So much to include – we left off with Doc Lafayette – aaaaaaah Doc – so charismatic and encouraging (he said, “it feels like a MOVEMENT here in Rhode Island, a movement for nonviolence and active participation of all ages”).

Our spoken word artist/facilitators Christopher Johnson, Hannah Resseger (bmor7) and Kalyana Champlain (5th Elament) were featured for this June 11th (along with star poet Rudy Cabrera) and all contributed their own voices, energy, examples, and powerful pieces within their nonviolence repertoire.

Christopher engaged the audience with his call and response work – his very personal take on what it means to live a life committed to helping others and understanding how to negotiate through the difficulties of contemporary society.

Hannah Resseger (b mor 7) has been an artist, emcee, and community activist for the past 17 years.  Her most recent work has focused specifically on bullying, hate crimes and civil rights.  She presented her powerful work this evening, with a specific focus on the principles of nonviolence.

Kalyana Champlain (5th Elament), who spent time down at the Compass School in Kingston working with students in an after school club on nonviolence (girl power!) performed her unique brand of moving spoken word poetry, including a collaborative effort with one of her fellow nonviolence students (from URI’s Summer Peace Institute).

Members of the audience (including book artist Mary Geisser) added their own contributions to the collective spirit of nonviolence.  The spirit was and is the point of this effort – to grow a larger community of folks interested in raising awareness of the nonviolence principles, and actively engage this community in making change for social justice.

We truly hope and expect to continue these efforts in the near future.  AS220’s Criss Cross Orchestra definitely added to the festive atmosphere – aaaah music, and a series of panels created by students at Tollgate High School in Warwick represented the interpretation of the Story of Mum Bett as told by storyteller, and program facilitator, Valerie Tutson.

PASSAGES OF PEACE – awesome success!

June 11, 2011 – Saturday evening at AS220, a venue all of us in Rhode Island are proud of  – what an amazing testimony to the power of the concept of NONVIOLENCE!  We had a totally packed, all-ages, standing room only, house for this captivating showcase for RAISE YOUR VOICE: Examining Culture, Clash, Community and Change.

AS220’s CrissCross Orchestra opened the evening playing music resonating with peace and the power of music to bring folks together and get them up and dancing.

Risa Gilpin and Dorothy Bocian introduced the audience to the idea behind the project – “expressing not only the notion of building the beloved community based on justice, but also, the need to develop our knowledge base to include the six principles of nonviolence; principles that revel in empathy, sympathy, compassion and connection, principles that have been put to the test, and are based on the study of the humanities, where we learn that there are no limits to human thought and action when we strive towards justice.  That we can contribute our own stories to the world and connect by so doing, to that interactive community of peers.”

Rudy Cabrera, one of the 4 spectacular spoken word artists involved in the RAISE YOUR VOICE project, opened with 3 original powerful pieces.  Obuamah Laud Addy played drums behind Rudy’s last piece – we could have listened all night!

Paul Bueno de Mesquita, Director of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies introduced Special Guest Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and an authority on the strategy on nonviolent social change.

Dr. and Mrs. Lafayette

He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He was a leader of the Nashville Movement, 1960 and on the Freedom Rides, 1961 (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) and the 1965 Selma Movement. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples’ Campaign by Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, Dr. LaFayette has served as Director of Peace and Justice in Latin America; Chairperson of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Director of the PUSH Excel Institute; Minister of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tuskegee, Alabama; Founding director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, and much additional relevant work on behalf of nonviolence.

To be continued….

Join us on JUNE 11th! AS220…

Join us for this community event – free and open to all!  June 11, 2011, AS220, 115 Empire Street, from 5:30-8 pm – an opportunity for folks to come together in an intimate setting to creatively and collectively raise their voices to advocate for human rights, civil rights, social change, community activism and the need for nonviolence awareness and education.

