Educators and artists explore ways to promote freedom and equality
People from near and far gathered at the Monastery of St. Gertrude recently to explore creative ways to neutralize hatred within communities and bring healing among diverse groups. Sister Carol Ann Wassmuth introduces human rights activist and educator Tony Stewart.
A series of three talks about justice took place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night (September 24, 25, 26). Jenne Schmidt and Jeff Guillory from Washington State University’s Diversity Education Center spoke on Tuesday night about starting meaningful conversations on justice in rural communities. On Wednesday night, Professor Eleanor Downey of the School of Social Work at Lewis-Clark State College spoke on the development of racial attitudes in children. Thursday night human rights activist Tony Stewart recounted stories of defusing neo-Nazi groups in North Idaho and beyond.
“You can’t be intimidated in your support of democracy,” said Tony Stewart. “You can’t negotiate with hate. You cannot give up your community.”
Also happening last week was the retreat, “Creative Courage: An Artist’s Voice for Justice” where retreatants explored artwork that inspired improvements in our society such as the introduction of child labor laws and clean water acts as well as artwork that has helped people honor veterans and heal from war. Participants in the retreat created their own artwork throughout the week on themes of justice, freedom, and equality and displayed the work in the Monastery dining room Saturday afternoon.
These events are part of the Monastery’s commitment to express its core values of healing hospitality, grateful simplicity, and creative peacemaking and to be a place of education and dialogue for creating a better world.
Tony Stewart recounts stories of defusing hate groups within communities.
Jenne Schmidt of WSU’s Diversity Education Center, talks about creating healthy conversations in rural communities.
Jeff Guillory, Director of Diversity Education at WSU, was one of last week’s presenters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude’s Justice Talks.
Participants in the retreat “Creative Courage: An Artist’s Voice for Justice” showed their work at the end of the week in the Monastery dining room.

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