The Ashland Center for Nonviolence (ACN) hosted the 8th annual John D. Stratton Conference on Feb. 25

Kim Brazwell spoke about community building, advocacy, and storytelling.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence (ACN) hosted the 8th annual John D. Stratton Conference on Feb. 25 in the Dauch College of Business and Economics to discuss various topics connecting to a central theme.

The theme of this year’s conference was described as “Welcoming the Stranger,” and the various speakers featured in the conference conducted sessions to discuss the very topic.

Some speakers featured in the conference included Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Diane Cortés-Evans, Professor of Philosophy Dr. William Vaughn, Kent State University’s Caraline Feairheller and Camille Tinnin, and the conference’s keynote speaker, founder and CEO of the KiMISTRY consulting agency, Kimberly Brazwell.

Cortés-Evans’ presentation titled “The De(Humanization) and (Re)Humanization of the Stranger in the Movie Sleep Dealer” discussed the topic of immigration with a 2008 science fiction film.

Cortés-Evans discussed how immigration is often politicized and deemed controversial and the overarching theme of humanity becoming an object while our economic system becomes the subject.

Vaughn’s presentation, “Our-Being-With-Animals,” welcomed a stranger people often overlook: animals.

Vaughn discussed the moral considerability of animals and animal ethics from a philosophical standpoint, stating in his abstract, “Understanding the moral significance of our commonalities with animals, the failure to welcome them, has something to do with the failure to understand the concept of a human being.”

Feairheller’s presentation titled “Making Queer Peacemakers Visible in Our Curriculum” discussed the topic of inclusive curriculums regarding LGBTQ+ terminology and self-expression in the classroom.

According to Feairheller, “I have created an educational curriculum on queer peacemakers to educate 3-6 graders on contributions queer people have made to social movements and nonviolence theory and practice.”

Tinnin’s presentation titled “Depolicing the Universe(ity): Campus De-Escalation Training as a Tool Against State Violence” discussed the topic of college and university policing and how de-escalation and bystander intervention could assist in decreasing over-policing campuses.

According to Tinnin, “This training invites students to collectively reconsider our relationship with policing and offers clear alternatives to several contexts when police are often deployed: mental health and domestic situations, street harassment, protest and demonstrations, noise complaints, and other neighbor disputes.”

Lastly, Brazwell conducted a workshop on “Creating braver, safer spaces with courage and reliability” to better communicate in everyday situations and welcome the stranger into one’s life.

Brazwell’s workshop consisted of an overview of “The Nine Asks,” a system she created to form guidelines for promoting safer spaces and productive discussion.

Overall, each topic tied into the central theme of the conference, with some speakers even remarking how their presentations could intertwine with each other.

Attendees were presented with various resources, information, and tools to equip themselves better to ” welcome the stranger” into their lives.