A season for peace and nonviolence

January 26, 2011|By SANDY BOYER

It began 12 years ago as a grass-roots movement. Events were created to help educate the public in nonviolent ways of communicating and connecting.  

Most of the public had never heard of the practice of nonviolence, but as soon as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. were mentioned as examples, it became clear what nonviolence meant — a way of being in the world and taking a stand that does no harm to anyone, a philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action.  

Today, A Season for Peace and Nonviolence, Jan. 30 through April 4, is celebrated in more than 400 cities, in 18 countries, receiving backing and endorsement from prominent world leaders such the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan; the U.S. Ambassador to India; former Vice President Al Gore; the director general of UNESCO on behalf of its Culture of Peace and Nonviolence appeal by the Nobel Peace Laureates (language officially added as a result of the SNV inaugural year).

Other notable Season speakers have included Jesse Jackson, Dr. C.T. Vivian and Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne of Sri Lanka. The Season has received written support of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet; the late Coretta Scott King; and Dr. Robert Muller.  

Inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Gandhi and King, this international event honors their vision for an empowered, nonviolent world and demonstrates that nonviolence is a powerful way of healing and empowering communities.

As part of this season, the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County has planned several events throughout the 64-day period.  

The first event will be held on Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. The Rev. Toni Fish will be speaking on the life of Gandhi and his nonviolent practices.  

As Gandhi said, “The basic principle on which the practice of nonviolence rests is that what holds good in respect of oneself equally applies to the whole universe. All mankind in essence are alike. What is therefore possible for me, is possible for everybody.”  

The talk will be followed by discussion and light refreshments. It will be held at the Hagers-town Church of the Brethren.  

The next event will be on women’s rights and Islam, March 9, at 7 p.m,, to be held at the same location.

Sandy Boyer is a minister at Unity of Hagerstown and a member of the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County.

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