Students talk about violence Murray State Conversation and Dessert event

Murray State University students and community members sat down over dessert to talk about violence Tuesday.

Kentucky Council of Churches Interim Executive Director Peggy Hindes was the keynote speaker of the 5th annual Conversation and Dessert event. This year focused on how we all relate to violence.

She said she speaks to different communities and organizations across Kentucky, not to lecture, but to coach.

"We have no concept of a world that is completely peaceful," Hindes said.

Tuesday she encouraged attendees to talk about where they see violence.

"Where they come up with their own ideas and implement their own vision for what they can do in their community to change the culture away from a culture of violence," Hindes said.

MSU Junior Garrett Puccetti showed up to show support "for my friends of different backgrounds."

Puccetti said she feels talking about what may make us uncomfortable is the first step toward stopping violence or bias.

"Any sort of conversation is the best place to start with any issue," Puccetti said.

His friend, MSU senior Alec Brock, agrees.

"We’re not just specifically talking about issues, but talking about issues to those who typically don’t think like you," Brock said.

Some of the issues Murray students and community members at the event said they’ve been exposed to include cyber bullying, violence based on sexual orientation, animal cruelty, gun violence, and staying quiet when they see violence happening. 

Hindes also said deeper conversations like those are especially important for the younger generation. "(Conversations) that engage their frontal lobe, that engage them, their discerning mind to think. And you want them to think in positive ways, think about possibilities," Hindes said.

They’re using conversation as an avenue to more acceptance.

Across the nation, the U.S. ranks 103 out of 163 countries in peace according to the Vision of Humanity, a website about peace research. The site says violence cost the U.S. $13.6 trillion last year.

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