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Critical Concerns 2022 Banner

This year’s Critical Concerns Week focuses on nonviolence, a matter of increasing urgency at this moment, as the world confronts a new and deadly conflict in Europe. A variety of events provide multiple opportunities to reflect upon one of the most pressing issues of our time.

1:30 p.m. Welcome | 2:00 p.m. Panel Presentation

Welcome & Introduction
Panel Presentation: Dorothy Day & the Catholic Worker Movement

Join Paul DaPonte, Ph.D., GCU executive director of mission integration, who will welcome you to the opening event of Critical Concerns Week 2022. Campus ministry staff will lead the week’s opening prayer service.

In her work as in her life, Dorothy Day fought for a more just and compassionate social order. As one of the founders of what came to be known as the Catholic Worker Movement, she daily put into practice a radical conscience that sought to create a vital sense—both spiritual and physical—of community. Join GCU faculty Scott H. Bennett, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of History and Politics; Joseph F. Gower, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies; and Johann M. Vento, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Theology, and Philosophy as they situate the many facets of her life in the context of two of the books she wrote, Loaves and Fishes and The Long Loneliness. Yet, true to the spirit of Dorothy Day’s efforts, the various presentations do not seek to instruct so much as to create the means for engaging a figure of enduring value. This panel will be moderated by Jonathan Kim-Reuter, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy, followed by a Q & A led by Pamela J. Rader, Ph.D., professor of English.

Watch Recorded Presentation

7:00 p.m.

Presentation: Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

Attorney Jerry Elmer, J.D., a Vietnam-era draft resister, will discuss the principles of civil disobedience and his participation in acts of civil disobedience.

When Jerry Elmer turned 18, during the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony (then and now). This was an act of nonviolence civil disobedience in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi, and King. Mr. Elmer spent several decades working in the nonviolent peace movement on the staff and boards of the War Resisters League and the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Later, he was the only convicted felon in his graduating class at Harvard Law School. He worked for 13 years as a public-interest environmental lawyer, addressing issues pertaining to climate change. He is the author of Felon for Peace: The Memoir of a Vietnam-Era Draft Resister (2005).

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Video: Evening Prayer Reflection

Elissa Cutter, Ph.D., GCU assistant professor of religious studies and theology, and students will offer an evening prayer reflection.

Watch Recorded Prayer Reflection

Video: Morning Prayer Reflection

2:30 p.m.

Presentation: Nonviolence & Restorative Justice: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Vision of the Beloved Community

For Martin Luther King Jr., the “beloved community” was not some lofty, utopian goal, but a realistic and achievable one based on a global vision of inclusivity and universal commitment to nonviolence. Join attorneys Jonathan D. Greenberg and Margaret Russell for a discussion of Dr. King’s vision. This event will be moderated by Ria DasGupta, Ed.D., GCU chief diversity officer for academic affairs and community outreach.

In 2018, Jonathan D. Greenberg, J.D., co-founded the University of San Francisco’s Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, for which he currently serves as director. Prior to joining USF, Mr. Greenberg taught negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy, and international law at Stanford Law School for 30 years. From 2014 to 2019, he served as scholar in residence at the law school’s Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, where he directed the Martin Luther King Jr. Research Project. As a scholar in the conflict resolution field, Mr. Greenberg has published widely on Kingian nonviolence, restorative justice, international law, human rights, and environmental history. He has lectured and presented at conferences throughout the United States and internationally. In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Jonathan served as associate counsel to the Canadian law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP, where he directed the firm’s International Dispute Resolution practice, and as senior advisor to the president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.

Margaret M. Russell, J.D., has been a member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty since 1990 and is affiliated with the university’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and the Center for Multicultural Learning. She has been honored for her contributions to student life at Santa Clara by the Asian Pacific Law Students Association and the Black Law Students Association. In 1991, she traveled to South Africa with a delegation of legal scholars to provide consultation on constitution-drafting for the post-apartheid transition. Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, Ms. Russell was a fellow at the public interest firm Public Advocates, Inc., a law firm in San Francisco. She served as the director of Public Interest Programs and as the acting assistant dean of student affairs at Stanford University, and she also clerked for the Honorable James E. Doyle of the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin.

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4:00 p.m. In-Person Event (Open to Campus Community Only)

Workshop: Self-Regulation and De-Escalation
McAuley Heritage Center

Join Cindy Imperiale to learn a holistic approach to understanding our inner self through internal and external awareness. Through these regulating activities, you’ll explore mindful eating, aromatherapy, breathing exercises, mind distraction, body scans, and much more.

Cindy Imperiale recently retired after 25 years of teaching in Howell Township. She received a B.A. in K–8 Education and Psychology from Kean University and is certified as a Daring Mindfulness Teacher. She is also certified in Mental Health First Aid USA from the National Council for Behavioral Health. Since retirement, Ms. Imperiale has followed her passion of focusing on the social and emotional well-being of our future leaders.

7:00 p.m.

Presentation: Why/How Nonviolence Works

Campaigns of nonviolent resistance are twice as effective as armed struggle in achieving their goals. Why? Using case studies from around the world, Scott H. Bennett, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of History and Politics, seeks to answer this question in this presentation.

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7:30 p.m. In-Person Event (Open to Campus Community Only)

Film Screening: A Hidden Life
Little Theatre

The 10th feature film by visionary writer-director Terrence Malick tells the story of an unsung World War II hero. Based on true events, the film traces the life of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When he is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife, Fani, and their children that keeps his spirit alive. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Carly Cohen, campus minister.

