University of Rochester

EVENT: Two Events Open A Season for Nonviolence

January 25, 2013

2013 Season to Feature Conversations on Ending Violence, Creating Peace in Rochester, and Youth Nonviolence Leadership Training

From January to April, community members from the Greater Rochester area will learn about and explore the nonviolent practices taught by Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during Rochester's annual celebration of A Season for Nonviolence. Two events on Wednesday, Jan. 30 will formally recognize the start of Rochester's celebration.

The Season's opening ceremony, held from 4 to 4:30 p.m. at the Liberty Pole, includes a proclamation delivered by City of Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards. The mayor also will invite citizens to voice their suggestions during the final of a series of community forums titled "Voice of the Citizen—Seeking Solutions to Violence," in which citizens are playing an active role in developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce violence. The final meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Cobbs Hill Park, Lake Riley Lodge, 100 Norris Drive. The Season's opening ceremony also features a performance of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" by Eastman School of Music student John Christopher Urquiaga '14, among other activities.

The second event, Community Conversation: Creating a Culture of Peace: Rochester in Twenty Years, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Interfaith Chapel at the University of Rochester. Featuring a panel of students, civic leaders, and community members, the conversation will focus on how Rochester can continue to move toward a culture of peace. From 6:30 to 7 p.m., participants can enjoy a concert compliments of the University's Hopeman Memorial Carillon.

Planned by the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester, 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. Initiated in 1998 at the United Nations, the Season is a time to reflect on the nonviolent practices of these leaders. This year, Rochester will be one of almost 900 communities to participate.

"Both Gandhi and King knew with certainty that they would be killed for continuing their work," said Kit Miller, director of the Gandhi Institute. "The Season offers us tangible opportunities to honor them not just with one day but with 64."

Continuing the efforts of the 2012 Youth Activist Movement, this year, 75 youth from the city of Rochester and its outlying suburbs will log 35 hours of professional training in nonviolence, conflict transformation, anger management, violence de-escalation, restorative justice, leadership development, and more. Over the course of the Season, they will meet for over 40 hours to participate in activities that include training sessions with the Positive Peace Warriors Network from Oakland, Calif., and work with community agencies including the Center for Dispute Settlement and Pathways to Peace. On Wednesday, April 4, their efforts will culminate with a graduation ceremony at City Hall, sponsored by City Councilwoman Elaine Spaull.

A Season for Nonviolence this year continues its partnership with the Ad Council of Rochester, which will commence a second communitywide campaign throughout the Rochester community. Created by Jay Advertising, the campaign includes more than $233,000 in print, television, radio and online advertisements, billboards and wearable materials like t-shirts and gloves. Support from Foxwise Communications will provide a robust and creative social media outreach campaign focused on youth in the community.

A Season for Nonviolence Events at a Glance:

A Season for Nonviolence Opening Ceremony
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 4 to 4:30 p.m., Liberty Pole (230 E. Main Street)
A Season for Nonviolence kicks off with a celebration including proclamations delivered by City and County officials. The event also features a brief invocation by Winterbourne Jones, a pastor at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, and opportunities for community members to take a pledge of nonviolence.

Community Conversation: Creating a Culture of Peace: Rochester in Twenty Years
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 7 to 9 p.m., Interfaith Chapel, University of Rochester
Four college and high school students will lead a roundtable discussion with community leaders, including Police Chief James Sheppard and artist Shawn Dunwoody, to explore what the community needs to create a culture of peace in Rochester. A live stream of the discussion will be available.

Robert Holmes Speaks at Rochester Friends Meeting House
Thursday, Jan. 31, 7-9 p.m., Rochester Friends Meeting House (84 Scio Street)
Dr. Holmes is a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Rochester, and an expert on issues of peace and nonviolence. Holmes specializes in ethics and social and political philosophy and has authored several major publications on nonviolence.

Community Conversation: Beyond Platitudes: Sacred Speech in Everyday Life
Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 to 9 p.m., First Unitarian Church of Rochester (220 Winton Road S)
Mark Hare, former Democrat and Chronicle columnist, will moderate a conversation that looks at how we can live out the teachings of our faiths through daily speech and communication patterns. The conversation includes panelists Episcopal Bishop Prince Singh, Reverend Lawrence Hargrave, and Naomi Ahsan of the Center for Community Change.

Youth Activist Graduation
Wednesday, April 4, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., City Hall (30 Church Street)
Students involved in the Youth Activist Movement will be formally recognized for their hard work over the past 64 days during a ceremony at City Hall. Open to media.

A full list of events can be found at

A Season for Nonviolence is sponsored by the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester. University partners include the Interfaith Chapel, Frederick Douglas Leadership House, and the Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth (SAVVY). Community sponsors include the Ad Council of Rochester, Jay Advertising, Crazy Dog T-shirts, Grant Taylor Photography, Icon Creative, Inc., Restorative Rochester, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Teen Empowerment, Rochester Institute of Technology, Spiritus Christi, Rochester Friends Meeting, Center for Dispute Settlement, Partners in Restorative Initiatives, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, Feminists Choosing Life of NY, Greater Rochester Community of Churches, Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, Rochester Public Library "Safe to be Smart" program, Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, Black Student Caucus of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Education for Peace, Mental Health Association, Rochester Area Mennonite Fellowship, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, private individuals, and more being added every day.