The initial plan for Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and the International Day of Non-Violence Saturday was to be nothing more than an uplifting music festival to celebrate nonviolence and the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
However, when support grew for a local organization known as Akron Peace Project, co-founded by singer/songwriter Zach Freidhof of the Love Initiative and Bekey Hewit, an advocate for the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center, Peace Fest took a different direction.
We’ve been getting a really nice amount of folks to jump on board. The support’s been pretty amazing, Freidhof said.
After gaining support from the Battered Women’s Shelter, Musica, the University of Akron and even the city mayor, Freidhof and Hewit were able to turn Peace Fest into the first ever Akron Peace Week.
We were originally working on that and it grew into a week long of festivities and that was when the city wanted to name it the week of peace, Freidhof said.
Festivities, ranging from an art auction to a mobile peace museum known as PeaceMobile to free meditations and movie screenings, were hosted throughout the week.
Freidhof and Hewit are both thrilled with the outcome of Akron Peace Project and Peace Week.
It’s going amazing, we’re very pleased with the responses that we’re getting, Hewit said.
Events were planned around the idea that peace and non-violence evolve from the self, the home, and the community.
We wanted to make sure that this was not something that was just a political statement or anti-war kind of thing. Nonviolence has to begin with your own thoughts, and from your own thoughts they manifest into actions, Freidhof said.
Akron Peace Week concluded with Peace Fest this past Saturday at Musica in downtown Akron. Peace Fest hosted a variety of musicians, including Zach of the Love Initiative, Kristine Jackson, Rachel Roberts and A Band Named Ashes. All ticket proceeds were donated to the Battered Women’s Shelter.
My hope is that it will get people to think about peace and how they can create it in everyday life, how they can create it in themselves, and how creating peace within themselves affects the world, Hewit said.
More information about Akron Peace Project and upcoming events is available at www.akronpeaceproject.org