Youngstown to mark Nonviolence Week with parade, rally

Staff report


The Nonviolence Parade downtown Sunday will kick off a week of events dedicated to the principles of nonviolence.

The parade begins at 3 p.m. at Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration and ends with a rally downtown.

This marks the second year for the parade, but Nonviolence Week first was observed in the city schools in 2009, and it expanded to the city and YSU the following year.

The week was started by students who were part of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, a 10-day, five-state trip to the sites of the civil-rights movement in the South.

Participants learn the principles of nonviolence and develop an action plan to inform others.

The students met icons of the movement and learned the lessons of the movement such as nonviolence, justice, civic responsibility, compassion, forgiveness, hope and not being a silent witness.

They learned they have the power to make a difference in their own lives and in their school and community. Before leaving Memphis, Tenn., they developed an action plan to implement when they returned home.

The Nonviolence Parade/Rally is sponsored by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, the Youngstown city schools, the city of Youngstown, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at YSU and ACTION.

Participants in the rally will include state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimidio-Righetti, 1st Ward Councilwoman Annie Gillam, CIRV director Guy Burney, the Williamson Elementary School choir and students from the visual and performing arts program at Chaney.

Art awards will be given for the nonviolence art contest as well as plaques for the best float and the best banner following the theme of peace and nonviolence.

At the rally there will be a board, titled “Unforgettable Violence.” People may bring pictures and names of loved ones and friends who died through violence, and place these items on the board. Nonviolence T-shirts and wristbands will be sold.

The purpose of the parade is to make members of the community stop and think about the need for all people to work for nonviolence in the community. In the words of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil- rights movement, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

As part of Nonviolence Week, Jeff Steinberg, director of Sojourn to the Past, will speak about nonviolence to Youngstown high school students at East and Chaney on Monday and at Youngstown Early College on Tuesday.

Steinberg also will speak about nonviolence at 6 p.m. Monday at the main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. The event is open to the public.

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