Today was a special day for me. Over the last year one of my main roles as a student leader for this course was to help coordinate an exchange between the Hamline students on this study abroad course and students from a university called PIASS, Protestant Institute for Arts and Social Sciences. First, the other student leader and myself from Hamline presented to the PIASS about slavery to the American Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter movement. The PIASS students then presented on youth involvement in reconciliation efforts after the 1994 genocide. After discussion of our specific topics we moved into more general discussion of reconciliation. In this discussion of reconciliation we discussed questions that are really central to the issue of reconciliation and conflict. These questions really made me think, I still don't have answers to most of them, but I think they are important questions to think about for everybody living in the U.S. Or anywhere where systematic wrongs have been committed. These questions were:
Can I/ Should I apologize that happened before I was born, or which I did not directly cause?
How do I react or act in the process of reconciliation not as a perpetrator of wrongs but as a benefactor?
Can one person apologize on behalf of another or on behalf of a group?