The University of Findlay’s Buford Center for Diversity and Service, in partnership with Winebrenner Theological Seminary and the Churches of God, General Conference, will host their first Q Commons event on Thursday, Oct. 26.
Titled “Healing Our Divided Nation,” the event is a worldwide effort to incite discussion and action regarding various concerns that are affecting communities. More than 140 cities throughout the U.S plan to participate. A national panel of commentators will provide video talks, and local speakers will offer in-person presentations.
The event will be held in Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s TLB Auditorium from 7-9 p.m. The cost to attend is $19, which includes a dinner at the same location beginning at 5:45 p.m. To register, visit http://qcommons.com/Findlay.
Community speakers will include Jaime De La Cruz, manager of diversity, inclusion and talent management at Marathon Petroleum Corporation, who will be discussing “Race Relations in Our Community”; Amber Wolfrom, deputy director of the Hancock County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, who will address “Pain and the Opioid Crisis”; and Ed Kurt, Findlay City Schools superintendent, who’s talk is titled “Educating and Empowering for Life.”
The national video panel will include David Brooks, cultural commentator for The New York Times, who will discuss “Cultivating Virtue in the Celebrity Age”; Kara Powell of the Fuller Youth Institute and author of “Right Click,” who’s presentation is titled, “Confronting our Technology Addiction”; and Propaganda, an activist and artist who will address “Our Complicated Moment.”
“It’ll be a lot of different topics covered in a short amount of time. Every topic may not resonate with everybody, wh;ich is fine, but out of the six talks, we think that people will take away something from it and hopefully facilitate meaningful dialogue with the other people who are in attendance,” said Robert Braylock, UF’s director of Intercultural Student Services.
The Q Commons concept aligns with the Buford Center’s goal of bringing diverse individuals together for discussion and learning about controversial issues in respectful environments. Since 2015, the Center has offered a monthly dialogue series for the campus and community that has addressed topics ranging from politics to racism. It also hosts events such as the popular International Night that provides cultural enrichment and connection opportunities.
“By educating our students and helping them learn how to facilitate dialogue and be open to different perspectives, we believe we’re helping them to be more culturally humble, empathetic and compassionate to various issues and people who identify differently than they do,” said Braylock.
“Q Commons is a larger event for the entire community, regardless of which sector you come from, to learn about different things that are going on and to hopefully be open to different perspectives. It’s about figuring out ways that we can, each within our own sphere of influence, facilitate meaningful, positive change to problems that are plaguing us as a nation,” Braylock explained.
National concerns remain part of the local community fabric as well, which validates continued discussion, Braylock continued. He mentioned racism is evident in this region, as exemplified by graffiti found at a city park this past summer; heroin addiction is on the rise; and poverty exists at all age levels.
“Hopefully this is not a one-time thing where we all walk away and just forget about everything, and instead we continue to try to connect with the people we meet there to help bring about positive change,” Braylock said.
The annual Q Commons is derived from the Q organization, a Christian-based group that aims to renew and restore cultures. It is inspired by evangelical leader Charles Colson’s statement, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.”