YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Sunday kicks off Ohio Nonviolence Week, an initiative originally started by a small group of Youngstown high students a decade ago.
Ohio Nonviolence Week is an action plan created by students of the Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
The annual observance over the first full week in October has become a local and statewide tradition.
“The goal is for people to stop and think about how they speak to others, their family members, friends, coworkers and people they don’t know and to begin to think before they speak and try to speak nonviolently,” said Penny Wells, Executive Director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
Last year, city leaders talked about how love and self-confidence can promote change, but due to COVID-19, this year’s events will be held via Zoom call.
“We’re not having the speakers we usually have, so we adapted to the situation as it is,” Wells said.
Growing up on the south side of Youngstown, Sojourn member Ke’Lynn Dean says violence is something he sees on the regular, so he’s using his experiences to educate others on nonviolence.
“I just got to lead by example, being I have a younger brother and sister. I have to let them know that you don’t always have to react this way to a certain situation,” Dean said.
After the various workshops and events scheduled this week, Wells says she hopes people will look at the principles of nonviolence and try to focus on them going forward.
“Maybe take one principle per day. Nonviolence is not passive. Nonviolence is taking action. If all you’re doing is just being quiet and not being violent but not doing anything, not taking action, then you really aren’t being an active nonviolent participant,” Wells said.
For more information on how to get involved, you can visit Sojourn to the Past’s website.