Protecting children from violence and building ‘a livable future’ will be the focus of a forum on Sunday

Protect & Promote Children’s Right to Livable Future

Old Capitol, Senate Chambers — Sunday, Dec. 10 at 1:30 p.m.

Image by Jordan Sellergren

Creating a better future for children living in the shadow of violence will be the focus of a community forum at the Old Capitol on Sunday. It’s the third and final forum in a series that examines the impact of violence on children.

“It all started after the Manchester bombing,” Dr. Maureen McCue told Little Village. McCue is the coordinator for Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility and serves on the advisory board of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, two of the organizations sponsoring the series of forums.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. More than 500 people were injured in the incident. Because Grande was the headliner, many of those attending the concert were young people.

The first of the forums focused on how the experience of living with violence as child, including surviving war, influences a person’s later life. The second explored how the media reports on children and violence. The final forum will look at practical steps that can be taken to protect children and create “a livable future” for them, McCue explained.

The keynote speaker will be Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

“She works much of the time in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen with young people and families on how to deal with the violence they are surrounded with,” McCue said, “and how out of the ashes of such a real destructive environment there can come citizens who will turn the situation around in the future.”

UI Professor of Education Carolyn Colvin and recent UI graduate Fatima Elbadri will also be featured speakers. Colvin “works with immigrant families and teachers on how to effectively bridge the gap between people coming into this country and the society they are entering,” McCue said. Elbadri, who was born in Sudan, works to help young people of color find their voices through a writing workshops sponsored by United Action for Youth.

“These are three people, who are doing things with young people to create a safer, more humane future,” McCue said. “When the speakers are done, the audience will break into small groups and talk about what kinds of things they can do.”

The conversation will continue after the forum during a reception at the Congregational United Church of Christ of Iowa City on Clinton Street.

Along with Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility and the UI Center for Human Rights, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Veterans for Peace, the United Nations Association of Iowa and the Iowa City Office of Equity and Human Rights are sponsoring the forum.