Building Bridges: The Many Faces of Violence in Marin (March 27, 2004)
Our second conference took a concrete step forward to mobilize our collective wisdom and skills to move toward a more civilized society by focusing our energies on the problem of violence in our community. The conference began with an opening statements from Dr. Nahid Angha and Dr. Harlan Stelmach. In this day-long conference, combining informative and inspiration talks, sharing of personal experiences, and small group break-out sessions, we addressed topics such as the anatomy of violence, cultural foundations, helpful guidelines for individuals and groups, creating support groups, and recruiting volunteers for existing organizations.
Along with community spiritual leaders and educators, participants included social psychologists and anthropoligists, social and health workers, family court, legal aid, human rights advocates, and representatives from shelters. Panelists and facilitators included Walt Kosta, Donna Garske, the Executive Director of MAWS, Dr. LeeAnn Bartolini, Dominican University, Lee de Barros, Green Cultch, T. Crandall, Mark Owens, Angela Newman, Rev. Carol Hovis, Marin Interfaith, Harry Barbier, Leili First, International Association of Sufism Dr. Arife Hammerle, Director of Community Healing Center, Dr. Amineh Pryor, Community Healing Center, Leticia Romero, Arthur Scott, Pam Paulick.
Bringing the difficult issue of violence into open discussion provided lasting benefit for the planners, presenters and attendees, including: education about the signs of violence and dispelling preconceptions; up-to-date statistics relative to domestic violence in Marin County; concrete information to aid in personal situations; an opportunity for participants to develop support groups among themselves; a forum for future research and development of prevention techniques; training for clergy members in recognizing signs of violence and assisting with such cases; and a foundation to prepare an educational program to take to local schools.