By Ashley Shuler
Professor Diana Hadley, a lifelong Quaker and educator of 43 years, and David Weatherspoon, current hospital chaplain and previous campus minister of 10 years, presented their new book on nonviolence Saturday.
The book, titled “The Peace Class: A study of effective cheek-turning, neighbor-loving and sword-to-plowshare conversion,” focuses on the Christian doctrine of “turning the other cheek” and details the experiences co-authors Hadley and Weatherspoon had in their LA 112 class on nonviolence.
“It is a way to share our nonviolence class stories with everyone else who wasn’t there,” Hadley said.
The class began during the winter term of 2007 when Hadley combined her faith and her profession. The four-week class evolved into a semester-long course, and eventually, a team-teaching effort still offered today.
Ever since, a book telling the stories of themselves and their students in the nonviolence class has been in the works.
During the discussion, the pair divided the audience into thirds amongst those who grew up in rural areas, suburban areas and urban areas. Weatherspoon asked them to discuss their experiences with guns growing up.
For audience members who grew up in rural areas, guns were remembered as being used for hunting and killing rodents. For those in the suburban group, guns were faintly remembered as being tucked into safes or hidden in their homes for safety. In urban areas, guns were described as being used for the sole purple of shooting people.
The activity–which also takes place in the nonviolence classroom–serves to display the different perspectives individuals have with violence due to external cultural and locational factors.
“The Peace Class” gives a personal account but also gives a real world value to nonviolence teaching.
“There’s a practical side to this class,” Weatherspoon said. “Leadership and conflict resolution are more than soft skills. Our students can take it to the real world and apply it.”
Hadley recognizes the subject is relevant now more than ever.
“Nonviolence has always been important,” Hadley said. “But now, here are more ways to harm people in conflict. Guns, whether personal or in the military, are becoming a bigger deal. And we have to double down on how to prevent violence.”
“The Peace Class” can be purchased from the bookstore or through Amazon for $12.99.