September 2010

September 2010

PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

September 2010

Remembering 9/11: A Nine Year Education
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, global sympathy for the United States surged, and the response appeared to help bring the US closer to the world community. According to Barna Research Group, a California company that tracks social, religious, and political trends, church attendance increased by about 25 percent nationwide and unexpected acts of kindness were witnessed all over the country. A new breath of cultural awareness also began as people sought knowledge about and understanding of Islam. In 2005, more people from Muslim countries legally became permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades. (Tubes, 2002)

Unfortunately, challenges accompanied these positive results. The Patriot Act of 2002 is one of the more significant legal changes the US has encountered in its history, many US Muslims have changed their names to avoid job discrimination, and airport security changes have affected all of us.

Following such historic events, the education community seeks opportunities to learn and to study, so that healing can occur and we can move forward. Brazilian philosopher Paulo Friere writes that the educated person has a responsibility to take action, and that this responsibility is a natural outcome of analysis and the learning process. We, as humans, have the ability to think critically, to analyze and evaluate that which we have experienced. Educated individuals proceed from analysis to synthesis, which involves bringing together plans for action. (Friere, 2000)

The action plan for members of the Ashford University community is to not forgot the past or allow it to fade. We will remember historical events and use the pain of those events as catalysts for evolutionary thinking. Now that we have begun healing from the tragic events of September 11, what are we going to do about it? To what specific actions do these events call us?

Memorials are one way to heal and remember. One 9/11 memorial website offers detailed information about the transformation taking place in lower Manhattan on the eight acre site of the Twin Towers. Michael Arad and Peter Walker were selected from a pool of 5,200 entrants from 63 nations to be the architects. This memorial will honor the 2,750 individuals who were killed on September 11, 2001. The site also has a special section dedicated to education, which provides tools for those wishing to explore thought provoking questions or those interested in bringing related materials into their classrooms. Although the area is specifically designed for those involved with secondary education, the questions may still resonate with us. One in particular seems appropriate in this context:

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, a “world community” emerged; people from all walks of life and all parts of the world joined together to help. The tremendous goodwill lasted for a while and then dissipated. Do we need a crisis to bring us together? Are there other ways to build and sustain that sense of fellowship? (www.national911memorial.org)

Has our goodwill dissipated? Are there ways to renew the fellowship and sense of community that was felt so strongly after the tragedy? The challenge for us, as members of the healing network at Ashford University, is to remember, reflect, learn, and challenge ourselves to think of peace, fellowship, and the opportunity to learn from these last nine years.

References:
9/11 Memorial. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from National September 11 Memorial & Museum website, http://www.national911memorial.org

Friere, P. (2000). The pedagogy of the oppressed (30th anniversary ed.). New York: Continuum.

Tubbs, S. (2002, Sept. 9). What ever happened to… St. Petersburg Times.