Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Listen to a webinar

In February, Renny Cushing, MVFHR Executive Director, and David Kaczynski, New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Executive Director, participated in a "webinar" organized by Patricia Fennell of Albany Health Management Associates. You can listen to it here.

The press release from Albany Health Management Associates says:

MARCH 1, 2011, ALBANY, N.Y. -- What would you do if a close family member were murdered? What if you discovered that a loved one had killed? How would you react? What would your response be? And how are lessons learned in the aftermath of tragedy applicable to people confronting any number of losses and tragedies?

These questions are the subject of a recorded webinar facilitated by clinical social worker Patricia Fennell in February, in the shadow of Jared Lee Loughner's attack on a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. The webinar, freely available on Fennell's website, under the "Webinars" tab, features activists Renny Cushing and David Kaczynski discussing how their experiences with violence and trauma have informed their work helping others in similar situations.

Renny's father, Robert, was violently murdered in his home in 1988, and David's brother, Ted, was arrested by the FBI in 1996, accused as the Unabomber responsible for a series of bombings that caused three deaths and numerous injuries over 17 years.

Through their experiences, both men were surprised to discover that the families of victims and perpetrators have more in common than expected. Both groups are facing similar emotions, such as loss, guilt, anger, betrayal and fear, and asking similar questions to try to understand the situation they are in. As Renny and David told the New York Times in January, the families of Loughner and his victims are asking the unanswerable questions that they each confronted: why, how, could it have been prevented, and what do I do now?

During the webinar, both men describe their experiences, lessons learned, and what they are now doing to help families who have been harmed by violence and tragedy. Their words are instructive to people facing any number of losses -- death of a loved one, health and medical stability, personal safety, or otherwise, said Fennell.

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