Video: Evening Prayer Reflection

Elissa Cutter, Ph.D., GCU assistant professor of religious studies and theology, and students will offer an evening prayer reflection.

Watch Recorded Prayer Reflection

Video: Morning Prayer Reflection

12:30 p.m. In-Person Event (Open to Campus Community Only)

Service Project: Power of the Pen
Mercy Hall

Join Carly Cohen, campus minister, for an instructional workshop that highlights the importance of advocacy for social justice and will connect to the social justice efforts of the Sisters of Mercy. You’ll learn about crafting effective letters to support issues you are passionate about and have an opportunity to draft your own letter to state representatives about current legislation. The workshop will take about an hour and a half, writing time included.

6:00 p.m. In-Person Event | 7:00 p.m. Keynote Address

Keynote Event
Casino Auditorium

GCU’s Critical Concerns Week 2022 keynote event combines the spiritual, audiovisual, and inspirational in one dynamic event. You’ll first be led in a guided meditation by Sachiko Komagata, Ph.D., P.T., GCU associate professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Health and Exercise Science. Jeff Schaffer, director of campus ministry, and Rob MacReynolds, director of music, will lead the evening prayer with musical selections. Sit back and watch as Department of Dance students perform Body Rhetoric, directed by Megan Mazarick, assistant professor of dance. Take a break and enjoy some refreshments while browsing the multimedia art and design student projects curated by Brian C. McSherry, J.D., assistant professor of graphic design and multimedia before returning to your seat for the keynote speech by community activist Frida Berrigan, “The Small ‘No’: Integrating Resistance into Daily Life.”

Body Rhetoric unpacks the way words have become weaponized through technology and social media. Dance students researched online bullying and the effects on young adults. The movement material is inspired by the impact of language, body positivity, and nonverbal versus verbal communication. To reframe the constant critique of the female form, text is projected on the dancers’ moving bodies. With this image we ask: How can words make us vulnerable and strong?

The Nonviolence art and design exhibit examines what nonviolence is and whether it can exist without violence. Violence and nonviolence are ubiquitous issues that touch every facet of humanity, nature, and spirituality. How do visual thinkers/makers/activists respond to the vast amount of visual data around them as it relates to a myriad of physical, mental, emotional, racial, sexual, and political abuses? This exhibit asks one simple question: “What work would you make as it relates to the theme of nonviolence?”

Frida Berrigan is a mother and community activist She writes on the human side of politics for TomDispatch.com, and long contributed The Little Insurrections blog to Waging Nonviolence, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to providing original reporting and expert analysis of social movements around the world. She is the author of It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood (2015). The book recounts her upbringing at Jonah House, the Christian resistance community founded in the early 1970s by her parents Elizabeth McAlister and Philip Berrigan. More recently, she penned a chapter in The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World (2021). Ms. Berrigan lives in New London, Connecticut, with her husband and three kids, where she grows vegetables, raises chickens, works with a community land trust on affordable housing and pickets at nuclear submarine maker General Dynamics.

Watch Recorded Keynote Address

Video: Morning Prayer Reflection

2:00 p.m. Community Viewing Available

Presentation: Reducing the Epidemic of Gun Violence in This Time of Pandemic
Sister Mary Joseph Cunningham Library (Community Viewing of Zoom Presentation)

Data suggest that gun violence skyrocketed by more than 30% across the United States in the first year of the pandemic. According to the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the number of gun-related injuries and deaths nationwide increased from 39,000 in 2020 to 51,000 in 2021. In light of the disturbing intersection of these two public health crises, the Rev. Robert Moore reflects on some of the strategic initiatives of the Coalition for Peace Action. This presentation will be moderated by Marny Requa, J.D., associate professor of criminal justice and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Anthropology, Sociology, and Human Rights.

The Rev. Robert Moore has served since 1981 as full-time executive director of the Princeton, New Jersey-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), a regional organization dedicated to global abolition of nuclear weapons, a peace economy, and a halt to weapons trafficking. From 1988 to 2014, he served as part-time pastor of East Brunswick Congregational Church, and from 2014 to 2016 as part-time co-pastor of Christ Congregation in Princeton. Prior to his current positions, Rev. Moore served as the National Secretary of Mobilization for Survival, a nationwide coalition of some 250 organizations working for disarmament and the conversion of resources from military purposes to urgent human needs. Since his full-time peacemaking ministry began in 1978, Rev. Moore has played a leadership role in major activities in the U.S. peace movement. He organized a press conference at Three Mile Island the day after the March 1979 nuclear accident, with experts including a Nobel laureate in biology, a radiologist, and a physician. The next day, the Governor of Pennsylvania heeded the experts’ call to evacuate pregnant women and children. Rev. Moore is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Wittenberg University and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Purdue University.

Watch Recorded Presentation

3:15 p.m. In-Person Event

Closing Prayer Service
Peace Pole/Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel

We have reluctantly decided to postpone today’s Closing Prayer Service for Critical Concerns 2022 due to the inclement weather. The damp, cold weather would certainly not be conducive to the powerful, outdoor service that was planned for this afternoon. Please stay tuned for an update at a later time.

Gather with us at the Peace Pole outside of Jeffries Hall as we bring Critical Concerns Week 2022 to a prayerful conclusion, followed by a procession to Dorothy Marron chapel for the dedication of the new Mercy cross. Please note that this event will be entirely outdoors. In case of severe weather, the prayer will take place inside the chapel.

For more information about Critical Concerns 2022, contact the Office of Mission Integration.