Keep the Conversation Alive

By Eve Hersh

It’s a harrowing scene, yet one that’s become all too familiar: police tape, snipers kneeling behind cars, weeping mothers, a spread of articles and blog posts calling for greater gun control. It’s a scene we saw in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, in 2006 at an Amish elementary school in Lancaster County, Penn., in 2012 in an Aurora, Colo. movie theatre, and then later in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and then, last week—again in Colorado, at Arapahoe High School.

The violence that we see on the news is the loud, dramatic kind. It’s the violence that we see on a national scale—like the three Colorado mass shootings that have happened in the last decade. These events attract wide media coverage and garner strong reactions from the world. Then, there’s violence in our communities—like the daily shootings that happen in Chicago neighborhoods—acts that, individually, go largely unnoticed. And then there’s violence in our homes—often an ongoing struggle for women, children, and yes, many men.

It seems that as one tragedy moves into the recesses of our collective mind, another horrifying event happens—stirring the same emotions, waking us up from imagined state of peace, and again, we’re crying out for change. We want answers and we want action. We turn to lawmakers and we look into perpetrators’ pasts in attempts to make sense of the senseless.

Then, by and by, the people so impassioned by tragedy get on with their own lives. And maybe that’s how we react to pain: we forget it in order to move on.

I don’t know what the bigger issue is: gun control, or mental healthcare and the stigmatization of emotional health issues (I am inclined to believe it’s an amalgamation of both). But there is one issue that I believe we can all agree on.

We can’t go mute. We must keep the conversation alive.


Eve Hersh works as a social media manager, serves on the Girls Education International Board of Directors and formerly volunteered as a domestic violence victim advocate.


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    Doris Ricks-Lankford, MAPC, LPC, MAOL Masters Student

    Silence eliminates connection that opens dialogue, saying no to crucial conversations, needed to identify conflicts and seek resolutions. Having voice and input with rules gives an opportunity to speak, giving appropriately responses to remain in conversation, keeping it alive.

    Modeling respect is necessary. Our history initiated the anger, emotions, and violence that permeates rather giving supportive caring and concern. Disrespect is learned behavior; replaced by a model that shows loving-kindness, supportive responses, and love that shows respect.

    Watching my own, abusive Father walk through this change gives me hope that anyone can change. Community caring has to show the love, compassion, and support, building trust in relationships. Two books help: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High and A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward and Undivided Life. Both discuss how to redirect our self for change and offers a process, giving progress.

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