Local, International Peacemakers to be Honored on 9/11

While a hateful pastor and congregation in Florida plan to burn Qurans on Saturday, September 11, 2010, the Greater Lansing Peace Community is planning to honoring two notable peacemakers, one from Lansing and one from India.

Father Peter Dougherty of the Lansing-based Michigan Peace Team and Shri Lavanam Goparaju of Atheist Center, India, will be honored at a 3 p.m. banquet at the Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road, East Lansing.  Both peacemakers received the prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Award in Mumbai, India, in November 2009.  The award is given to people who do exemplary work for world peace and social justice.  This time mid-Michigan will have benefit of sharing time with both dignitaries.

Father Peter Dougherty

Father Dougherty is nationally and internatially known as a teacher and trainer of nonviolent conflict resolution. He is a co-founder of the Michigan Peace Team and has worked social justice for many decades.  On Saturday, Father Doughtery will make a presentation, “New Vistas for Peace.”

Shri Lavanam Goparaju will speak on “Economic Regeneration.”  He is well known his social work for the poor people in India, as the director of the  Atheist Center, and as a Senior Gandhian.  Goparaju has received many national and international awards for the rehabilitation of criminal tribes, as well as for rescuing young girls forced into prostitution.

The event is being organized by the International Service Society (ISS) based out of Okemos, Michigan.  Tickets are $20 and may be attained by contacting the ISS at 517-337-7888.

In 2007, I interviewed Father Dougherty about his peace work and the co-founding of the Michigan Peace Team. My audio podcast with him can be heard here:

Earlier this year, I interviewed Father Dougherty extensively about his views on peace, nonviolence, and the Jamnalal Bajaj Award.  He talks about the award in the video below.  In other video segments, Father Dougherty talked about war and empire, transforming society, raising social consciousness, Michael Moore, fear, living your values, American power structure, and nonviolence.

Tom Rico blogs under the name "Rico Thomas Rico" and he is that rare combination of blogger, activist, hockey player, and ailurophile. He hails originally from Saginaw, Michigan USA and currently works out of Lansing. Tom is the current co-chair of the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing and is active with Mid-Michigan Democracy for America (MMDFA).

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