Come listen to special guest, Dr. “Doc” Bernard Lafayette, Jr., who has been a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and is an authority on the strategy on nonviolent social change.  He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960.  He was a leader of the Nashville Movement, 1960, and on the Freedom Rides, 50 years ago in 1961!  He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples’ Campaign by Martin Luther King, Jr.  In addition, Dr. LaFayette has served as Director of Peace and Justice in Latin America; Chairperson of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Director of the PUSH Excel Institute; Founding Director of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies – one could go on and on…

Hear Spoken word artists Rudy Cabrera (aka Rudacious) and Kalyana Champlain (aka 5th Elamant), facilitators in the Raise Your Voice project, performing, and listen to AS220’s CrissCross Orchestra music,  welcoming all takers into AS220’s downtown space.   There will be an open invitation to the public to read or perform original or historic passages, poems or prose based on nonviolence and/or peaceful reconciliation (with a 3 minute limit each).   Come on down, and bring a friend – join us in forming this lively community working together for nonviolence!

FreedomMembers of AS220 CrissCross Orchestra

Community Working Together for Nonviolence – April 30, 2011

Please JOIN US! – and pass the info along to your friends and colleagues!

Bringing the Six Principles of Nonviolence as coalesced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into classrooms in Rhode Island, RAISE YOUR VOICE: Examining Culture, Clash, Community and Change has been training classroom teachers and facilitators in these six principles, working with students to explore and creatively interpret the philosophy, history, and culture of  nonviolence.  

Meant to engage the community and begin to form a network of practitioners of nonviolence; and to celebrate the hope and positive direction that comes with understanding the nonviolence principles, the afternoon activities will be interactive, educational and inspiring to all ages.  There will be light refreshments, exhibits of student work, and a chance for individuals living within our community to work together to raise their voices in support of a nonviolent, peaceful community.

The schedule will take place as follows:

1-1:15         Welcome

1:15-2:15    Spoken word artist Rudy Cabrera; Introduction to RAISE YOUR VOICE; student readings; nonviolence training; performances by Kalyana Champlain and guest artist, Chachi Carvalho.

2:30-4         Town Hall Meeting, moderated by Paul Bueno de Mesquita and Keith Morton – for practitioners of nonviolence (individuals and organizations touching on the principles of nonviolence in their own lives and work)

We look forward to meeting new colleagues, welcoming old friends, and working together to ensure we raise our voices in the cause of nonviolence.

Here’s to collaboration!

Dorothy Bocian and Risa Gilpin, Cultural Connections

Andrew Sloan, artist visits Jackie Nelson’s technology class at Esek Hopkins Middle School, Providence, RI

March 25, 2011

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Andrew Sloan and student

Artist Andrew Sloan is working with Jackie Nelson’s technology class to create comic book style artwork, addressing the issue of cyber-bullying.  Students are exploring the Six Principles and using computer technology and self-expression to understand these principles.

Jackie Nelson looks at cyber-bullying titles

One of the first projects students worked on was to find images and words about Dr. King and bring them together on a printed page.

Kalyana Champlain aka 5th Elamant at Compass School

March 18, 2011

War is unthinkable in a society of autonomous people who have discovered the connectedness of all humanity, who are unafraid of alien ideas and alien cultures, who know that all revolutions begin within and that you cannot impose your brand of enlightenment on anyone else. Marilyn Ferguson

Kaly Champlain came to Compass School in Kingston, RI today to talk to Mark Robidoux’s afterschool Nonviolence/Peace Club (5th-8th graders).  She let the students know how writing helps us open doors and sets us free; how when we’re feeling pain (and all humans know their share of suffering) the pen is our best friend when dealing with that pain; and how self reflection gives us a daily check-in (“was I a good friend/person today?”).  There is responsibility implied with writing, so this club seems a good setting to do the research and then reflect from the soul.  Kaly explained the idea of keeping a writing “toolbox” – jotting down notes that will help put together coherent thoughts when creating poems about community and nonviolence.

It belongs to the very substance of nonviolence never to destroy or damage another person’s feeling of self worth, even an opponent’s. We all need, constantly, an advance of trust and affirmation.

Bernard Haring

Valerie Tutson at Tollgate High School

March 18, 2011

Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned –

That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation –

Until the colour of a man’s skin is of less significance than the colour of his eyes –

That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race –

That until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained

But we know we shall win as we are confident in the victory of good over evil, of good over evil… Bob Marley

Valerie Tutson at Tollgate

Storyteller Valerie Tutson graced Tollgate High School in Warwick with stories of black history (Mum Bet) and greeting in the cause of nonviolence – I see you with my eyes, I see you with my heart, and I respect you.

