IPP Peacemaker of the Year

Interfaith Paths to Peace (IPP), a Louisville-based interfaith peacemaking organization has awarded its 2012 “Louisville Peacemaker of the Year Award” to Christopher 2x, an accomplished Louisville peacemaker and social entrepreneur. The Peacemaker of the Year Award is presented by IPP and Carolyn King in the name of her son, the late Richard Hunt Smith.

The award was presented at IPP’s third annual “My Recipe for Peace” dinner which was held at The Temple on Thursday night, July 12. In making the presentation, Terry Taylor, Executive Director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, cited the work of Christopher 2x as a first responder in dealing with violent crime in the streets, his service to the families of both victims and perpetrators, and his efforts to bring the families of victims and perpetrators together to heal the emotional and spiritual wounds they share.

Christopher 2X is head of the Fight Crimes Against Children Partnership, a group that advocates for fighting crimes against young people and raising awareness around child safety issues. He works closely with community groups, law enforcement and religious leaders to address the problem of violence in the streets of Louisville, to heal the emotional and spiritual wounds suffered by those affected by violence, and to find ways to reduce and eliminate violence in our community.

During the program, 10 leaders in peacemaking, representing different organizations and faith groups, spoke briefly on the theme, “My Recipe for Peace,” and each provided a recipe for a vegetarian dish that was prepared for the dinner. The recipes were distributed to those in attendance.

The presenters were Rabbi Gaylia Rooks of The Temple; Muhammad Babar, a physician representing Louisville’s Pakistani-American community; Martin Brooks, regional director of Peace Catalyst International; Geshe Kelsang Rapgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist monk and resident teacher at Depung Gomang Institute; and Libby Mills, executive director of Restorative Justice Louisville.

Also, Dianne Timmering, vice president for spirituality for Signature Healthcare; Ziao Yin Zhao, executive director of the World Affairs Council of Louisville and Southern Indiana; Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith Ministries; Rita Philips, interim operations manager of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage; and Brian Riendeau, excutive director of Dare to Care Food Bank.

Rabbi Rooks compared peacemaking to chunky gazpacho, the recipe she provided, in which the different vegetables come together to make one dish, but each retains its unique texture and flavor. She views America the same way – not as a melting pot where everyone is blended together contributing to one melded culture, but rather as chunky gazpacho where the different cultures retain their uniqueness, adding spice and interest to society.

Each of the other speakers talked about peacemaking from his/her unique cultural perspective.

Richard Hunt Smith, for whom the Peacemaker of the Year award is named taught at Cone Elementary School in Greensboro, NC, where most of the students he served were African Americans who faced enormous economic challenges. He empowered these youngsters by his example. Together they shared kindness, mutual respect, and joy.

Smith died in 2009 at the age of 31. His life serves as a powerful model of what each of us can accomplish when we strive to be fully human.

Interfaith Paths to Peace (IPP), a nonprofit organization based in Louisville, works to make our community, the nation, and the world more peaceful by bringing people of different religions together through programs and events that promote inter-religious understanding. For more information about Interfaith Paths to Peace, go to http://paths2peace.org/.

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