Global Leaders Institute Shines at “A Season for Nonviolence Conference”

Story Reported By: George Anthony, Head of Global Leaders Institute

On Thursday, April 4th, The Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute in partnership with UN NGO Pathways To Peace were invited to speak at the 22nd Annual Gandhi-King “A Season for Nonviolence Conference” honoring Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commences on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30th and April 4th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The purpose of the campaign is to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by legendary leaders Mahatma K. Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mater Dei Prep students Perry Merse ‘19, Rose Petry ‘21, Rakim Cooper ‘21, Khalil Elamin ‘21, Sarah Wickham ‘21, Callan Laux ‘19, Khurram Simpson ‘20, Fiona Fitzgerald ‘21, Ashley Leach ‘19, and Chika Efobi ’21 were invited to present their United Nations Creators for Change award winning video “A House Divided” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs4OrPe32Ok). The video created by the Global Leaders Institute depicts the effects of hate rhetoric that is dividing this nation and the power of healing when we turn our hearts and actions towards peace builders who embrace non-violent action.

Callan Laux ‘19, Sarah Wickham ‘21 and Khurram Simpson ‘20 opened the conference by honoring the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Mater Dei Prep students also presented Angeline Butler a SNV leadership plaque bearing the Mater Dei Prep emblem.

The keynote speaker was civil rights icon Angeline Butler. Angeline Butler became active in the civil rights movement in 1961. She was one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked with Dr. King until his murder in 1968. During the civil rights era, Angeline Butler (now a John Jay College professor of criminal justice) participated in sit-ins and demonstrations staged by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, including “freedom rides” that traveled throughout the south. She was later joined by Ibrahim Sharif, former Executive Director of The Martin Luther King Commission in New Jersey; Lindy P. Crescitelli, SNV Organizer and Shawn Landry of The New York Liberty Center.

Rakim Cooper ‘21 followed the keynote by talking about the hate crimes in New Zealand, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina and the burden it weighs on this nation. Khalil Elamin ‘21 discussed the tools and the message passed down from Dr. King and how we can apply them in our lives and actions each day. Sarah Wickham ‘21 paid homage to Malala and spoke of her courage. Fiona Fitzgerald ‘21 spoke passionately about not making this conference a stand-alone day. Ashley Leach ‘19 spoke about responsibility as young people in finding solutions and Chika Efobi ‘21 closed by discussing the possibilities and hope young people bring into their schools and communities.

George Anthony, Head of the Global Leaders Institute, spoke about the importance in addressing hate with the power of healing. Programs like the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute play an important role in building future leaders by providing them with real life leadership tools to build better and safer communities where all can benefit.

For more information on how the Global Leaders Institute at Mater Dei Prep can benefit your school or community contact us at www.materdeiprep.org.
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