Left Justified: The violence must stop

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a peaceful world without the scourge of war or violence? That would be such an idyllic place. No child abuse or domestic violence, no assault or murders, and, of course, war would become a thing of the past. Dream on. But it’s a good dream. And it’s a goal for which the human race should strive harder.

Really, we’ve been working for peace so long, and society has been successful in reducing the amount of violence, even here in Rockford. I invite you to join Rockford Urban Ministries this Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at Bethany United Methodist Church, 410 Eighth St. “RUM” (as it is affectionately known) offers a special program for Women’s History Month titled “Songs and Prayers to End Violence Against Women.”

Special guest will be the Womansong Chorale and Charmaine Logwood, case manager and outreach coordinator from WAVE, the domestic violence shelter for women and children in Rockford, who will give a short report.

The Womansong Chorale is sponsored by Womanspace and includes women from across the spectrum of Rockford. Esteemed Rockford vocalist and music educator Dorothy Paige-Turner directs Womansong. This will be a special program, almost like a prayer service, to stop violence against women. The program is free and open to the public.

Working Against Violent Environments (WAVE) was founded in 1979 and last year served 2,500 women and children. The agency offers 24-hour-a-day shelter service, walk-in counseling, legal advocacy at the Winnebago County Courthouse, orders of protection, women’s support groups and outreach services. Songs and prayers will be offered in support of women enduring violence, especially on Seventh Street.

The site, Bethany United Methodist Church, at Eighth Street and Third Avenue, is chosen consciously. The church is a member of the Rockford Urban Ministries’ Council, and it is also only two blocks from the RUM office on Seventh Street. Seventh Street is a known “red light” area, thanks to all the bars that cater to and provide comfort for the street sex “industry.” The women are constantly punished for their addictions and, in my opinion, they are enslaved by drugs and alcohol and the industry that produces it. What better place to hold a prayer service against violence on women?

These prayers and songs are only a beginning. Prayers always have to be followed by action. I hope and pray that we can take action against violence in trying to bring about a more peaceful and just society.

Bringing peace to a personal level, we have an opportunity to learn from a local acupressure instructor how to relieve a little pain in our own lives. “Learn Acupressure and Find Inner Peace” will be the subject of a Coffee Talk Monday, March 29, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., Rockford.

Special guest will be Sue Michaelsen, authorized Jin Shin Do acupressure teacher. She is a longtime instructor for Rock Valley College and will demonstrate how to use special points with breathing and focusing for comfort and inner peace. Attendees may watch or enjoy benefits of self-acupressure. The program is, of course, free and open to the public, and the coffee is complimentary, delicious, and fairly traded. It’s also organic and shade grown, which means less violence is done to the land.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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