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Season for Nonviolence Begins With Oath

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Rochester: Season for Nonviolence Begins With Oath
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A local group is working against the city's violence one day at a time. The season for nonviolence is an initiative that's taking place in 900 communities across the country.

The Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester can sometimes be a central spot for conflict.

"This is where the youth are. This is where all sorts of stuff goes down,” said Kit Miller, M.K.Ghandi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester.

Wednesday, it was a place for peace.

"On this day Jan 30 2013 I commit myself as best as I can to practice non-violence...."

A few dozen people gathered here pledging to practice nonviolence for the next 64 days.

"I feel like I've accomplished something,” said Meylifia Maviogha.

Their efforts kick start the season for non-violence. It's a nationwide push that goes from January to April.

"I think it's more and more critical especially in a world of shrinking natural resources. We have to get serious about being able to be independent with each other and we have a lot more people on the planet,” Miller said.

During that time, civic leaders and community members are encouraged to explore ways to create peace in the city.

The event, planned by the Ghandi Institute, also held a community conversation on the topic at the Interfaith Chapel.

"Thirtieth of January. We've had a pretty good winter and it’s helped us quite a bit with it being cold and people not being outside. Yesterday was a freak day for us and hopefully we'll go back into our winter months and get us through to April, and then we'll have to come out with some strategies to be able to hold it down through the remainder of the year,” said Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department.

The group’s effort comes on the heels of three shootings in the last two days. They include an officer involved shooting on State Street downtown Tuesday. Later that night, there was a homicide on Bartlett Street, and another shooting Wednesday on Hudson Avenue.

"Hopelessness. Hopeless people, reacting hopelessly. It just has to stop. It has to stop,” said David Dornford.

Dornford, a city resident and Vietnam veteran, says he's here with hopes that for at least the next 64 days, it will.

“If one person is individually affected and sees things in a different light, I think it's worth it."

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