Prince William Campus Hosts Community Dialogue

Posted: April 29, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

The Prince William Campus hosts “Balancing Freedom, Security, and Human Rights in our Community,” an opportunity for open discussion among area residents about the balance of national security and human rights in the greater Prince William area, on Saturday, May 1. The program gets under way at 1 p.m. in the Verizon Auditorium. Unity in the Community, a nonprofit grassroots organization that strives to develop and promote understanding and friendship among the many cultures and faiths of Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, cosponsors the event with George Mason.

“Providing our local citizens with an opportunity to share their feelings on these important issues is another way George Mason and, specifically, the Prince William Campus can give back to the community we serve,” says Larry Czarda, vice president, Prince William Campus. “This is the kind of community support that a university should bring to its neighbors.”

The afternoon begins with a panel presentation offering perspectives on interfaith relations, immigrant and international communities, police/community relations, and fears resulting from international unrest. Panelists include Johnny Barnes, executive director, National Capital Region, American Civil Liberties Union; Gershon Blackmore, rabbi, Congregation Ner Shalom; Charlie Deane, chief of police, Prince William County; George Ginovsky, assistant chief, George Mason University Police Department; Sandra-Joy Gray, family psychologist; Mike Mason, assistant director, Washington, D.C., Field Office, FBI; Indira Moran, psychologist, Northern Virginia Family Services; Mohammed Safa, imam, Dar Al Salaam; and Joe Zengerle, professor, George Mason School of Law.

Topics will be further explored in discussion sessions that follow the panel presentation. Graduate students from George Mason’s Dispute Resolution Project will facilitate the sessions, along with experts from law enforcement and human rights, education, religious, and counseling communities. The program concludes with a reception at 4:30 p.m.

Unity in the Community President Bill Vaughan, a Mason alumnus, explains that the organization’s mission is to cultivate an appreciation for shared cultural heritages and to actively prevent, stop, and respond to hate crimes and discrimination in the community. “We are cosponsoring this forum with George Mason because both organizations have an interest in the health and well-being of our community, as well as an appreciation of our rights as we know and cherish them,” he says. “Both organizations also bring a wealth of resources that contribute to this discourse.”

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is suggested. For additional information or to register, call 703-993-8376.

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