The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund is proud to announce its sixth annual Season for Nonviolence initiative. Joined by Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, and the City of Urbana, the 140th International “City of Peace,” this year’s Season for Nonviolence is being held through April 4. The national 64-day educational, media and grassroots campaign is dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities.
The Season for Nonviolence was organized in 1997 to commemorate the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With a growing foundation of support, the Season for Nonviolence has become an important educational and media opportunity to bring communities together, empowering them to envision and help create a nonviolent world, one heart and one program at a time.
This year’s Season for Nonviolence began with the Great Kindness Challenge (GKC) Jan. 27-31. The GKC bullying prevention initiative aims to improve school climate and increases student engagement for Pre- K–12 students, and creates a culture of kindness.
Through the Challenge students are encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as they can throughout the week and into the rest of this new year. This year we have more than 5,600 students, faculty and staff from the Urbana City Elementary School, Graham Local School District, West Liberty Salem School District, and the Mechanicsburg School District, as well as the Champaign County Library taking part in this global event. Understanding the potential of this initiative, some schools are choosing to extend their week of kindness to a month, and many have even committed to practicing and promoting kindness throughout their entire school year. Last year our students joined with more than 13 million students in nearly 24,000 schools representing over 110 countries to carry out more than 650 million “Acts of Kindness” in just one week!
To help carry the spirit of this Challenge, everyone in the Urbana City of Peace community is invited to join in the challenge and support our youth in their efforts to be kind. A “family-friendly version” of the “Great Kindness Challenge” was created and used by more than 1,600 community members last year to provide ideas for random acts of kindness that can be practiced at home, at work and throughout our extended community. Visit the “Kids for Peace” (Great Kindness Challenge) website to download the Family Edition checklist at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/familychecklist/.
Events of the season
To further the ideals of the Challenge, and the Season for Nonviolence, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund will offer another free six-week “Nonviolent Communication” class series for community members, high school students and Urbana University students. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is an approach to living that has roots in Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. The concept refers not only to physical violence, but also to any other way we “attack” others or ourselves, such as through judgment, criticism, and blaming.
Many of us long to hold others and ourselves with consideration and respect, but we sometimes find it hard to live out these values in daily life. NVC gives us practical tools for embodying these values in any situation.
Diane Diller, an NVC trainer certified by the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication, will share how this practice helps us to communicate in a more loving and respectful way.
The community is invited to attend these workshops Mondays, March 16-April 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Moore Conference Room, located in the Urbana University Student Center.
To register, contact Diane Diller at 937-824-0421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund continues celebrating the Season for Nonviolence with our “Cooperative Service Volunteer” Program (April 1-30) which links Urbana University Students with service volunteer opportunities within our Urbana City & Champaign County communities. Volunteering our service to others is a gift of love, brings about deeper relations and strengthens our community. If you have a service volunteer opportunity for our UU Students please contact Bev Titus @ email@example.com.
To wrap up the 2020 Season for Nonviolence at Urbana University, guest speaker Paul Chappell, West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and Peace Literacy director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will return to Urbana University April 2-4 for a three-day Peace Literacy Program.. The program will focus on “Peace Literacy from the Classroom to the Courthouse” and is open to all community members, educators and first responders. Please contact Bev Titus at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Contact Stephani Islam to RSVP at 937-772-9292.
John and Bev Titus are founders of The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund.