Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

A Message for Peace

Posted July 31st, 2014 by Tom

cjp_logoYesterday I received an email from Daryl Byler, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University. EMU is a place I have studied and will continue to study issues of trauma, restorative justice, conflict resolution, and other subjects, with an overall focus on building Peace. Daryl’s message, on behalf of the faculty and staff of the CJP, moved me deeply. Having studied in May with friends and peacebuilders from Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Haiti and elsewhere, Daryl’s message touches my heart, and the hearts of many friends around the world. I share his words here with my friends in the hope that we will all redouble our efforts to build peace… everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to the Table National Gathering

Posted June 5th, 2014 by Tom

IMG_7419The National Gathering of Coming to the Table took place at Eastern Mennonite University during the Summer Peacebuilding Institute May 23-25. An article about the gathering, “Desire to address, heal, traumatic legacy of U.S. slavery sparks growth in Coming to the Table group“, shares the heart of what we hoped participants would experience.

At the 2014 annual meeting of Coming to the Table, two participants read emotionally charged poems that they exchanged after learning they were descended from the same plantation in Missouri. During one discussion, a participant of European origins shared her suspicions that the systematic abuse in her family was a legacy of the psychological impact of owning slaves.

More than 150 years after the end of slavery, the historical trauma of a system that turned people into property remains throughout the nation. It’s a trauma that members of Coming to the Table are trying to address…

My writing partner Sharon Morgan and I both served on the Planning and Facilitation Committee for the Gathering. We were pleased that we were filled to capacity and that participants were deeply engaged and satisfied with the experience.

“Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk?”

Posted April 24th, 2013 by Tom

In the midst of the insanity following the terror attack during the Boston Marathon I noticed a flurry of Tweets from many quarters calling for some pretty gruesome revenge on the surviving suspect. Among the notable, New York State Senator Greg Ball tweeted, “So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?”

Associated Press

Associated Press

Understandable? Yes. A useful response? No.

Participating in the Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience (STAR) program at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, I understand with certainty that the instinct – in the face of such trauma as was experienced by people in Boston last Monday – is to seek revenge. People may then become caught up in the unending Cycles of Violence; acting out against others or themselves.

True healing begins when we break out of those cycles onto a journey toward truth, justice, mercy, and peace.

Easy? No. A useful response? Yes.


Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry