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64 days represent essence of Gandhi, Martin Luther King

Sixty-four days separate the anniversaries of the murders of Mahatma Gandhi – shot on his way to a prayer meeting in 1948 – and Martin Luther King Jr. – shot standing on the balcony of a Tennessee hotel in 1968.

Those two dates, Jan. 30 and April 4 respectively, set off a suitable time for reflection and celebration of the principles espoused by Gandhi and King, Gandhi’s grandson Arun decided. He then launched the first Season For Nonviolence in Southern California in 1998.

Now in its eighth year, the season has spread across the country and the state, taking root in Nevada County last year.



This year, however, organizers hope to reach out to the entire community, encouraging reflection and peaceful living, Sue Botsford said.

Accustomed to the emphasis her Southern California church placed on the season, Botsford arrived in Nevada County just as the Rev. Sandra Fairbanks of Sierra Center for Positive Living brought it to their church last year.




“It was one of those organic, serendipitous things,” Botsford said.

Last year, the focus of the season was primarily within the church.

This year, more than a dozen community organizations and churches have joined the effort and are sponsoring a full slate of discussions, workshops and celebrations in commemoration of nonviolence.

“There’s so much we can do with the campaign, we’re really just beginning to scratch the surface of the event,” Botsford said.

She said she was drawn to the event because of its focus on embracing peace in daily life.

“There’s so much violence in our world, not just in terms of war,” Botsford said. “I think it’s important to have a period of time when we can come together as a community.”

The season will culminate in April with an event to celebrate and honor local Nevada County residents who embody the principles of nonviolence and compassion, Botsford said.

“We want to go beyond our organization and recognize average citizens living and exemplifying nonviolence,” Botsford said.

Pat Barrentine, coordinating public outreach for the local effort, said she was drawn to the event to stimulate discussion on nonviolence.

“So many things can get out of hand, with angry words or threatening language,” Barrentine said.

Community groups and churches involved include Gather the Women, Grandmothers for Peace, Hunger Project, The Center for Living Compassion, Nonviolent Communication, Nevada City United Methodist Church, Peace Center of Nevada County, Quakers/Society of Friends, Sierra Center for Positive Living, Sierra Pines United Methodist Church, Unity in the Gold Country, United Methodist Church of Grass Valley and the United Nations Association.

upcoming season for nonviolence events

• Feb. 6 – “A Single Woman,” a play about the life of Jeannette Rankin, a pacifist and the first woman elected to Congress. It shows at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Banner Grange off McCourtney Road south of Grass Valley. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Purchase tickets at the Sierra Center for Positive Living, the BriarPatch Co-op, Odyssey Books, the Book Seller, Harmony Books, Nevada City Postal Company. Information: 274-1018

• Feb. 8 – “Forgiveness: Creating Inner Peace,” a workshop with Shirley McDonald on addressing anger, resentment, judgment and guilt, held Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Grass Valley at 236 S. Church St. Information: 265-5545.

• Feb. 13 – “Dances of Universal Peace,” a celebration of song and movement will be held at the Madelyn Helling Library, Nevada City, from 6 to 8 p.m. A $4-$7 donation is suggested. Information: 265-5545.

• Feb. 15 – “Introduction to Nonviolent Communication,” a workshop with Loren Swift and Mike Tomson based on the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenburg, held Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Grass Valley at 236 S. Church St. Information: 272-5422 or 272-2721.

• Feb. 21 – “Pay it Forward,” a film about the rewards of doing good things for others, screens at 7 p.m. at the Magic Theatre, 107 Argall Way, Nevada City, $3 donation requested. A discussion follows sponsored by Grandmothers for Peace.

• Feb. 22 – “Moving Beyond Defensiveness,” a workshop with Terri Harmon on how to communicate to encourage collaboration, held Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Grass Valley at 236 S. Church St. Information: 432-8302 or http://www.livingcompassion.com.

• March 1 – “Loving What Is,” a workshop with Jill Fox based on the work of Byron Katie, held Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Grass Valley at 236 S. Church St. Information: 265-3802.

• March 6 – “Been There, Undone That,” a workshop to experience joy, love, peace and self-acceptance, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Banner Grange off McCourtney Road in Grass Valley. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door. Information: 274-1018 or http://www.sierracenter.org.

• March 8 – International Women’s Day, a celebration of woman with music and speakers will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Miners’ Foundry in Nevada City. Tickets are $5. Information: 477-8080.

• March 9 – United Nations Association celebration of International Women’s Day with the Balkan Women’s Chorus, networking and speakers from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist church at 246 S. Church St. in Grass Valley. Donation of $5 suggested. Information: 273-6755.

• March 18 – Calling all Peacemakers, an event with the Spirit Drum Circle and a lecture by Lonnie Valentine, a professor of peace and justice studies, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Grass Valley United Methodist at 236 S. Church St. Information: 272-3736.

• March 19 – Spiritual Basis for Peacemaking in our Time, a day of lectures, discussions and a movie hosted by Lonnie Valentine, a professor of peace and justice studies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grass Valley United Methodist at 236 S. Church St. Admission is $20. Information: 272-3736.

• March 21 – The Hunger Project, an event focusing on hunger beginning at 7 p.m. Information: 305-6583.

• April 3 – “Honoring our Local Heroes,” the closing ceremony of the Season for Nonviolence with a dance, labyrinth walk, and program honoring exemplary community members. Information: 274-1018.


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