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Meetings of Conscience

As the Conscience Foundation, in the first meeting of Conscience Meetings, which we held in our new center on Kızılay Meşrutiyet Street, under the moderation of our foundation's president, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, we brought together our brothers who were oppressed, marginalized, exposed to injustice, silenced and helpless by the general society. This meeting opened the doors to a sincere conversation to better understand and empathize with each other.

At the meeting, we heard the voice of the Roma community. The stories of Roma children who could not find a place in schools and struggled to survive in garbage containers, courthouse corridors and recycling areas were heartbreaking. Their lack of attendance in education and the lack of a solution for them revealed a deep indifference and neglect towards this segment of society.

Then we listened to the experiences of our refugee and refugee friends. Their stories left deep marks on our hearts. Asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey have complex and challenging experiences that cannot be defined only by their legal status. The life struggles of these people, who were injured in work accidents, were employed unregistered, and were ignored by society, brought tears to all of our eyes.

Trainee lieutenant families were also with us. Hearing their voices and understanding the pain they experienced reminded us of how much we have in common. Their stories showed that we need more solidarity and understanding as a society.

At this meeting, while listening to different life stories, each of us confronted our own prejudices. Perhaps for the first time, we looked into the eyes of the people we saw as "others" and saw that they were experiencing joys, sorrows, hopes and disappointments just like us. These moments reminded us of the importance of conscience, compassion and empathy, not more hatred, in the fight against the monster of hatred that surrounds society.

This meeting, under the guidance of our foundation's president, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, brought to light not only what was said, but also many silent stories. This meeting showed us that we can meet on the common denominator of being human, beyond our differences.

Once again, we felt in our bones that the only way to fight the monster of hatred that has gripped our entire society is not more hatred, but conscience, compassion and empathy.

Meetings of Conscience heard the voices from different segments of society, tried to understand each other's experiences and created a common ground of understanding. This meeting was just the beginning. As Vicdan Foundation, we will continue to take firm steps towards building a more fair, understanding and inclusive society by continuing these meetings. Each of our meetings will make the voices of different colors of our society heard and help us understand and empathize with each other better. Meetings of Conscience will remain an important platform to strengthen social solidarity and build a better world.

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