The conference invitation (← click) shows the range of concerns originally presented to invitees and collaborators.
Thirty-four patriots and activists attended (one remotely). Every participant contributed and presented. The day had no lull. Energy, solidarity, commitment, teaching, and learning filled the day from the first moment to the last, and then beyond. Participants forged new alliances, bonds, and relationships that immediately began to show in correspondence and communications in the days since our meeting. Our time together provided us all with greater awareness of one another and new knowledge to strengthen our work on all fronts.
Participants’ ages ranged from high school and younger to establishment leaders and clergy in their senior years. A significant range of faith traditions were represented, showing the natural interfaith sensitivity among patriots who work sacrificially for the ideal of a healthy and good America. Disciplines and organizational representation were broad. The content and flow of the day was a gentle mix of prepared talks, substantive, spontaneous presentations, and a constant and free flow of open exchange and questions and answers.
Washington Times national security correspondent, Bill Gertz (author of Deceiving the Sky) sent a video presentation on the CCP threat to the United States (not to be confused with any ill will or lack of concern for the people of China). All other participants were in attendance live.
Every presentation provided important education and information. Some noteworthy figures presenting included Ohio House Seat (61st) candidate, Beth Lear, accompanied by husband Jeff Lear. Beth told the story of her candidacy, and the core elements of her platform. David Mahan, from the Center for Christian Virtue, spoke powerfully and eloquently on culture, legislation, and steps to counter the current moral assault on youth. Stephanie Kreuz, Heritage Action Regional Leader, told us of the established, mature, and effective work of Heritage Action, and how we can become involved. Jake Poling with Ms. Erika Gluck reported on Turning Point USA, not only its powerful conservative juggernaut among young American leaders, but also its newly launched Highschool Program. Mor Cassianus Lewis, Archbishop of the Antiochene Syriac Orthodox Church in Columbus told of harrowing realities facing the inner city poor and underprivileged. He reported on his many programs and personal life-risking ministry he and his community carry out through this inner-city Orthodox church. At the core of his ministry is the determination to open a way for every American to inherit the promise and dream our founders meant for all, without exception.
Ezra Escudero from Americans For Prosperity, testified to his journey of serving and educating people of Columbus, and told of the generous and systematic work of his organization. Both Tracey Ulrich and Darbi Boddy currently sit on school boards. Ms. Ulrich with Ohio Parents Knows BEST state representative/ Perrysburg Stands Up, and Ms. Boddy the Lakota School Board. Ms. Ulrich offered a prepared powerpoint on her activism providing instruction and the “how to” for parents to be active and effective in speaking out and influencing legislation that affects their children. Ms. Boddy spoke powerfully and moved participants, deeply recounting her trajectory into activism caused by experiencing America’s potential decline into unconstitutional authoritarianism and impositions of perverse and divisive teachings and curricula gaining sway in American culture.
The Turkish American Society of Ohio was a significant and important contingent at the conference. Ismail Tirtem, Halit Kolac, Isa Kuyuldar, and Ali Kucuker, blessed the meeting with their respective contributions. We could know of them thanks to the knowledgeable and careful assistance and networking power of Rumi Forum executive director, Ibrahim Anli of Virginia. All four gentlemen spoke and presented with perspectives and understanding perhaps not always readily available in typical meetings of this sort. Theirs was a great plus to the day. The main presentation for the group was offered by Ali Kucuker.
Of special interest was the engaging presentation by Mark Keillor, accompanied by his wife Jean, telling of the content and vision of Civics Day Camp, a program and curriculum to return to citizens some of the foundational knowledge needed to live uprightly as Americans.
The meeting was ably moderated by Settlement Project, regional rep, and Affirm America rep, Marquis Van de Mark. Marquis was the prime mover and organizer of the meeting together with his colleague Chris Fox, of the Universal Peace Federation, and Susan Nishio of Ohio. Settlement Project president, Frank Kaufmann opened the meeting with a brief explanation of Settlement’s vision, purpose, and strategy.
With all this established power and representation in the room, somehow there were two people who gave us all a run for our money. Young sisters Genesis and Claire Djagli (in attendance with their mother Yvette), spoke well, listened even better, and gave us all hope that the destructive forces aligned against our children can indeed be overcome, and honor and peace can define the future of our children.
Finally, the glorious ambience for the meeting, the elegant space, the bountiful meals, and the pure welcome, was from the generosity and caring traditions of Takashi Takenaka, founder of the Yokoso Center, venue manager Asako Kim, and all the staff of the Yokoso Center.
Thank you for reading. Please consider joining The Settlement Project as a member. These are serious times, and we need one another shoulder to shoulder, now more than ever.