From its humble beginnings in Denver almost twenty years ago, PeaceJam has gone global, with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, thirteen Nobel laureates on its board and meetings around the world. But founders Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff haven't forgotten PeaceJam's local roots, and today, Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams (seen here) will visit Standley Lake High School to honor the small groups of students and teachers who in 2007 started "A Day Without Hate" as a first step to ending violence in schools.
"If you think about things that impact high schools today, many things come to mind," says co-founder Ben Reed. "Suicide, drunk driving and drugs. Those are major issues, but hate and violence in our schools affect each and every child that is in a school. This is an issue that each kid will experience or witness, and it is something that we can change. Our mission is to start a movement. We want to take a stand and show that we are sick of violence in our schools. Our goal is to stop it from the inside and go out. Letting students take the first step to making a difference and changing this."
For that first step, on the last Friday of April 2007, a sea of students dressed in white stood in solidarity to end violence, hate and racism. From there, A Day Without Hate has spread across the country, with over 120,000 students participated in twelve states this year.
In honor of its efforts, A Day Without Hate will be the recipient of PeaceJam's Global Call to Action Award for 2013, and Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977, will visit the school today. Tomorrow, A Day Without Hate will receive the award at the fifth annual PeaceJam Heroes Luncheon, which starts at noon in the Seawell ballroom; Williams will be the keynote speaker, and awards will also go to Dr. Vincent Harding and Cynda Collins Arsenault.
Find more information on the PeaceJam Heroes Luncheon here (the event is sold out). And for more on our hometown heroes who founded PeaceJam, watch this video:
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From the Wake-up Call archive: "Look out, Cherry Hills: The world is coming to Denver for a peace of the action."
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