Dialogue doesn’t just mean two people talking. We all know that louder voices can drown out opposing opinions and the voices attached to powerful people can ensure that opposing positions never materialize. Dialogue is an ethic of conversation in the sense that it requires all parties to willingly enter a space where the equity, humanity, and complexity of the speakers involved is foregrounded. In Addir, diversity isn’t an abstract value or conceptual framing, it is the necessary inclusion, celebration, and careful consideration of the multitude of religious, spiritual and ethical identities and experiences found within our communities both on campus and in our other homes. Addir acknowledges that religious, spiritual and ethical traditions are internally diverse, and no one person can speak for their entire tradition, large or small. We also work to recognize the difference between asserting a religious worldview as normative vs. acknowledging the existence of others’ often contradictory, competing, or aligned perspectives. With these assertions in mind, Addir creates opportunities for students to talk with each other in good faith. (Pun intended.)
Addir students knowingly enter a space of dialogue, knowing they may feel challenged; however, Addir students know that this community honors the line between curiosity, learning, or growth and undue exercises in power which can come about when someone decides they alone are right or their beliefs alone are true. This is because Addir recognizes that religions are constituted by people and that certain religious traditions are in closer proximity to state, structural, and cultural power than others. This means that dialogical equity only exists when we acknowledge that real stakes in conversations are different for speakers across religious, spiritual and ethical traditions and a multitude of other intersecting factors including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, or nationality.
If Addir is in fact for everyone, it must necessarily be made safe for those who are the most vulnerable and targeted in our society. Our dialogue seeks to understand people, not change them. We insist on the worth and dignity of all people and recognize our interconnectedness. In our club, we whole-heartedly promise each other our kindness and curiosity. As such, Addir does not tolerate nor condone homophobia, transphobia nor any other manifestation of supremacy, racism, nor colonialism of any kind.