Center holds first day of ‘Kingian’ summer training

Published 12:29 am Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation started the five-day Kingian Nonviolence Train the Trainer Summer Institute on Monday. The center welcomed Civil Rights Leader Dr. Bernard Lafayette to lead the discussions. Lafayette was a friend and constituent of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The two fought side by side for many years, against injustices amongst minorities. He said his last conversation with King before his assassination in 1968 led to him starting the trainings.

“The last words he said to me were, ‘Lafayette, the next movement we’re gonna have is to nationalize and institutionalize nonviolence’,” Lafayette said.

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Even in death, Lafayette said King’s message still lived on. He said he was proud to carry the torch left by such a great leader.

“I had to decide what I was going to do with my life, because I regretted so deeply they had taken Martin Luther King Jr. from us, but they didn’t take away his message,” Lafayette said.

For the last 50 years, Lafayette has been carrying Dr. King’s vision of institutionalized nonviolence into fruition.

“Martin Luther King had the idea very clear in his head, that one way to end the violence throughout our community and the country is that people had to learn nonviolence,” Lafayette said. “That’s why we call it Kingian nonviolence. It’s drawn from Martin Luther King’s thinking.”

Lafayette has since implemented the nonviolence training programs in institutions all around the world. He said having the nonviolence training in Selma was particularly special because of its historical background.

“The importance of having the nonviolence training in Selma is because Selma has such historic significance because of its contribution to the Civil Rights Movement,” he said. “[Selma] produced the direct action program that led to the bill that protects the right to vote.”

Executive director of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation Ainka Jackson said her expectations for the first day of training were met. She said not only were there local citizens present at the training, but there were participants from multiple parts of the nation.

“We’re very excited things are going well,” she said. “People are spirited, and learning and engaged and that’s what we want.”

All participants will receive a Level 1 trainer certification at the end of the training.