University events focus on inclusive community: University of Dayton, Ohio


Two University of Dayton events will bring the public together to discuss how to create a more just, equitable, and united community.

“The Common Good in a Divided City,” April 1-3, will focus on the need for regional solidarity — an issue championed by Bro. Raymond Fitz, a religious and community leader and the University’s longest-serving president.

“The ‘common good’ refers to the Catholic belief that the fulfillment of each requires both contributing to the well-being of others and receiving from their fulfillment. Our fulfillment is something we either have together or we don’t have it at all,” said Kelly Johnson, the father of the University. Ferree Chair of Social Justice and Conference Organizer. “The challenge is that our cities, with structures such as municipal boundaries and school districts, are set up in such a way that we experience our good as divided, even competing, and not shared.

“Buddy. Ray made this crucial point that we need to work on regional solidarity and mutual belonging if we want to build the common good and we want to continue his action.

The conference will bring together religious leaders, activists, policy makers, academics, community organizers and the general public. The aim is to foster relationships and inform a conversation about regional solidarity, recognizing the histories and structures that divide the region, with particular attention to the roles of race and faith.

“Imagining Community: Shaping a More Equitable Dayton,” April 7-8 at the Dayton Arcade, was inspired by the UnDesign the Redline exhibit, which premiered at UD in October at the Roesch Library. It will explore Dayton’s history, legacy and impact of racial segregation, and how to move towards a more just, equitable and inclusive Dayton.

“It will be an inclusive conversation,” said Leslie Picca, Roesch Professor of Social Sciences and symposium organizer. “Together we will examine the problems of the past to find ways to organize ourselves for a better future.”

Both events will feature renowned speakers.

On regional solidarity: Korie Little Edwardsfrom Ohio State University, will draw on its research on interracial religious congregations to examine the possibilities and challenges of religious responses to urban racial divides; Richard L. Woods, from the University of New Mexico, will examine how church involvement in community organizing can transform attitudes and actions regarding race and racism; and Maureen O’Connellfrom LaSalle University, will trace his Catholic family’s entanglements with race and racism from the time they immigrated to America until today.

At a Fair Dayton, there will be more than 30 concurrent sessions featuring local artists, community organizers, faith communities and scholars. Opening speech Battle of ShaDawn, from Xavier University, will talk about Chicago Footwork, an embodied street dance of resistance and liberation. Plenary sessions will focus on resistance to erasure in indigenous Ohio, as well as the history and context of community organizing.

Both events are free and open to the public. Registration information is available on the event websites.

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