campaign to raise the money that supports its programs. An anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations given during this campaign through the end of June. This means that if you can make a donation to this courageous and vital effort of tamping down conflict in our individual and community lives, your gift will automatically double. That’s a great incentive for supporting Georgia Conflict Center now during this all-important fundraising effort.
They’ve made it simple. Just go online to gaconflict.org and make a contribution by Paypal, where, of course, you can also use a credit card. If that’s too high-tech, you can find their mailing address on the website and just mail them a check.
While you’re on the website, read around and familiarize yourself with the great work this small group is doing here in Athens and beyond. They’re not just sitting around bemoaning violence in our society. They’re out helping people see that human conflict is going to happen but there are rational ways to resolve it instead of escalating it through violent confrontation. The Georgia Conflict Center proves every day that there is a better way and that people can learn it. They just need our assistance to continue helping people manage conflict.
See and Be Seen on Prince
Saturday, May 17 proved to be a nice, cool day for See and Be Seen on Prince, with a variety of events and a nice group of strolling folks, many of them with children. We threw together some last-minute activities for kids and enjoyed visiting with them and their parents and other friends, strangers, politicians and interested folks who dropped by. We proudly gave impromptu tours of our new office for those who wanted to see it. The day was just another reminder of the vitality of life along Prince Avenue and the dangers. A car hit a bike earlier in the day, and people as usual had to exercise extreme caution getting across the fast thoroughfare, where not even a baby carriage is enough to grab the attention of some drivers. Reports filtered down from up the street that people were enjoying the photo booth, the book readings, the bike-repair and the general strolling and visiting. Tony Eubanks put it all together, and a lot of people jumped in to help.
One of the excruciating delights of writing for Flagpole is that elections are always on Tuesday, and Flagpole is printed on Tuesday and hits the streets Tuesday afternoon before the polls close, making it impossible for us to include the election results in the paper. As Blake points out in City Dope, we write this issue not knowing who will win, but you read it knowing the results. (And of course we have already reported those results on flagpole.com as they came in.)
So, even with no idea who wins in any of the races, one can only point out again how the Republicans took Jared Bailey’s voter strength out of his District 5 and threw it into District 3, pitting Cobbham and Boulevard against the black voters left over in District 3. The Republican gerrymandering that has so violently skewed voting all over the country, herding balcks and liberals into ghetto-districts, finally happened here: Blacks and white liberals crammed into District 3. District 5 neutered. District 4 (not up for election this time) spread all over, District 7 no longer the Five Points district and not even contested this time. Unless there are some happy surprises, we can look forward to four more years of unimaginative resistance to any attempts to tackle any of our problems. It could be the end of Athens as we know it, and a lot of folks think that’s just fine.