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MCCC's 9-11 Debates Delve Into Weighty Questions


9/16/11


West Windsor, N.J. - The impact of 9-11 ten years later was the subject of two wide ranging panel discussions entitled, "Unity Through Diversity," moderated by MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Guy Generals. The first was held Sept. 12 at Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus and the second was held Sept. 14 at the James Kerney Campus.

Panel members presented their perspectives as educators and religious leaders, as well as their personal experiences. Panelists at Kelsey Theatre included Dr. Abdul Malik Ali of Masjid UT-Taqwa in Trenton; the Rev. Samuel Atchison, president and CEO of the Trenton Ecumenical Area Ministry; MCCC Associate Professor Michael Dalton, coordinator of the Photography program; English Professor Noreen Duncan; Assistant Professor of Philosophy Ken Howarth; and Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. At the Trenton campus, the panelists included Rabbi Eric Wisnia of Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction; Associate Professor Dalton; Imam Ali and Rev. Julio Guzman of Living Hope Alliance Church in Trenton.

Central themes of the discussions included 9-11's effect on constitutional rights, the importance of balancing individual rights and freedoms with national security, the current fractured political climate in America, and the key role of education to eradicate hatred and increase tolerance of different cultures.

During the question and answer period at West Windsor, student Holly Hagy observed that MCCC is the perfect setting to reflect on such issues. "Mercer is such a diverse platform for this discussion," she said. She noted that she attended a small Catholic college many years ago. In her current environment at Mercer, she says she has grown tremendously by engaging with students from other backgrounds and cultures.

MCCC's 9-11 discussion of "Unity Through Diversity" on Sept. 12 featured panelists, from left, MCCC faculty members Michael Dalton and Noreen Duncan, Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, Imam Abdul Malik Ali of Masjid UT-Taqwa in Trenton, the Rev. Samuel Atchison, president and CEO of the Trenton Ecumenical Area Ministry; and MCCC faculty member Ken Howarth.
The panelists at the James Kerney Campus included, from left, Rev. Julio Guzman of Living Hope Alliance Church in Trenton, Rabbi Eric Wisnia of Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, Imam Ali and MCCC faculty member Michael Dalton.
 

In closing, Dr. Ali appealed to the next generation. Rev. Atchison concurred, encouraging students to come together on these larger issues. "You can provide a model for your elders to follow," Atchison said. Dr. Winkler added that many were emotionally torn by the events of September 11 and its aftermath. "Go one step further," he told audience members. "Do something about it. Do not accept intolerance and bigotry." MCCC Professor Duncan noted, "One of the beauties of a college education is that we can learn to see oppression and point out injustices." Dalton added that mutual respect must be a part of any discussion.


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