Amanda Brail – News Reporter –
Professor Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, director of Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, brought the 64 Days of Non-violence celebration to campus eight years ago and the university has celebrated this event every year since.
“I was enchanted with the whole idea of celebrating peace and justice,” said Lin, about hearing of the event for the first time at a conference in the fall of 2004.
According to Lin, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson began the “Season of Peace,” which is commonly referred to as the 15th anniversary of his grandfather’s assassination, which occurred on Jan. 30, 1998. It was created to celebrate the non-violent legacy that Gandhi spread throughout his life and it ends on Apr. 4, the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated.
Southern began their own celebration of the Season of Peace on Wednesday, Jan. 30 with a program honoring Dr. King who, according to Chi Anako, graduate intern at the Multicultural Center, followed the non-violent teachings and preaching’s of Gandhi throughout his life. Anako said that the 64 Days of Non-violence is held not only to celebrate Gandhi, but other leaders that embraced action through non-violence as well, such as Dr. King.
Lin said that 64 Days also looks to celebrate diversity as it occurs at the same time as Black History month, Women’s History month, Asian/Pacific-Islander History month and Sexual-Assault Awareness month.
According to Ebony McClease, women’s studies alum and graduate intern at the Women’s Center, there are also events such as Take Back the Night, a rally against sexual violence, and V-Day, a day to raise awareness and stop violence against women that coincide with the 64 Days of Non-violence.
McClease said 64 Days is about “taking classroom knowledge outside of the university walls” and “bringing it to other people,” while Lin said that she hopes students “bring their energy to the events” and “carry that energy into their community, whether it’s on campus or off campus.”
Lin elaborated on how women’s studies tie into the 64 Days of Non-violence.
“It’s about other issues,” she said, “it leads to a lot of social justice work in gender, race, class and it goes along with the women’s studies vision that everyone — women and girls, men and boys — everyone in the human community should be free to pursue his or her full potential, peacefully.”
Both McClease and Lin said that they want this event to open up Southern students’ eyes and get them participating in a cause that is bigger than themselves. According to McClease, it was programs like this that helped her to find her voice; she said she hopes that other students will take the time to participate in one of the 20 plus programs the university is offering.
“I hope they take the time out to self reflect,” she said, “you have to — it’s a necessary evil and sometimes you’re just going to look at yourself and say ‘Gosh, I suck,’ but you can change it.”
She also said that she hopes Southern students will “take the time out to see the world outside of themselves” and ask themselves about “what they contribute in their actions or inactions.”
Lin said why she was so adamant about bringing the program to Southern in the spring of 2005 and why it is so important that students across campus and colleges across the nation spread the message of the 64 Days of Non-violence.
“Because true education,” said Lin, “isn’t really education until you make the world a better place.”