Saturday, January 31, 2009
-- from Martin Luther King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 1964
The Rev. Toni Fish, the spiritual leader at Frederick's Unity Church, has joked that she developed the concept of an interfaith Gandhi-King Season for Peace and Nonviolence here because she was tired of driving to similar events in Arlington, Fairfax and Washington.
Now, four years later, local clergy, peace activists and artists seek out Fish, hoping to include events in what has evolved into a popular two- month series.
The Ghandi-King Season for Peace and Nonviolence project, founded a dozen years ago by the Association for Global New Thought, continues to grow nationally and internationally. This year more than 200 U.S. cities and 14 countries are taking part in the celebration.
Jan. 30 and April 4, the dates marking the beginning and end of the season, originally marked the 50th and 30th anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Megan Staneck, of the Association for Global New Thought, said some 300 groups requested new materials this year and a CD put out by AGNT had to go into reprinting twice.
A highlight of the series in Frederick includes Oakland, Calif. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee discussing her recently published book, "Renegade for Peace and Justice: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Speaks for Me," at the Frederick Cultural Arts Center on Feb. 9. Lee was the only member of the House or Senate to vote against the authorization of force after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That led to threats against her life.
Other notables include former ambassador Philip Wilcox Jr. who will address the Israeli and Palestinian conflict on Feb. 22 at Unity Church, and journalist/teacher Colman McCarthy, founder of the Center for Teaching Peace, who will speak at Evangelical Lutheran Church on March 15.
Former pastor Michael Dowd, author of the "Thank God for Evolution," a book acclaimed by five Nobel laureates, will speak at Unity Church on March 20. Fish said she is still working to bring another special guest to the closing ceremonies at Hood College on March 29.
A dozen religious and civic groups will participate in and sponsor the 15 events.
"We started planning in late November, and a number of groups already said they had programs in mind," Fish said. "By our second meeting, we had a list of commitments. It's caught on."
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