Non-violence key to King’s dream
Anya Hatter of La Grange writes up a collective "I have a Dream" list at an afterschool program at La Grange Community Center. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 11:52AM
LA GRANGE — Nonviolence is key to keeping alive the vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King.
Organizer emphasize that message as they plan activities, including hosting speakers, two panel discussions, a film and lunch, beginning at noon Jan. 21 at the Community Center, 200 Washington Ave., La Grange.
La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub has been invited to speak at the event with representatives of the Cook County Corrections Department, area clergy, schools and CeaseFire, aimed at preventing street violence in Chicago.
The event is sponsored by the Caring Place for Kids after-school program, the La Grange Area NAACP, CommUNITY Diversity Group and the Western Star Masonic Lodge.
Fourteen children and teens gathered Jan. 11 to brainstorm ideas for their version of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to be presented at the observance.
The Rev. Shawana McGee, who leads the afterschool program offered the prompt,” I have a dream that one day, our nation will live in peace, that there will be…”
“No fighting,” said Anya Hatter, 12, of La Grange, as she wrote the words with an orange marker on a large white sheet taped to the wall.
Other children quickly added their ideas — respect for everybody and no weapons, killing, bad language, stealing, lying, cheating and breaking into houses.
Violence prevention is on everyone’s mind following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14, and McGee said she didn’t shy away from discussing the tragedy with students. She also serves several children and families as their pastor.
“We talked about what are things we can do to prevent violence, like squeeze your pillow or take deep breaths,” she said. “When you’re angry, you can do something that will change the rest of your life and someone else’s.”
McGee said she plans to have two panels of teens and adults addressing King’s six principles of non-violence and how they can be applied today.