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January 19, 2011

University ushers in ‘Season for Nonviolence’

Naomi Tutu will give keynote address for communitywide observance

Events at a Glance

A Season for Nonviolence Proclamation Celebration
Monday, Jan. 31, noon, Liberty Pole

City and county officials, joined by local faith leaders and Season for Nonviolence sponsors, will deliver proclamations officially recognizing the Season in the City of Rochester and Monroe County. A daily observance featuring musical performances, readings, and other activities will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. every weekday between Jan. 31 and Apri 1.

Art Exhibit: Americans Who Tell the Truth
Feb. 7 through Feb. 25, Central Library Link Gallery
Feb. 28 through March 8, Monroe Community College Damon City Campus Atrium

Americans Who Tell the Truth is a collection of portraits of Americans
by Brooksville, Maine artist Robert Shetterly. The exhibit is free to the public
and on display at each location during regular business hours. Shetterly, the
Gandhi Distinguished Lecturer, will discuss his motivation behind creating the
portrait series on Friday Feb. 25. One lecture will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the
Central Library Link Gallery. The second talk starts at 7 p.m. in the Pittsford
Barnes & Noble.

Kathy Kelly, Gandhi Distinguished Lecturer
Sunday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Interfaith Chapel, River Campus

Kelly will discuss her work as a peace activist with the organization Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Lecture and Workshops with Nonviolence Expert Arthur Romano
Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 20, times and locations TBA

Arthur Romano, a nonviolence trainer, teaching conflict resolution, nonviolent leadership, and peace education, will give a lecture that offers insights into the visions of both Gandhi and King, while discussing their work for peace. He also will host two workshops focused on youth justice and nonviolence.

Naomi Tutu, Keynote Speaker and Gandhi Distinguished Lecturer
Sunday, April 3, 4 p.m., Strong Auditorium, River Campus

Presenting the lecture, "Our Shared Humanity: Creating Understanding through the Principles of MLK," Naomi  Tutu draws upon her life experiences to discuss the importance of human rights, peace, and equality.

A full list of events can be found at

From the deadly shootings and alleged assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona earlier this month to the high violent crime rates in Rochester, violence impacts many communities across the country.

From Jan. 30 through April 4, a series of events will educate community members about how to apply nonviolent practices in everyday life and encourage individuals and organizations to identify new ways to solve some of Rochester’s most pressing problems.

Planned by the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University, along with a host of community partners, A Season for Nonviolence is the nationally celebrated 64-day period between the memorial anniversaries of the assassinations of Mohandas K. Gandhi on Jan. 30 and of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4. Launched in 1998 at the United Nations, the period is a time to reflect upon the nonviolent practices of Gandhi and King. This year, Rochester will be one of almost 400 communities to participate.

In addition to lectures, an art exhibit, and a special dinner, the institute is working with the City of Rochester and its surrounding schools to set up a daily presence at the Liberty Pole, with the goal of creating opportunities for learning, community, and fellowship. The center of recent controversy, the Liberty Pole has been a popular hangout for youth and others, says Kit Miller, director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute. She hopes that the daily observances of nonviolence at the site will contribute to a positive atmosphere there.

“We hope that youth are able to connect with what we are offering and begin to participate in the organizations that sponsor each day’s observance,” she says.

Throughout the “season,” the traveling art exhibit Americans Who Tell the Truth will be on display at the Central Library Link Gallery and Monroe Community College’s Damon City Campus. Created by artist Robert Shetterly, the exhibit is a collection of portraits of leaders and activists, who, according to the artists’ Web site, can “remind us of the dignity, courage and importance of some of America’s truth tellers” and create a dialogue about “which truths we value most as citizens in a democracy.”

On Feb. 27, peace activist and three-time Nobel Prize nominee Kathy Kelly will deliver a speech as a part of the M.K. Gandhi Institute’s Distinguished Lecture Series. She will discuss her work with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, an organization that seeks to end American involvement in war.

In an effort to engage youth in Rochester, the M.K. Gandhi Institute is sponsoring an essay contest centered on the exhibit as well. Open to high school students across Monroe County, the contest encourages students to visit the Americans Who Tell the Truth exhibit and reflect on the meaning of truth telling and nonviolence. Winners will receive cash awards and will be invited to the Interfaith Celebration Banquet on April 2. More details about the contest can be found by e-mailing

A Season for Nonviolence wraps up with two events featuring Nontombi Naomi Tutu. The daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Tutu has been an advocate for human rights, peace, and equality. During her two-day visit, Tutu will attend the interfaith banquet on Saturday, April 2, and will give a keynote lecture on Sunday, April 3. Tutu’s lecture will focus on the importance of community and the need to understand how our actions—or inactions—can affect those around us. She draws upon the teachings of Dr. King and her South African heritage to weave a message of shared humanity and the power of change.

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