64 days of peace and nonviolence
By Kathryn Reed
Peace and nonviolence are two of the ideals Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. embraced, lived, preached and went to the grave fighting for.
Both died from assassins’ gunshots. Their respective deaths signify the beginning (Jan. 30) and ending (April 4) of the Season for Peace and Nonviolence.
This marks the 11th year of the international celebration started by the Association of Global New Thought (www.agnt.org) and the sixth that the South Shore has come together to spread the word of two of the 20th century’s most revered voices for peace.
It’s not about being against anything – not even war – it’s about being for peace, according Hillary Bittman, who is helping co-chairs Stew Bittman and Karen Martin with this year’s events.
“My personal goal is that we wouldn’t need a season, that we would be living this way,” Martin said. “It causes us to rethink how we interact with everyone and ourselves. We can talk and listen in a nonviolent way.”
Festivities are starting a few days early this year thanks to James Crawford. In the four years that the 66-year-old has lived here he has realized MLK Day is not a big deal.
“I lived through that era. I was very much a part of that era. I am a product of that era,” Crawford said.
His efforts have brought about a celebration on Jan. 21 at St. Theresa Church from 1-6 p.m. for people of all colors, religions and beliefs. “His Light Shines On” is the theme of the festivities that will also act as opening ceremonies of the Season for Peace and Nonviolence.
Various choirs from the area will sing inspirational songs, Trey Stone will share the stage in the later afternoon, while various clergy will talk from the pulpit. Rosemary Manning will speak to the Peace and Nonviolence aspect of the day.
Crawford says it will be like an open house where people can come and go as they like. It costs nothing to attend.
“I just thought there should be a place for those who want to celebrate and appreciate the movement and the many blessings from that,” Crawford said.
The local Peace and Nonviolence group is continuing to bring the cause into the South Shore California schools via pamphlets and essay contests. (Money, printing costs and the need for volunteers prevents a wider distribution of information.) The essay theme is “How did Martin Luther King Jr. make a difference in my life”.
A four-week class titled “Wisdom of Gandhi” will be taught each Monday in March from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Star Lake Office across from the Attic on Lodi Avenue near Highway 50. Donations will be accepted.
Details of the closing ceremonies were not defined as of press time, but in years past Lake Tahoe Community College hosted a large celebration in April.
For information about any aspect of the Season for Peace and Nonviolence, contact Stew Bittman at (530) 577-7135.