Reno faith leaders and concerned community members gathered at City Plaza Friday, April 20 for a rally against violence.
Three black pillars were placed in the plaza and sticky notes were attached with messages, answers, and questions. While some of the notes were pre-written by people from throughout Reno, many passersby added their own notes as well. The columns quickly became covered in the brightly colored messages changing them from black obelisks to towers of color.
Event attendees partook in a variety of interactive discussions that challenged people’s perceptions of violence. For instance, in one discussion people were asked to decide on whether a situation was violent or non-violent and physically go to one side or another to show their opinion.
One discussion question went along the lines of, “If Sally offended John and in response John refused to acknowledge Sally in any way, is John being violent?” Despite similar interest among participants in attending a rally against violence, this question split them into various camps. One side argued that refusing to acknowledge another person is a form of violence, while the other side argued that sometimes you have to make the tough choice to cut a negative person out of your life.
This question, among others, gave participants a chance to discuss a variety of views on what constitutes violence.
While some passersby criticized participants as a group of “rose-colored glasses, world peace hippies,” if they had stayed to participate they may have been surprised by the intellectual and philosophical discussions taking place.
Local faith leaders were also encouraged to talk to the audience. While each faith represented has its own unique elements, the speakers were consistent in the message that we as citizens can bring peace to our own communities.
The only distraction from the event was another nearby rally for veganism with a small group a five people wearing Guy Fawkes masks.