Published September 26, 2011
A year or so back, I featured Youngstowner Penny Wells and her annual effort to take city high school kids to America’s south and retrace steps from the Civil Rights Movement. It’s called Sojourn to the Past.
Those Youngstown students are returning the lesson back to the city with its first Nonviolence Week next week.
They will launch the week with a march on Sunday.
That march will include Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated a city high school in 1957.
Below is an outline of the event from Penny:
Todd, do you remember sitting in on a conversation at the Youngstown board of education between Superintendent Wendy Webb and Sojourn to the Past students in the spring of 2009 when they wanted to have a Nonviolence Week in their high schools? Those same students, plus Sojourn students from the next two years, have successfully petitioned the city council, the school board and the YSU trustees, all of whom have passed resolutions making the first week in October Nonviolence Week annually. The Mahoning County commissioners are passing a similar resolution at their meeting next week on October 29th.
This year the Sojourn students have decided to have a Nonviolence Parade/Rally on October 2nd as the kickoff for Nonviolence Week. The Youngstown city schools, the city of Youngstown and the YSU Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity are helping to sponsor this event.
The parade will begin at 3PM sharp on Sunday, October 2nd at the intersection of Hazel and Wood St. It will continue west on Commerce St., past the DeYor Center and then down Federal St. The rally at Federal Square will begin immediately following the parade. Participants in the rally will include Jeff Steinberg of San Mateo, California, the creator and executive director of Sojourn to the Past, Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957, YSU President, Cynthia Anderson; Youngstown school superintendent, Dr.Connie Hathorn; President of City Council, Jamael Tito Brown; The Stambaugh Chorus and the Youngstown Connection. The Sojourn student who suggested having the parade, Janae Ward, will be the MC.
People may bring pictures and names of friends or loved ones whose lives have been taken by violence and place them on a board titled “Unforgettable Violence”.
A variety of activities, including speakers and workshops, have been planned for Nonviolence Week both in the Youngstown City Schools and on the YSU campus.
All of this is the result of a small group of Youngstown high school students realizing they have the power to make a difference in their schools and community and taking action. They learned these leadership skills while participating in Sojourn to the Past.
Any way that you can help us get the word out would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Penny Wells