Amid non-stop violence, here’s an invitation to 10 days of peace

The more we know about each other, the less likely we are to see enemies swarming around us.

The more we know about each other, the less likely we are to see enemies swarming around us. Fibonacci Blue

In just the last week, a collegiate golf champ was stabbed to death on a course in Iowa. Another heavily armed gunman opened fire on innocents, shooting four at a software company outside Madison.

And in Minneapolis, a man booted from a Washington Avenue bar returned to blast away at a crowd of patrons. Ten people were shot in the city last weekend alone.

Amid all this gut-punching news, Twin Cities Nonviolent is offering 10 days of exhibits, workshops, talks, and concerts to remind you that we don’t have to be the most murderous nation in the industrialized world.

“There’s been this big push to have more guns, to incite more violence,” says Rick Slettehaugh. “It creates an environment of fear. It’s time to try to change that thinking, that it can be different. It didn’t use to be this way.”

Twin Cities Nonviolent was created by Father Harry Bury, a former priest at St. Francis Cabrini in Minneapolis whose activism dates back to the Vietnam War. The thinking was that towns the world over build monuments to war, so why not build living monuments to peace?

The group has organized a sprawling series of events throughout the Twin Cities. Green Card Voices, a video display at St. Olaf Catholic Church, puts a human face on America’s 40 million immigrants. Humanize My Hoodie, at the George Latimer Library in St. Paul, features a national photography and video exhibit. At the Feast for Peace, a community potluck invites you to share your favorite ethnic dish. There will also be prayer services ranging from Nordic to Ojibwe.

As Slettehaugh notes, one of our main problems is that we simply fear the unknown. It’s no surprise that President Trump received his greatest support in areas overwhelmingly white, while voters in multi-ethnic locales weren’t buying his anti-immigration pitch. When your friends and neighbors are sold as your enemy, you know better than to believe.

“A lot of the spiritual leaders are trying to bring people of all the faiths together to get people thinking in a different way,” says Slettehaugh. “It may help some people to begin to look at others, look at how we might be able to get to know each other. We might actually like each other.”

The events run from September 21-30. See the full schedule here.