Composting Hate: Planting the Harvest for the Beloved Community Garden


    “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, in the chapter, “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” offers the world 6 Principles of Nonviolence. The 2nd principle is this:

    “The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.”

    In Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)/Nonviolence Legacy Project (NVLP)’s Summer Youth Leadership Institute, where teens and young adults gather for a full week to learn about Dr. King’s model of nonviolence so they can teach it to their peers, we discuss this idea. We ask: Who is included in the “Beloved Community?” The youth leaders always include everyone, but wonder how to truly incorporate racists, terrorists, and/or people who are steeped in violence. Last month we discussed this question from the point of view that people are capable of change, of reconciliation, of transformation. We also shared our doubts, hopes and concerns in a modest effort to “compost our own hate.”

    This month the conversation will move into examining potential actions, activities and various ways we can support our communities in ways that build community, cross challenging boundaries, and engage in supporting communities targeted at this time. We are going to focus on actions that are possible to compost our hate, fear, and anger into the beautiful soil that grows the results of our actions.

    Consider this idea also: Let’s not be close-minded about those we consider to be closed-minded. Please join us in this conversation meant to take us to actions we can complete. We may not solve all the problems but we can open our hearts and minds to each other. Hopefully, this will lead us to actions that reflect the intention to create more “just peace” in our lives and communities.

    Current sponsors: Maqsood Ahmad, Rabbi Batsheva Apel Lanny Cascaden, Catalina UMC, Mr. and Mrs. Chopra, Gandhi Restaurant, Delores Grayam, Rula Khalidi, Muslim Community Center of Tucson, Toetie Oberman, Or Chadash/Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund (Rabbi Tom Louchheim), Angela and Javon Oston, William “Pete” Peterson, Bob Phillips, Jon Rinnander, Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Dr. Harminder Singh, Harpreet Singh, Dr. Fayez Swailem, Temple Emanu-El/Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund (Rabbi Samuel Cohon), Temple of Universality, Zander Zwart and Hester Oberman,Veterans for Peace Tucson Chapter 13, and many anonymous donors. Contact Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa for information on becoming a sponsor.”

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


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