December 28, 2001

To: Folk School Group

From: John Wallace

Re: Retreat on responding to September 11 and its aftermath, at Shalom Hill Farm, January 18-20, 2002

September 11 and its aftermath seem like a call: Wake up! Get serious! Change your life! I am writing to invite you to a retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, January 18-20. We will share the meanings we are making of September 11 and its aftermath, and explore actions and changes in our lives that we might make to respond.

Information about logistics and about registering for the retreat can be found on the web at http://members.tcq.net/ppatton/fs/ [now www.hopework.org].

At the folk school evening on November 18 several Somali students from Roosevelt High School shared what September 11 has meant to them and their families. We hope that some of these students will participate in the January retreat.The facilitators of the retreat are Piyali Nath Dalal, Nick Longo, Ilene Alexander, Monica Jansen, and Peter Shea (and possibly also Aleida Benitez, Gunnar Liden, Emily Farell). To give an idea of what the retreat will be like, let me share some of the themes the facilitators have identified-all of these came up in the November 18 meeting--are working to shape into a weekend of conversations and activities. What fears, and also what hopes for the future, have been called forth by what has happened? How can we ally ourselves with local communities, Muslim and other, which now have reason to doubt they will receive welcome and equal respect in this country? How can we create a space to hear a range of responses to September, from profound grief to determination to take particular actions? To what extent do we need new information to respond intelligently and well (e.g., information about United States actions and policies, or about the Muslim world and its history), and to what extent is what we need NOT information, but something else? And what might that something else be? What new conflicts and tensions are we finding in our own lives and relationships? And what new pressures to be silent, to not express our real views, to hide our truth and not to hear others when they express their truth? How can we create spaces to counteract these pressures and heal these conflicts? What does patriotism mean? What things about this country are we proud of? What things about this country are we ashamed of?

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

To register send John Wallace an email (walla003@umn.ed) with your name, whether you have any special food requirements, whether you need a ride or can drive and if you have room to take others, who we should contact in case of an emergency, when you expect to arrive and depart, and the amount you will pay.