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    American Creed Political Dialogue

    April 18, 2019

    On April 15, 2019, The University of Scranton convened a Political Dialogue in partnership with the Albright Memorial Library. A total of 35 individuals – members of the community and university students from different political affiliations and backgrounds – were given the opportunity to share what it means to be an American for them and hear from those who think differently at Scranton’s downtown public library.

    The dialogue followed a March full screening of the American Creed film that featured Dr. Adam Pratt, University of Scranton history professor as discussant; at the dialogue event, participants viewed the film’s extended trailer and themes from the PBS documentary informed the dialogue prompts, which included: “Share a personal or family experience that shapes your understanding of what it means to be an American” and “Tell a story from your personal experience that illustrates where the American promise has succeeded or failed.”

    Facilitators from the University led the mini-group discussions as part of an ongoing “Bursting your Political Bubbles” Dialogue Initiative which utilizes the reflective, structured dialogue methods of national non-profit Essential Partners and informed by the tradition of discernment and reflection in speaking and listening taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola. This program was made possible by an American Creed grant awarded by the American Library Association, in partnership with Citizens Film and Public Broadcasting Systems. WVIA promoted the series of events to its Northeastern Pennsylvania audience.

    You can read more about the initiative here. View photos from the evening here.

    At the start of the evening, participants in the large group responded to the following question and below are those who provided responses:

               What does it mean to you when you hear the word “American”?   

    • Patriotic, pride, diversity, equality for all.
    • Freedom and equal opportunity.
    • Free and brave.
    • Birthplace of democracy.
    • Opportunity to be anything. Very little can stop you.  There is no authoritarian regime or extreme poverty.  I can be and do anything.
    • Respect for everyone. The dignity of all people in this grand experiment of democracy.
    • Freedom of speech and travel without passport over 3,000 miles.
    • American = a citizen with rights and freedoms, civil liberties.
    • Endangered ideals.
    • Commitment to the common good.
    • Individualist, not stuffy or formal, friendly for the most part, privileged.
    • Complicated history and views. An experiment in equal justice, equal rights.
    • S. resident or citizen.
    • Opportunity and responsibility. Potential for change.  Democratic form.  Education for all.  Many problems.
    • Freedom of religion, freedom to choose to be me. Equal opportunity for all.
    • Voicing injustices to promote justice and awareness. Speaking truth to power.
    • American = someone who lives in the western hemisphere, South, Central or North America
    • You have the opportunity to be who you want.
    • People make choices, not government.
    • Costly freedom.
    • To be free in your own persons. One nation together.
    • Opportunity to succeed.
    • Melting pot.
    • American = a person who works to better their country in their own way.
    • People of the melting pot nation.  Great experiment.
    • Opportunity.  Success.  Innovation.
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