Those of us who are organizing the Violence Reduction Gathering at Berkshire Community College wish to thank the Eagle for noting our effort in the February 25 edition of the paper. However, the article neglected to mention that the event, which will be held in the cafeteria of BCC’s Susan B. Anthony building on Thursday, February 28, will start at 7 p.m.
While the article did note that presenters will include Police Chief Wynn, District Attorney Capeless, and the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and will feature Alternative to Violence workshops, we would like potential attendees to know that there will also be presentations by Pittsfield’s school safety officer and commentary on violence as related to mental health and drug use by a representative from the Brien Center. Further, there will be a speaker addressing the difficulties of trying to pass gun restriction legislation and another from HAVEN speaking to the tendency of cruel behavior toward animals to morph into violence toward fellow humans. Lastly, insights will be shared on the HIPP (Help Increase the Peace Project) which provides workshops to help young people acquire techniques to face potentially violent encounters in a nonviolent manner.
The roots and manifestations of violence should not be tolerated in any community including our own. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that "Beloved Community," a community in which nonviolence, peace and social justice are tangible and sustainable, was an effective antidote to violence.
Dr. King taught that friendship, good will and cooperation, founded on love and trust, could build the critical mass of people needed to overcome the fear, hatred and retributive thinking that contributed to and perpetuated violence and injustice. According to Dr. King, as long as people of conscience have the will and determination to work for nonviolent social change, "Beloved Community" was a realistic, achievable goal.
Help move Berkshire County one step closer to realizing Dr. King’s vision of "Beloved Community" by joining us at this event.
To learn more about our group, and this event, visit our website: www.BCPJ.org
BRIAN J. TRAUTMAN
The writer is a member, Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice and instructor of Peace Studies at Berkshire Community College.