The dream lives on

Azaria Pearson, Staff Reporter

 

McCluer North had the privilege of being a part of an up-and-coming movement when Chuck Alphin of the Building Life Foundations Nonviolence Center came to our school to demonstrate the teachings of Kingian Nonviolence. For the week of Jan. 14-18, groups of students from various classes and grades were taught restraint, humility and empathy.

This district-wide movement began about a year and a half ago when a group of teachers and staff underwent training and certification in Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of nonviolence.

Kingian Nonviolence is Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi’s belief of a world where “love is our weapon.” They believed that there is no need for violence of any kind and the world would prosper if everyone put aside their differences and prejudices and lived together in peace.

Alphin had a very open mind when he first arrived at North for the training.

“This is a nice school, full of students that appear to be leaders and wanted to make a change in their school and community for the better,” he said.

Alphin’s own father, who was already a firm believer in the philosophy, had first introduced him to Kingian Nonviolence when he was about 18 years old. Like most young minds, Alphin believed that he had to fight to gain respect or prove his worth to his peers. However, with an open mind and optimistic perspective on life along with training, his ways were changed and in 2000 Alphin was officially certified as a trainer of Kingian Nonviolence.

During the week of the training, a number of students over the span of three groups went through various training and learned key skills to help them if they choose to make the transition.

“We wanted to start with a younger base group and expand from that,” said sophomore principal Mr. Frazier.

Whether the workshop was aimed at freshman or seniors, the ultimate goal was to educate everyone so that our generation could bring in and pass on a more nonviolent culture to future generations, keeping Dr. King’s dream alive.

The training really focused on interactive activities among the students while teaching them the six steps of Kingian Nonviolences: information gathering, education, personal commitment, negotiation, direct action, and reconciliation.

One important thing that was taught to the students was that you have to empathize with the other person you are in an altercation with in order to understand the argument as well as come up with a solution that doesn’t have to result in violence.

“I learned a better way to approach people and be more logical in my actions,” said senior Lorenzo Lewis.

Lewis, like many others, believed the training was going to be an anti-bullying club.

What he thought was just going to be another club activity to write on his college applications turned out to be a learning experience that he would carry with him wherever he goes much like everyone else who participated.

“If you can’t see the problem being changed, then you can’t make change or be changed,” Lewis said. “It has to start somewhere. Someone has to take the initiative to make a change.”