About the Ashland Center for Nonviolence
The seed for the Ashland Center for Nonviolence (ACN) was planted in December 2002 when Dr. John Stratton, an English professor at Ashland University, said, “I am going to stand out on the intersection of Claremont and King Road one hour each week with a sign that says it is wrong for the United States to invade Iraq. If anyone else wants to stand with me, they can join me.” Always standing with fellow concerned Ashlanders, John stood with as many as 25 others, each holding their own homemade signs. When the invasion occurred about 5 months later, the weekly vigil keepers put down their signs and went inside. They found their shared passion for speaking out against militarism as a solution to international problems, and they wanted to continue to have a voice for peace. Thus sprouted the Ashland Center for Nonviolence. And thanks to the resources provided by then-Provost Robert Suggs, the loosely organized and penniless group was able to bring in speakers such as Arun Gandhi (activist and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), Yolanda King (activist and daughter of MLK), and Elie Weisel (author, activist, and Holocaust survivor).
About the John D. Stratton Conference
Under the leadership of Dr. Craig Hovey, the ACN established an annual scholarly conference named after its founder, John D. Stratton, that explores a theme of nonviolence each year. During the conference, professors and students present their research projects and engage in lively discussion with the audience on topics that revolve around nonviolence. This year’s conference explores various topics on the theme of Satyagraha: Nonviolence in the Gandhi-King Tradition. The underlying philosophy of this conference is that peace-making is varied, good work that is accessible to everyone, and so the goal of the conference is to create a venue to showcase such works.
About Satyagraha and the Gandhi–King Tradition
Satyagraha is a word coined by Gandhi that is rooted in the Sanskrit language which roughly translates to “holding firmly to truth” or “truth force.” For Gandhi, and later on for MLK, this principle of a nonviolent truth force provided the foundation for their respective social movements to bring about justice in the unjust situations they found themselves in. For Gandhi, this movement was Indian Independence from Britain during the 1940s, while for MLK, this movement was the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1960s. Read more about the philosophy of satyagraha here.
About the Writing & Communication Center
The Writing and Communication Center (WCC), located in Bixler 104, provides writing and communication coaching to undergraduate and graduate students at Ashland University. Over the years, the WCC has gone by different names, such as the Writing Lab, the Writing Center, the Ashland Multiliteracy (AMuLit) Center, and now the WCC. Throughout these name changes, the WCC has consistently dedicated itself to helping Ashland University students improve their written communication skills. Most recently, the WCC has worked towards expanding its services to include help not only with writing, but also with project presentations, speeches, group projects and presentations, poster presentations, and other digital communication assignments.