Thursday, April 7, 2011
In the Shambhala Sun this month, there is a wonderful article about the community of Newark, local activists, an amazing and forward-thinking mayor, and the upcoming Peace Education Summit, to be held in May in this community. The Dalai Lama, an ardent activist for peace, will be in attendance as keynote speaker.
Newark has recently gained recognition as a community working hard to uplift its citizens. In the article Making Peace in America's Cities, Barry Boyce writes about the activisim going on there, with the active involvement of its mayor, Cory Booker, elected in 2006.
The journalist asks "How can we cultivate peace on the front lines of America - the hard neighborhoods...where lack of opportunity goes hand in hand with violence?" He also reflects upon the inspiring people working hard to address that very question.
He writes how many look to the Dalai Lama for inspiration. "He has become the foremost proponent for the principle that lasting peace in the world results from genuine peace within ourselves. While many prefer to focus on inner peace alone, the Dalai Lama has, like Thich Nhat Hanh, been instrumental in redefining the peace of mindfulness practice as something that must find its way in the world to be genuine. A private peace is a selfish peace, and no peace at all," writes Barry.
The eastern summit in May "will break new ground by bringing people together people who make a direct connection between inner peace and outer peace, and [are] working to make that manifest in their lives and communities."
Barry writes about Newark's mayor, Cory Booker, who began working to help this community in 1996, when he met with local activist Virginia Jones, and offered her his help. Virginia worked tirelessly, into her seventies, for the people of her community. She told Cory, "The world you see outside of you is a reflection of what you have inside of you. If you are one of those people who only sees problems or darkness or despair, that is all there is ever going to be. But if you are one of those people who see hope, opportunity, and love, then you can make a change."
I thought that was a message highly worthy of repeating.
Cory told the Shamhala Sun reporter, "[Virginia] taught me that nothing is beyond the capacity of a community of people acting on a moral imperative."
As a councilman, Booker once went on a ten day hunger fast to draw attention to the need to take back the streets from drug gangs, writes Barry.
Booker told him, "The peacemakers summit will help us recognize we're not alone....It will help us see our interconnectedness and raise our consciousness about the world we share together....His Holiness is an extraordinary soldier for peace, a leviathan of love. To have him bring his spirit to Newark, to mix with the soul of our people, is a......special occasion, brimming with possibility."
Wonderful to know that, in the midst of all of the terror, uproar and depressing events going on everywhere, there are bright souls, in all communities, actively striving towards that better world we all dream of.