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Rape survivor speaks at non-violence rally

COREY CONNELLY Sunday, April 16 2017

The initial phase of the Movement for Non-Violence Begins With Me campaign culminates tomorrow, Easter Monday, with a peace rally and concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

Committee member Kathleen Maharaj said the highlight of the event, which is expected to run from 2 pm to 5 pm, will be an address by renowned non-violence activist and motivational speaker Argrow “Kit” Evans-Ford.

“She is the survivor of a very violent attack and she is coming to share her story about ways in which people can live non-violently,” Maharaj said of Evans-Ford.

According to an Internet profile, Evans-Ford is passionate about non-violence, God and serving others.

She has been a trainer and activist for some 13 years working tirelessly in the areas of non-violence education, violence prevention, special education, women’s rights, rape crisis intervention, and rehabilitation for victims of violence and abuse. Born in Mebane, North Carolina, United States, Evans-Ford’s work in the area of non-violence was inspired by her own personal misfortune after she became the survivor of an extremely violent sexual assault. It is said that after surviving the attack, Evans-Ford developed a strong desire to promote the power of non-violent social change. Evans-Ford, who is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Direction at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Evanston, is the founder of Testimonies of Hope: The Intercultural Christian Devotional at www.testimoniesofhope.

org.

She is also the author of 101 Testimonies of Hope: Life Stories to Encourage Your Faith in God and A Children’s Book On Bishop Richard Allen: A Non-violent Journey. Evans-Ford has studied, worked, and served in England, Japan, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis. Maharaj told Sunday Newsday that tomorrow’s peace rally, produced by Brian Mac Farlane, also will feature speeches promoting non-violence by representatives from several faith-based organisations,.

She said several top local artistes are also expected to perform at the event. These include sitarist Mungal Patasar; vocalist Wendell Constantine; pannist Johann Chuckaree; calypsonian Karene Asche; The Love Movement; musician Nigel Rojas and singer Marcia Miranda.

The Movement for Non-Violence Begins With Me, a non-denominational, apolitical organisation, is an amalgamation of various individuals and socio-religious groups interested in minimising the violence that has been plaguing the country over the past few years.

Following discussions, which began over one year ago, in conjunction with the Living Water Community, the committee decided to host its first major public initiative, 40 Hours of Prayer/40 Days of Action.

The prayer segment of the initiative called on faith groups to offer intercessions from 6 pm on March 3 to 10 am on March 5 while the 40 Days of Action are focused on raising awareness of the dilemma through heightened sensitisation interventions.

The latter initiative ends tomorrow.

Maharaj described the 40 Days of Prayer/40 Days of Action initiative as “absolutely amazing.” “It was a whole new experience for us but the campaign really began one year ago where the Living Water Community started to have talks and sessions mon non-violence,” she said.

“It is just amazing how people have responded .when we had our candlelight memorial on March 24, where we invited people wherever they were to organise themselves to play their part. People responded in families, community groups by organising walks and other activities.” Maharaj said violence affects all and sundry.

“It is hardly the case, these days, where we don’t know somebody who has been affected by violence in one way or the other,” she said.

“We have invited people to consider the ways in which they may be non-violent because we all have a level of violence in the way we think, speak and treat each-other.” Maharaj said the second phase of the peace campaign will be a community and school caravan.

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