Students at Tollgate are using photography, color imagining, and book making to collect their expressions on the Six Principles.  These will all be presented at a culminating forum, taking place at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, from 1-4 pm on April 30th – more to come!

Rudy Cabrera and Kalyana Champlain, aka 5th Elament at Tollgate High School, Warwick, RI

Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe

March 11 – Spoken word artists Rudy Cabrera and Kalyana Champlain facilitated today’s session with Art teacher Patricia Huntington’s class at Tollgate High School today.  These “dynamic interactions” (and trust us, they were DYNAMIC!) have the bottom line objective of inspiring students to work on their own creative writing (poetry, prose, song) in response to these artists presentations and to the Six Principles of Nonviolence.

Rudy opened and, per usual, captured the immediate attention of all students present.  His powerful performance and significant words really motivated students to contribute their own voices in making positive change in their own community.

Kalyana followed with her own stunning contributions – bringing the concept of “nonviolence” into every day life and encouraging students to synthesize learning through the use of rich language, rhythm, visual imagery and creative renderings of words and ideas.  Both artists were surrounded by students as the period came to an end – every fiber seemed elevated – inspiration all around…

Dorothy and Pat Huntington

Mary Geisser visits the Compass School, Kingston, RI

The starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible.  Civilization begins in the imagination.  The wild dream is the first step to reality.  It is the direction-finder by which people locate higher goals and discern their highest selves. Norman Cousins

March 4, 2011

Book artist Mary Geisser came to Mark Robidoux’s after school club, based on the Six Principles of Nonviolence.  Mary brought a wonderful supply of paper and showed the students how to make accordion books with cardboard covers.  Students will use the books to put in their poems, words, essays and responses to the Principles of Nonviolence.

Dorothy and Risa were delighted to hear the enthusiastic responses of these engaged students (5th-8th graders), all interested in making a difference in the world.  The Compass School, is a charter school with a social and environmental responsibility mission.

Risa and Mark

Teacher Mark Robidoux participated in URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies Summer Institute on the Teachings of Gandhi and King.  He is delighted to share the lessons of the Six Principles with his students.

Dorothy and Mark

Mary Geisser has focused her educational work in the realm of the arts  – she organized Pages of Possibility, an exhibition of children’s original books and artwork at AS220, 2010; India Point Park Mural Project; RI School for the Deaf art program; Wheels of Wonder Bus (RISD and Providence Public Library) – workshops throughout RI; and the Circle of Clay project at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Mary Geisser and an example of an "artist's book"

Rudy Cabrera Recruits Students at the Compass School, Kingston, RI

Nonviolence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Nonviolence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win. Cesar Chavez

February 15, 2011

Mark Robidoux’s students were in for a treat today!  Spoken word artist Rudy Cabrera (aka Rudacious) performed his and other poets work at The Compass School in Kingston, RI.  Rudy visited Compass, in order to recruit students for Mr. Robidoux’s RAISE YOUR VOICE after-school club.  7th and 8th grade classes convened listened to 4 poems performed.  One original work, “Baggy Jeans”, spoke of the symbol of wearing big pants in order to remember to fill them and make more of himself.

Nonviolence education goals for this club will be that:

1.  Students will understand that internal or external violence is not a way to solve a problem.

2.  Students will understand that by doing nothing in a violent situation (apathy and negative peace) they hurt themselves and others.

3.  Students will understand that they need to stand up for justice by using nonviolent action in order to create the Peaceful Community.

4.  Students will be able to process a conflict, and identify real issues.

5.  Students will be able to address the issues of the present, not the past, during a conflict

6.  Students will learn how to solve conflicts involving peers and school staff, using the Six Skills.

7.  Students will understand and follow the Principles of the Peaceful Community (Dr. King’s Six Principles) in all aspects of school life.

Students were, once again, riveted to Rudy’s performance.  The club  will begin this week, and 16 students have currently signed up.  Students will explore humanities aspects of the Six Principles and then write poetry and performance pieces and use illustration and exhibition to demonstrate creatively their learned knowledge of conflict levels and types and of reconciliation strategies.

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