CEC Journal: Hurt and Repair

Welcome to the seventh issue of the CEC Journal; an issue that welcomed submissions around the theme Hurt and Repair. The CEC Journal showcases the range of important work being done by the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict at UWC-USA and its partners across the world.

At the inception of this issue we could not have foreseen the onset of a global pandemic nor the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that have erupted across the U.S. and the world following the murder of George Floyd by police. But the choice of a universal theme that is so essential to CEC proved fruitful even in the face of these events. Hurt and Repair are evidenced across all contributions:

Opening the journal is an interview with UWC-USA’s own Selena Sermeño, by Courtney E. Martin. This conversation is essential reading for anyone looking to find their bearings during social distancing. Selena’s work is always restorative, and in this case sets out to mitigate what she describes as a traumatic loss using young people’s communal wisdom and her own tips from a life’s career.

The next two articles inform important aspects of our everyday understanding of events at the U.S. border, but especially now —when COVID-19 threatens the most marginalized and confined, and when federal law enforcement agents quell peaceful protests— their message is urgent. First Azadeh Shahshahani and Dévora Gonzalez take us through the bloody history of U.S. Border Patrol to show how the institution itself is violent and must be dismantled. Then Allegra Love details the economic and humanitarian problems with ICE detention centers. In her daily work, reparations means fighting legal battles for victims (often LGBTQ people) of this cruel system.

In the photography of Khadim Dai, we see another version of the same migratory reality transposed to another continent: Indonesian refugee camps for Hazara people fleeing Afghanistan. Photography offers a glimpse of what reparation can mean, as much for the object (a community which rebuilds life through food, sports, and its children) as its subject (a photographer who tells his story).

This issue also centers the work and stories of UWC-USA students. Judy Goldberg knows how to do this better than anyone through story-work. We are immensely grateful for how she was able to apply this project to all first-year students, who were able to capture a snapshot of their lives in times of COVID-19. We are proud to share three of the strongest stories fitting this issue’s theme.

Experiential education is a cornerstone of the UWC-USA experience. At the end of their program, students are expected to show self-reflection about their growth and challenges, their ethical considerations, and their teamwork. In the writings of four recent graduates, we give you an idea of the power of non-academic learning.

Peace-building is a fundamental UWC mission, but Andy Gorvetzian shows that we cannot take this for granted. He shares his reflections on doing restorative justice at a time when political identity cause ruptures within our own community.

In the same vein of active peace-building, Emiel Stegeman shares his thoughts about working with men on masculinity. In a personal essay framed by the UWC values, he argues that to be truly concerned with the state of masculinity today is to take a feminist perspective on it.

Finally, we have the joy of sharing UWC-USA’s 2020 MLK Day Café. Not only do students showcase their musical talents and wide repertoire, but the program notes (written entirely by students) show how art can be a tool for challenging injustice.

The articles and art gathered here serve to remind us that understanding history, our current culture, and our own selves in order to engage in restorative acts — from building community at a distance to campaigning for human rights at home — is perpetual work. They display the everyday practical wisdom that is carried out as we build our communities and honor our values. We do these things not to write about them but because they must be done; as responsible global citizens we must constantly face difficult truths and not only when they boil over onto our TV screens or Twitter feeds.
Journalist: Professor Adorno, two weeks ago the world still seemed in order…

Theodor Adorno: Not to me.

(Der Spiegel, May 5 1969)

We are delighted to share this work with you.
Emiel Stegeman
Managing Editor, CEC Journal, Bartos Fellow ’19-’20
Naomi Swinton
Editor-in-Chief, CEC Journal, Director of the Bartos Institute
Image Credit: Christopher Thomson’s Constructive Engagement sculpture at UWC-USA

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