I first visited the Gandhi Institute in June of 2015. I had no idea that in two short years I would become one of its employees.I was there with the University of Rochester’s Urban Fellows, an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate program that pairs college students with community organizations for summer internships and educates them about urban issues through a combination of academic study and hands-on learning. As a student at UR, I had heard of the Gandhi Institute and had even participated in one of Kit’s on-campus Conversations on Race, but I was still only marginally aware of what the institute did outside of nonviolence workshops.
With this being my second year as a SYFI (Summer Youth Facilitation Institute) member at the Gandhi Institute, I am excited and ready for everything this summer and the Gandhi staff have in store for me. Being able to come here and be a facilitator for a second time is an overwhelming feeling. I will be able to extend my learning of nonviolence as a facilitator and I will have a chance to improve my leadership skills. I’m more than pleased with their decision of adding me back to their already amazing staff.
Catholics. Jews. Mormons. Sikhs. Hindus. Muslims.
All of these religions have faced documented discrimination here in the United States and I am both deeply saddened and angry to see the same rhetoric being launched today under the veil of human rights issues. Sound bites and cherry-picking leaves little room for the complexities that vastly shape our lives.
I have fear about tomorrow, when over twenty cities nationwide will lead protests called the March Against Sharia, March for Human Rights. My fear is that this march arose out of white supremacist thinking, based on the Eurocentric lens in which most of our U.S. history is written, swallowed, and regurgitated without critically being analyzed.
Over a year ago, I stumbled upon Nora on Instagram and my goodness!–she is one heck of a lady who is equal parts brilliant, witty, deep, vulnerable, and compassionate. I ended up scrolling all the way back to her very first post in efforts to piece together her joys (babies!) and heartaches (losing her husband to brain cancer). I was unclear how this person was still standing. Her vulnerability and openness about her personal losses really hit me. Upon learning she was publishing a book, I firmly decided I would order it as soon as it was released. WELL, it’s been exactly one full year since it was published: I’ve seen it at Barnes & Nobles, at public libraries, at various bookstores – and still, I have yet to place the order. Why? Grief.
SEARCHING FOR THE HOLY GRAIL OF CIRCLES
It’s one thing to believe that talking circles in schools is a good idea, and another to really experience the power of it.
You’ve probably heard people share glowing tales of circle magic in the classrooms where a gaggle of troublesome students transform into that holy grail of a community of learners.
by David Sanchez
For the past three years, staff from the Gandhi Institute have been collaborating with a group of Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools and staff in supporting the spread of an initiative of a social-emotional support space called the Help Zone (HZ). The Help Zone was created through the vision of NorthWest College Preparatory (NWCP) School principal, Barbara Zalazny who saw the need for a system that would address the need of many students walking the halls, searching for a classroom item when they didn’t have one, or dealing with a conflict that could easily be remedied with a short break or mentoring session.
Over the winter, Rich Gordon, Coordinator Teen Education and Israel Trips at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, reached out to the Gandhi Institute to potentially host Rochester J-Serve, an international day of service for Jewish teens.
The Cycle of Hatred: A Workshop with the Gandhi Institute
by Jeneé Skinner, first-term AmeriCorps member serving at MCC Upward Bound
On Sunday November 20th, the Gandhi Institute held a workshop called “Let’s Talk About Hate”. The discussion included what each individual who came wanted to get out of the meeting, how hatred is defined, and what medicines can be used against it. Most of us in attendance wanted to know how to treat the hatred we witness and experience in our individual communities. There were many one on one and small group chats where people’s thoughts and frustrations came out.
Who is Angela Davis?
Coveted by many and unknown to some, Angela Davis is an American activist, educator, scholar and politician known for combating all forms of oppression on a national and international stage. She rose to her public prominence as a result of her counterculture activism in the 1960s which involved her leadership in the Communist Party, her involvement with the Black Panther Party and her advocacy for prison rights that launched after her own trial and imprisonment.