MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - An organization is calling on Memphis residents to promote peace after a string of violence.
“I think we’re close to having our own Pulse nightclub shooting,” MPD Director Mike Rallings told reporters when asked about Monday’s Purple Haze nightclub shooting that injured nine people. Four of those hurt suffered gunshot wounds in the attack.
Two people were killed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in a triple shooting in a Tipton County field.
A 15-year-old Shelby County Schools student was injured Monday when someone took a shot at her school bus.
These stories about sudden bursts of gun violence are the very latest examples of how random, rampant violence permanently changes or ends lives right here in the Mid-South.
“It’s about conflict resolution,” said Paul Crum, one of the leaders of the Campaign Non-Violence (CNV) Memphis: Week of Action. “The level of violence we witness – just in the past two or three days for instance – is atrocious.”
The Campaign Non-Violence will present its annual week of programming September 17-22. The events are aimed at avoiding violence like the recent bloodshed mentioned above while helping to create an environment where peace flourishes in the Bluff City.
“Seventy percent of all homicides occur among people who know each other, so 70 percent of this violence could be eliminated if we had conflict resolution skills taught in the broader community,” said Crum.
The Memphian has devoted years working to advance the mission of Pax Christi, the Catholic Peace Movement, and organizations like CNV.
“I read somewhere that FBI data reveals that 70 percent of homicides occur among parties known to one another, and it started me thinking about conflict resolution. If 70 percent of those violent crimes could have been avoided, we should be doing everything we can to make sure people acquire those kinds of skills -- and where better to start than in school?” Crum wondered.
To that end, the National Civil Rights Museum will host a session at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 titled, “Restorative Justice & Nonviolent Conflict Resolution in the Classroom.”
Dr. Randy McPherson of Shelby County Schools developed a program to help students avoid conflict. The presentation will feature the history, benefits and practicality of restorative justice practices.
The presentation will feature the history, benefits and practicality of restorative justice practices. It will also feature LeTicia Taylor, a Restorative Practices Trainer, and Rod Peterson, Principal at Oakhaven Middle School.
“It has been shown that learning conflict resolution not only reduces the level of violence and the need for extreme disciplinary action in schools, but academic scores actually increase because the students are learning problem solving skills," Crum said. “It’s a win-win situation.”
“We seek to create a culture of nonviolence by understanding the interconnectedness of poverty, racism, war and environmental destruction,” said Dr. Monica Juma, the physician who’s serving as CNV chairperson for a second consecutive year. “We seek to tap into the infinite potential of nonviolence to address these injustices to ultimately create the beloved community. We hope people are inspired and energized to promote nonviolence and to work to strengthen our community.”
The Campaign Non-Violence will present its annual week of programming September 17-22. The events are aimed at avoiding violence like the recent bloodshed via education and encouragement while helping to create an environment where peace flourishes in the Bluff City.
The CNV’s Memphis Week of Action kicks off at Crosstown Concourse at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 with the training director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. Gio Lopez, a native of Peru who has studied and performed in theatre from Costa Rica to Memphis, will focus on Nonviolent Communication Training.
On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the Paradiso Theatre at 584 South Mendenhall will present “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” a documentary film about the Holy Father’s answers to today’s global questions on social justice, immigration, ecology, death, wealth inequality, materialism and the role of the family.
The film starts at 6:30 p.m. but advance ticket purchase is required through St. Peter Church. You can call St. Peter’s church office with questions about the film and tickets at (901) 527-8282.
On Thursday, Sept. 20, you’re invited to bring your lawn chair and sing your favorite songs of peace and love at Bartlett’s Freeman Park, 2629 Bartlett Boulevard, starting at 6:30 p.m. “Music for a Non-Violent World” will be presented at the park’s gazebo. If you’re a performer, you’re invited to participate. Contact Paul Crum or call (901) 266-2464.
On Friday, Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace as designated by the United Nations, those seeking peace through yoga will gather for “109 Sun Salutations for Peace, Enlightenment, at Non-Violence” at 6 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 8245 Getwell Road in Southaven, Mississippi. Organizers ask you to bring a yoga towel and a loving heart and let them know in advance if you’re bringing a group. Their number is (9662) 393-3100.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, a Drum Circle for Peace and Non-Violence will bang the drums at 2 p.m. in Overton Park near the Levitt Shell Walking Path.
Another drum circle will gather at Overton Park at the Veteran’s Memorial at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23 with a Mindfulness Walk at 4 p.m.
Later in the month, the Memphis Peace Conference takes place at the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery at 333 Beale Street from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.
On Sunday, Sept. 30 a Presentation and Interfaith Candlelight Vigil will take place at the National Civil Rights Museum starting at 5p.m. with prayers at 6 p.m.
The CNV Pledge is as follows:
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris both signed a proclamation calling for a week of nonviolence September 15-23: