The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund and Urbana University, in partnership with the City of Urbana (recently designated the 140th International City of Peace) and the entire Champaign County area, continue to celebrate the fourth year participating in the “Season for Nonviolence.”
The “Season for Nonviolence,” held Jan. 30 – April 4, is a 64-day educational, media and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower lives and communities. The Season for Nonviolence was first organized in 1997 to commemorate the 50-year and 30-year memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than two decades later, the national celebration 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 day at a time.
Our 2018 celebration began with the “Great Kindness Challenge” held Jan. 22-26. The Great Kindness Challenge encourages children and students of all ages to perform random acts of kindness throughout the week as a way to lift each other up. The “Bully Prevention” program focuses on ways to create a culture of kindness and peace within the schools, within our communities and around the world.
This year more than 4,500 students from Mechanicsburg School District, West Liberty-Salem School District, Graham and the Urbana City Schools participated by performing acts of kindness. The West Liberty-Salem High School Key Club celebrated Kindness Month by dedicating an entire month (Feb. 5 – March 5) to performing acts of kindness within the school, at home with their families and within their community. Champaign County students joined with over 10.5 million students from nearly 20,000 schools to perform over 500 million “Acts of Kindness” in the global event which was carried out in over 100 countries.
Locally, the Urbana City of Peace community was encouraged to join in on the challenge to support youth in their efforts to be kind. The “Family Version” of the “Great Kindness Challenge” was added this year to provide an at-home and at-work opportunity to help create a culture of peace within our community. Thank you to all who participated for your acts of kindness.
In addition to the Great Kindness Challenge, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund is sponsoring another free 6-week Non-Violent Communication Workshop (NVC) Monday evenings from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Moore Conference Room of the Student Center at Urbana University. The workshop is open to all community members and free of charge. Please join us!
About Non-Violent Communication
Non-Violent Communication (NVC) was developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and mediator, and has been spreading around the world for over 50 years. There are now over 540 certified trainers in 65 countries, probably just as many non-certified trainers and thousands of practitioners. It transforms relationships at home, at work, in the community, and with oneself. Diane Diller, a NVC trainer certified by the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication, leads the workshop.
This “Season for Nonviolence” will wrap up with a Cooperative Service Volunteer Program that links Urbana University students with the community. Fifteen service volunteer opportunities are currently available for 100 students and community members.
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., may we all remember, celebrate and act!
About the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund: The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund, hosted at Urbana University, is dedicated to providing programs and sponsor events that encourage kindness and compassionate communication to connect us with one another as human beings first and foremost. The fund is named after Alicia Titus who was a flight attendant on the UAL 175 flight that was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The “Peace Fund” was developed by Alicia’s parents, John and Bev, and family friend, Betsy Coffman in 2002.