Thanks to Mountain Xpress for printing Ed Sacco’s letter lamenting the continued presence of military and martial-oriented influences in local public schools [“The Militarization of Our Children,” May 23, Xpress].
In a place like Asheville that likes to tout itself as progressive, you’d think our school administrators would be paying more attention to the educational treasures local citizen-teachers are offering here, both privately and in public venues. In particular, I refer to the ongoing and generous work of teachers like Steve Torma (The REAL Center), Cathy Holt (HeartSpeak), Jerry Donoghue (Inner Presence Coaching) and Roberta Wall (Steps2Peace), to name just a few.
These dedicated citizens offer mind- and life-changing information and practices that have the power to transform our relationships with ourselves and others through the wisdom of NVC (Nonviolent Communication), restorative circles and other communication “technologies” that are at the forefront of inner and outer peacemaking efforts throughout the world. Their work helps us sort out the fabricated from the real, contend with fear, anger and resentment (among other challenging emotions) and learn the art of empathy toward ourselves and others.
Empathy — a natural human experience that has practically been expunged from public life except under the most tragic conditions — is no small thing; its value in transforming aggression into understanding and submission into empowerment is playing an increasing role in more enlightened governments and societies worldwide. Why wait, Asheville schools? And why wait, Asheville people? The time is now to insist our students receive tools that will give them, their families and their world a million times more benefit than would the tools of defense and attack still (sadly) popular even in progressive Asheville. Check the web! Sign up for a class! Learn and share!
— Arjuna da Silva