April 4, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Though his voice was silenced nearly 50 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of nonviolence still resonates and inspires. Numerous events will take place in Clinton as well as in the rest of the country.
To honor the memory of the country's most influential and celebrated civil rights leader, churches across the country will ring their bells 39 times at 6:01 pm on April 4 in recognition of King's age when he was killed. Bells will be rung in Clinton at The Canticle - the home of the Sisters of St. Francis - as well as at area churches.
In keeping with Dr. King's principles, the Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Peace Center is offering a three-session introduction to nonviolence beginning on April 4. The series is based on the Pace e Bene book Engage, which is a workbook to learn, study and practice the nonviolent options available to everyone. It offers a guide for groups on how to work together to create a society committed to justice, democracy, peace, sustainability, and equality.
Sister Nancy Miller will lead the sessions. "People are using nonviolence to challenge personal, interpersonal, and social patterns of violence in their own lives," she says. "The more we are equipped with the vision and skills of nonviolence, the greater the chance for the emergence of effective nonviolent solutions in our lives and in the world." Participants will learn how to respond to violence, find ways to live a more just and peaceful life, deepen their relationship with themselves and others, and experience the power of nonviolence.
The sessions will be held April 4, 11 and 18 from 6:30-8:30 P.M. at the Canticle. The suggested donation for the series is $25 which includes the book. Scholarships are available. To register or to get additional information, call 563-242-7611.
The Sisters of St. Francis will also launch a series of short videos about nonviolence and Franciscan spirituality, narrated by various sisters. The videos will be released every Wednesday, for 6 weeks, starting on April 4 and can be viewed on the website at www.ClintonFranciscans.com or on the Sisters of St. Francis Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SistersOfStFrancisClintonIa/
Many more events will be held around the country. Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. King was assassinated, will be the epicenter, with events also taking place in King's hometown of Atlanta.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, located in the city King once called the most segregated in America, will host a panel on social progress in the south and the media's coverage of it. The city is where King penned his influential Letter from Birmingham Jail, after being arrested by the city's infamous police commissioner Bull Connor, who attacked demonstrators with attack dogs and fire hoses in 1963.
Perhaps the biggest event will take place in Washington DC, where King helped orchestrate the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and where a broad coalition of faith-based and social justice organizations will be participating in the ACT to End Racism rally. This rally is intended to launch a multi-year campaign -- and life -long commitment -- to acknowledge America's racist past, confront our racist present and take transformative, long-lasting action to end racism. For more information about the ACT to End Racism Rally, visit http://www.rally2endracism.org/
The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton as means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the earth. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.