Sunday starts Nonviolence Week
By Denise Dick
The fifth Nonviolence Week kicks off Sunday with a parade and rally.
The parade begins at 3 p.m. at Wood Street and Wick Avenue and proceeds through downtown to the Covelli Centre. The rally will follow immediately after the parade.
The week was initiated by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past students and is observed across Ohio.
Its importance still resonates, said Penny Wells, director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
“Just look at what happened [Thursday] in Oregon and what continues to happen across the country,” she said. “Look at what happened in Charleston and in Cleveland. Whether it’s African-Americans, Caucasian Americans, police or the general public, school kids or adults, we all need to stop to think of where we are and focus on nonviolence.”
Events are planned by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, city of Youngstown, Youngstown City Schools, Youngstown State University Office of Student Diversity Activities, Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, YWCA and Youngstown’s Community Initiative to Reduce Violence.
Sojourn students participate in a 10-day journey to the civil-rights sites in the South where they meet leaders in the civil-rights movement.
Sojourn students in 2010 initiated the weeklong observation, prompting city, city schools, Mahoning County and, ultimately, statewide officials to make the designation.
“They’re empowered by what they’ve done, and they’re presenting the message,” Wells said.
Sunday’s parade will include Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine; Jimmy Webb, who marched with John Lewis on “Bloody Sunday”; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd; Mayor John A. McNally; Sojourn to the Past students; East High marching band and ROTC; and Boys and Girls Club drummers as well as students from Youngstown schools, YSU and Austintown Fitch High School.
Jabrell Walker, a Sojourn student and senior at Early College, will be the emcee for the rally. Awards will be presented for the best float and the best banner that illustrate the theme of “Peace” and “Nonviolence” as well as the best in show.
At the rally there will be a board titled “Unforgettable Violence.” People will be able to place on the board names of loved ones or friends whose lives have been taken through violence.
Speakers throughout the week include Brown Trickey; Jeff Steinberg, director of Sojourn to the Past from San Mateo, Calif.; Simeon Wright, cousin of Emmett Till, and FBI agent Dale Killinger, who reopened the Till case in 2004. Till was kidnapped and murdered 60 years ago.
On Thursday and Friday, students will participate in a youth retreat at Camp Koinonia in Geneva sponsored by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past and CIRV. Brown Trickey, Webb and Ken Mason from the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta will be facilitators at the retreat.
“That’s at the end of the week, and it’s for developing leadership and nonviolence,” Wells said.
Sojourn students are facilitators for some of the workshops.