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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Friendly Atmosphere at the World Cafe

In a world that is confronted daily with a constant slew of troubles, it’s relaxing to discuss the solutions rather than the problem themselves. And at the World Cafe that the University of Massachusetts Boston hosted last Thursday, Feb. 16, there was just that—a relaxing environment to discuss the solution to the world’s woes.

The World Cafe was  hosted by Jackie Lageson, a sociology professor at UMass Boston and a part of the Criminal Justice Department here on campus. The priority of the event was to spread awareness of not only the problems created by modern day society, but to propose solutions as well. The event was a chance to have a conversation with international students from both the undergraduate and the graduate programs on campus, as well a chance to speak with faculty and those directly involved in the “Breaking the Cycle of Violence” program.

Within the comfortable presence of fellow students and while enjoying complimentary chocolates, coffee, and cookies, those who attended the program were able to discuss the problems we face in the community with racism, militarism, and poverty. And along with that, attendees discussed the solutions to these problems.

The event started with several videos that discussed the merits of a nonviolent approach to facing these issues, including several interview that Martin Luther King Jr. attended and answered questions for.

At his own time, facing his own struggles and issues, King stated, “I still believe that nonviolence is the strongest approach.”

With this in mind, Lageson invited the group attending to discuss how to face modern day issues, prioritizing a nonviolent approach to these solutions. Lageson’s main goal was to find how to advance social justice in the community, in light of the oppression, fear, anxiety, and hate that people face on a day-to-day basis of their own identification.

The friendly atmosphere of the event made it easy for the participants to unfold and talk about their own experiences in the country. Many international students provided their experiences entering a new country and finding a completely different culture here.

“When I first came here, it was insane [to see] police everywhere,” one student commented.

However, most participants provided insightful solutions to complex problems. The discussion was open, and allowed for multiple opinions from multiple cultures.

“If you have the education, you can handle the situation better,” Cecilia Cordova commented when asked about how to best confront the situation.

Elvita Swain, who was another participant in the World Cafe, added, “We have to be welcoming to understand their cultures.”

The responses to the issues posed were overwhelmingly positive. The diverse stories that each of the participants had to share kept the listeners captivated. Most of the students commented on the overall out-look of the problems.

‘We need to focus on why the crimes are committed,” Monica Ricci had to say, when asked why we need to be educated on the crimes committed in modern day society.  The discussion at her table focused on why we needed to understand where these diverse cultures were coming from in order to fix the problems.

Many of the students who attended led their discussion in a differently insightful direction.

“If you harbor the hatred in your heart,” Marcos Hernandez said, “it’s going to follow you.”

Overall, the event was a positive experience, that encouraged building up a community on the UMass Boston campus, and listening to student stories that you wouldn’t normally hear in a normal sort of discussion. It was a great example to set in such an uncertain time, an example that encourages love, friendship, and understanding among all of the communities on the university.
If you’re interested in attending future World Cafes, be sure to check out the next one on April 10!