The city of Chattanooga kicked off its first annual “Season for Nonviolence” at City Council Tuesday evening. In a special presentation, Education, Arts & Culture Administrator Missy Crutchfield recognized students across Hamilton County and across the state from Memphis who have participated in EAC’s “Season for Nonviolence” workshops and for their recent efforts to create a state-wide, student-led movement for “No More Violence! Nobody fights with their thumbs out, take it to the top!”
“A Season for Nonviolence” and the East Meets West partnership with Memphis follows on the heels of “Gandhi Visits Chattanooga” in September 2012 when Dr.
Arun Gandhi joined the city of Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts & Culture for a weeklong cultural and social issues tour, Ms. Crutchfield said.
Among the stops on his tour, Dr. Gandhi spoke to The Howard School, nationally recognized for their leadership in the lunch counter sit-ins during the American Civil Rights Movement.
This year as 50 Years of Civil Rights is marked, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi, Congressman Steve Cohen, National Civil Rights Museum, Building Bridges, and representatives from the City of Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts & Culture led this inaugural “Season for Nonviolence” East Meets West visit at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Ms. Crutchfield said.
The program included East Meets West video conversations between students from Chattanooga’s Talented Tenth Leadership Program at The Howard School and Memphis students from the Building Bridges justice leadership program discussing “A Season for Nonviolence.”
Inspired by Gandhi and Dr. King’s messages of nonviolence, the Chattanooga and Memphis leadership students created and agreed on a brand new hand sign for “No More Violence! Nobody fights with their thumbs out, take it to the top!” This is the beginning of their student-led movement for positive peer pressure, she said.
The two cities join the ranks of nearly 250 cities across the nation in annually commemorating the season between Jan. 30 (the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination) and April 4 (the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’ assassination), it was stated.
During the “Season for Nonviolence” Kick-off at City Council, proclamations of support for “Season for Nonviolence” were presented by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN Dist. 3), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN Dist. 9-Shelby County and Memphis) also sent a proclamation recognizing the statewide partnership with Chattanooga, and Chattanooga Police Department Chaplain Dr. Steve Ball representing the faith-based community.
Ms. Crutchfield said, “With Chattanooga’s kick-off for ‘A Season for Nonviolence’ we are proud to take this movement statewide—East Meets West. Locally, we’ll be sharing an activism model called ‘The Truth Project’ and these things we’ll be working on in Chattanooga we’ll be sharing in Memphis and receiving information and ideas back from them. We’re building toward student East Meets West visits celebrating activism, leadership, and youth empowerment. And this positive sign they have agreed upon for ‘No More Violence! Nobody fights with their thumbs out, take it to the top!’ is just the beginning of exciting things that will move across the state.”
Message to the City of Chattanooga from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson,
Dr. Arun Gandhi: On the inaugural Season for Nonviolence in Chattanooga I would like to commend Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and City Council, as they lead off with the beginning of an East Meets West across the state from Chattanooga to Memphis, with Congressman Steve Cohen and Congressman Chuck Fleishmann recognizing their own proclamations and making this the first official statewide commitment to the “Season for Nonviolence” (January 30-April 4, 2013) joining over 250 cities across the nation.
I wish the City and all of you Godspeed in building peace in the world. Recent events in the US and other parts of the world make it urgent that we work hard to stop the rape of Mother Earth and destruction of its inhabitants. Violence tends to dehumanize people and though we may claim to be casting a civilization in actual fact we are doing just the opposite. A nation where there is no love, respect, understanding and appreciation of fellow human beings; where hatred, exploitation and discrimination reign can hardly claim to be civilized. It is time that “We the People” reclaim the present to build a better future for succeeding generations. The work is urgent and I know the people of Chattanooga and Memphis, and all other cities where the Season for Nonviolence has taken root, will rise to the occasion and turn the world around so that peace, love, and harmony can prevail. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
the full schedule for “Season for Nonviolence” events
WATCH the YouTube video “Season for Nonviolence: East Meets West” shown at City Council.
SUBMIT your event for the city-wide “Season for Nonviolence” calendar of events.