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Posts Tagged ‘institute for the study and practice of nonviolence’

Jan Flanagan at the Providence Journal has put together a great list of things to do on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, next Monday. I’ll highlight a few to help you plan ahead, but rather than lift the whole calendar, I hope you will go to the ProJo website, here.

The Providence Public Library will feature an exhibit with photos showing the famous Selma to Montgomery March, about which a movie was made in 2014.

In case you are near Newport on the 18th, Chevette Jefferies will speak at the Thompson Middle School at 9:30 a.m.; James Gillis will keynote a lunch at the Mainstay Inn; and St. Joseph’s Church will hold a special worship service at 5 p.m.

You could also consider participating in a Day of Service at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in Providence, a collaboration with RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) “to help children reach their full potential by engaging them in arts, crafts, special activities and conservation.” And here’s something that sounds like fun: a celebration of black storytelling, ribsfest.org.

The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence will hold a candlelight vigil in honor of Sister Ann Keefe,  a longtime supporter of the Providence nonprofit, which follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, will hold a memorial service and reception 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Woonsocket.

Finally, the Providence Children’s Museum will feature living history portrayals of civil-rights activists Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks and others by local actors.

Get all the details about these and other January 18 events here.

Photo: AP
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 5, 1966.

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The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence is an outstanding Providence nonprofit that takes a holistic approach to ending violence in poor communities.

On Thursday, I went to an open house and barbecue organized by the students in the Institute’s work program, and was mightily impressed. I shook hands with Mayor Jorge Elorza and chatted at some length with Chief of Police Hugh Clements and the Institute’s executive director, Teny Gross. Not to mention the retired priest who was a founding member, the youth themselves, and the dedicated staff. I heard some pretty inspiring stories!

The young organizers provided a tour of their headquarters, a lovely converted convent on Oxford St.

It was a great event. But here is something sad. In the five years since I visited the Institute’s old quarters, the vagaries of funding sources have forced cutbacks. They no longer have 17 streetworkers turning youth from violence toward work and better lives. They can afford only four. It seems a shame when the need is still significant.

The Institute is advertising for a development director, and they sure need a way to get more support. A big endowment to protect the work from shifts in the winds would be ideal. Read more here.

By the way, Teny Gross has been called to teach nonviolence techniques around the nation and world. He has received many acknowledgments for his success. An unusual honor this month gave him one of his proudest moments. It relates to a George Washington letter about religious tolerance.

“225 years ago, George Washington wrote a letter ‘To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport,’ which is now known as the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. To mark the historic importance of the letter, the congregation and the Touro Synagogue Foundation conduct an annual ‘Letter Reading,’ around the time that the letter was sent. The setting is the beautifully restored Touro Synagogue, built in 1763.

“The letter was only four paragraphs long, but they were four powerful and significant paragraphs and they are regarded as critical in the history of the Jewish people in the Colonial United States.  The letter reading evolved into today’s two hour event filled with greetings from dignitaries, announcements of scholarships and an award to Teny Gross, leader in the Institute for the Study of the Practice of Nonviolence.”

Goes to show that teaching nonviolence can spread out in many unexpected ripples.

Read the details here.

Photo: Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence

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