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Peace Party plans, an update on Peace Camp, and reports on our Bullying Prevention, Human Trafficking, Gun Violence, and Death Penalty Abolition initiatives highlight our 2014 Spring newsletter.
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Peace Center announces 2014 Peace Builders award winners
One of Kansas’ most distinguished public servants and the religion page editor of the Topeka Capital-Journal are among those who will receive this year’s Builders of Peace Awards, Peace Center Executive Director Jim McCollough announced in late February.
Awards will be presented by the Peace Center during its second annual Peace Party on Thursday, April 3.
Dr. Robert Harder, who served as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment before becoming the state’s first Secretary of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, will receive this year’s Individual Builder of Peace Award, McCollough said.
The media/journalist award will be given to Phil Anderson, a reporter for the Capital-Journal. Best known for his coverage of religion and religious issues, Anderson also covers law enforcement.
This year’s Builders of Peace are:
Individual/Family Dr. Robert C. Harder
Youth/Youth Organization Angelique Flinn
Organization Christmas in Action
Faith Community Corita’s Corner
Education Topeka West Conflict Managers Progra
Lifetime Achievement Carol Rank
Volunteer of Year Judy Salyer for Peace Camp
Author speaks on gun violence
helps Peace Center form new group
James Atwood glanced up from his notes, paused, looked hard at his audience, and spoke in the measured, sonorous tones of a Southern preacher.
“This is not a political issue,” he said. “This is a moral issue. This is an ethical issue. And this is a spiritual issue.”
The Rev. Atwood, author of “America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposè,” was speaking in First Congregational Church in Topeka on Saturday, Feb. 15 about gun violence, an issue that has been his life’s passion since a friend and member of his church was murdered by a teenager with a handgun in 1975.
The retired Presbyterian minister had spent the past few days speaking to classes and gatherings at Washburn University. He had also addressed a group that viewed the documentary “Trigger: The Ripple Effects of Violence,” and those gathered for worship at Temple Beth Sholom. He was now giving his main address, on America’s culture of violence, as part of Topeka Center for Peace and Justice’s “Envisioning a Future Without Violence” program.
A member of the National Rifle Association, he described himself as an avid hunter, then made his purpose clear as he glared out at his audience and waggled his finger. “Let me be clear. This is not about gun control. No one is trying to take away anyone’s guns.”
“We’re thrilled with the response from our community regarding our hosting Jim Atwood,” said Jim McCollough the Center’s executive director. “The challenge now, is to get to work with implementing some of the ideas that sprang forth in our strategizing session.”
During the afternoon, after lunch, Atwood relaxed and looked on as reverends Jim McCollough and Joe Kutter led the effort to do what the author had come to Topeka for, to form a group dedicated to reducing gun violence in Topeka and Shawnee County.
More than a dozen community leaders and peace and justice advocates committed themselves to working on this importance issue. The Center will keep you updated on this new group’s progress.
Former Highland Park High School Principal Dale Cushinberry addresses crowd during annual “Whose Dream Is It?” celebration. Visit our Facebook page to view more pictures.