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I write with concern that the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center’s house is slated to be torn down.

I visit the Literacy Center almost every week. I witness the variety of nationalities that come for language help, cooking classes, assistance deciphering paperwork, and friendship. Many are students or family of Oregon State University students, and they simply would never connect meaningfully with U.S. citizens if it weren’t for the Literacy Center. They will always find a friendly face, a warm welcome, and a beautiful environment in this charming old house. Here the university and the community come together for mutual service.

The current INTO program tends to isolate international students. I worry that some return home after four years without befriending Americans and feeling that their humanity is cherished by us. This is not only a lost opportunity but, I believe, dangerous in the long run.

I am passionate about nonviolence, creating peace and averting damaging wars. I believe that the Literacy Center does the real and farsighted work of creating world peace. The relationships, respect and understanding that develop there literally go around the world. Stories of friendship and welcome are what win “hearts and minds.” This is the peace that we want to see in the world. The Literacy Center should be emulated in every community.

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If you've never been to the old yellow Sunflower House on Ninth Street, just south of Monroe, please visit, so that you have a feel for what we are trying to preserve.

Laurie Childers

Corvallis (June 29)

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