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A letter from board chairman Joe Kutter and reports on Peace Camp, Bullying Prevention, and Topekans Against Gun Violence, highlight our 2014 Summer newsletter.
Overview of Bullying Initiatives
During 2014, The Peace Center’s Bully Prevention Specialist, Lindsey Schwartz, has worked with many leaders in the Topeka and Shawnee County community to reduce bullying in our public schools. See our Bullying Prevention page (listed under “Justice”) for an overview of Lindsey’’s impressive work.
Join us on Statehouse grounds for Turnaround Tuesdays
Topeka Center for Peace and Justice will be collaborating with other local groups this fall on Turnaround Tuesdays, a series of educational events that will be held at 5:30 each Tuesday on the south State House grounds. The nonpartisan events are modeled after North Carolina’s Moral Mondays.
Each Turnaround Tuesday will highlight one issue we believe requires a new, more enlightened approach by the governor and state legislature. Each Turnaround Tuesday will last about 20 minutes and will include a speaker with expertise on the chosen issue, a civil rights era song and a local folk artist. The schedule thus far is as follows:
- Sept. 2: Funding for the Arts
- Sept. 9: Medicaid Expansion
- Sept. 16: Reproductive Justice
- Sept. 23: The Death Penalty & its Repeal
- Sept. 30: LGBTQ Equality
- Oct. 7: Voter Rights & Humane Immigration Reform
- Oct. 14: Labor Rights
- Oct. 21: The Kansas Environment
- Oct. 28: Funding for Education
- Nov. 4: Election Day Rally
If you have questions, would like to get involved, or would like to request permission to set up a booth, contact the Rev. Joshua Longbottom at Central Congregational Church, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.