First Visioning is held with students at Washington Alternative School
Mahatma Gandhi said: “If we are to teach real peace in this world, we must begin with the children.”
Meanwhile, across town, a forgotten school takes center stage in the conversation about a Gandhi Global Center for Peace. “We are going to start a Global Center for Peace,” says Arun Gandhi. “And we will connect it with other schools and community centers around the world to promote peace in our lives and the lives of others.”
Kicking off the 2014 “Season for Nonviolence” (held each year from January 30-April 4, to make the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Arun Gandhi is working with Missy Crutchfield, CEO, of GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) and co-founder of the Gandhi Global Center for Peace to gather ideas from young people around the world about what they think the center should look like. Students at Washington Alternative School are among the first to be invited to participate in a formal visioning.
Washington Alternative School has students from the highest crime zip codes, with the lowest funding priority for any school in the district. One hundred percent of the students are there because they were sent there… Zero tolerance… Suspension… Drugs… Weapons… Assault… Bullying… Attempted Homicide… Gang Violence… If they didn’t go to jail, they go to this school. While it may seem an unlikely place to start, students at Washington Alternative School are living on the front lines of the very issues that call for a student-led movement of nonviolence and peace.
“We are all leaders,” Crutchfield shared with the group of students as they began their visioning session. “The question is where are we leading? And what are we doing with our lives to make a difference?”
Arun Gandhi shared that Gandhi’s Be Magazine and GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) will soon be announcing a Gandhi Global Center for Peace essay contest for students to share their vision for the center in writing.