Tennessee has given statewide recognition of the “Season for Nonviolence” program, Missy Crutchfield, administrator of the city's Education, Arts and Culture department, said.
She stated, "This year the nation reflects on 150 Years of the Emancipation Proclamation, 50 Years of Civil Rights, and now a new movement for peace and nonviolence gains traction as Tennessee steps up embracing Gandhi’s “Season for Nonviolence.”
"Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Dr. Arun Gandhi established “A Season for Nonviolence” as a yearly event celebrating the philosophies and lives of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And now in its 15th Year, with over 250 cities across the nation commemorating the “Season”—Tennessee leads the country in a first-ever, statewide recognition.
"The “Season” begins with the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30 and ends with the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination on April 4. Bookended between these dates are Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.
"The state of Tennessee set a pivotal stage for the American Civil Rights Movement—from being the home state of Alex Haley, acclaimed author of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and “Roots,” to the Sanitation Workers March in Memphis and the last moments of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life before he was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel (now the location of the National Civil Rights Museum). Upon moving to the United States, Dr. Arun Gandhi chose to live in Memphis, Tennessee—where he built a Gandhi Center for Nonviolence."
She said establishing statewide recognition of “A Season for Nonviolence” gained ground under the Education, Arts & Culture department. Ms. Crutchfield, who was recently elected to the board for Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, has been working with the board to continue expansion of “Season for Nonviolence” education and outreach across the United States.
Ms. Crutchfield worked with Dr. Arun Gandhi to organize “Gandhi Visits Chattanooga” 2012—a five-day social justice tour. The week featured speaking engagements at places ranging from project housing neighborhoods where gang violence has recently taken the lives of several youth to a visit to The Howard School, nationally-acclaimed for students who led the only high school sit-ins in the country during the Civil Rights Movement. During his visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Mayor’s Office and City Council presented Dr. Arun Gandhi with a proclamation, officially declaring Chattanooga a “Season for Nonviolence” city.
Ms. Crutchfield said, “Achieving this statewide recognition of ‘Season for Nonviolence,’ is a dream come true. In September 2012, we hosted Dr. Arun Gandhi for what we call Chattanooga’s answer to the annual ‘Gandhi Legacy Tour’ following in his grandfather’s footsteps across India. We didn’t stop with Chattanooga though, when ‘Season for Nonviolence’ 2013 began in January we reached out across the state to connect our students with over 15,000 youth in the Building Bridges organization in Memphis—an ‘East Meets West’ partnership for learning.”
"Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Congressman Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.) offered bipartisan support of the “East Meets West” Season for Nonviolence partnership."
Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and President of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute said, “On the inaugural Season for Nonviolence in Chattanooga, I would like to commend Chattanooga’s Mayor and City Council, with the launch of ‘East Meets West’ across the state from Chattanooga to Memphis, with Congressman Steve Cohen recognizing Memphis’ own proclamation and making this the first official statewide commitment to the ‘Season for Nonviolence.”
As this inaugural “Season for Nonviolence” concludes for 2013, organizers say this partnership "is ready to be shared with other cities and states across the nation. The crowning moment of this Tennessee movement for “A Season for Nonviolence” came when Senator Lamar Alexander wrote a letter of support recognizing the efforts."
“I want to commend the citizens of the City of Chattanooga for their participation in the Season for Nonviolence,” wrote Senator Alexander. “The willingness of good people to get involved in their local communities is very important. My good friend, Alex Haley, lived his life by these six words: ‘Find the Good and Praise It.’ Your efforts are praiseworthy indeed. I applaud your efforts in building awareness across Tennessee as you have done in Chattanooga and Memphis. I wish you the very best as you work towards your commitment to reducing violence in our communities.”
Senator Alexander’s letter will be shared during Chattanooga’s Emancipation Proclamation 150th event to be held on Saturday, April 13, at 4 p.m. at the Community Theatre inside Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium at 399 McCallie Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
Learn more on Chattanooga Education, Arts & Culture’s webpage at www.chattanooga.gov/Education-Arts-and-Culture.