War is the result of silence of majority of the good: Sri Sri

webSAN JOSE, CA: In the Bay Area, a campaign to create stress-free, violence-free communities was initiated in early February. A Launch Event was held on Sunday, March 24 at 4pm at the San Jose Convention Center, where Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gave the keynote address inspiring the campaigners to take action to combat violence around them through acts of non-violence.

Guest speakers included Dr James Doty, Founder of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and Dave Cortese, Supervisor, County of Santa Clara. Speakers spoke at length on the importance of compassionate service to build communities free of violence and stress.

The mission of this campaign is to lead a sustainable Bay Area-wide grassroots movement that brings together thousands of individuals from schools, non-profit organizations, corporations and the government in a collaborative effort to build a stress-free and violence-free society.

The Campaign has been endorsed by Ro Khanna, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce in Obama Administration and Vivek Paul, ex-CEO Wipro and a VC in Bay Area, as Ambassadors. Ash Kalra, Councilmember San Jose; Raj Salwan, Councilmember Fremont; Corey Gin, Leadership and Employee Enrichment Program (LEEP), California State University East Bay are wholeheartedly championing the cause. Many community leaders, Mayors of Cupertino, Fremont, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, city officials, and activists, participated at the event which was attended by over 8000 people from all over the Bay Area.

David Cortese currently serves the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, representing District 3 including Milpitas and parts of Sunnyvale and San Jose. He is the Supervisor of ‘The Corazon Project’ to get at risk, gang affiliated teenagers to help fight the cycle of violence within their own neighborhoods through methods and acts of non-violence in hopes to stop the violence that continues to plague their community. He spoke about the work carried out by his team and how they were responsible for bringing back over 1000 guns from the community in 3 years.

Dr James Doty spoke on how peace starts from oneself and transcends to the community. He said having connected with 1000 friends in Facebook doesn’t mean we are connected emotionally with them. Kindness allows species to survive, compassion is from heart were the key points reiterated by him in the event.

In his keynote address Sri Sri Ravishankar explained to the crowd how to get connected with our neighbors and involve ourselves in their joy and sorrow. He said war is the result of silence of majority of many good people. Voice of non-violence and sanity should be heard loud and clear. He spoke of his dream on being a “Global Family” with no discrimination of race, color or sex.

Recent inhuman incidents in United States and India have made him work against the issue of crime and violence.

He reiterated on a no-arms society and asked people to come out of the virtual world and communicate in person which would help remove the sense of insecurity in the society.

Since its initiation in early February, the Stress Free, Violence Free Campaign has seen over 11,000 acts of non-violence by over 3000 campaigners all across the Bay Area. Non-profit organizations such as International Association for Human Values (IAHV), the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, Carry the Vision, Silicon Valley FACES, Ever Forward Club, Vision Literacy, Stillheart Institute, Peninsula Jewish Community Center, have joined hands for the coalition, and many more are joining every day.

Major Silicon Valley corporations are not only helping spread the word about the campaign but also encouraging their employees to join the campaign. Some are offering to sponsor the tickets to attend the launch event. Among the companies that have partnered are Brocade, Intel, Symantec, Bloom Energy, Cisco, Applied Materials, Juniper Networks and Nvidia.

Over 300 volunteers are working to make this dream come true in the Bay Area. A number of pre-launch events have taken place. On March 9, there was a conference in Fremont for a “Safe and Peaceful Fremont”, which was attended by many local officials including Interim Chief Richard Lucero of Fremont Police Department, Councilmember Raj Salwan, non-profit organizations (Rodney Clark of SAVE and Gayathri Sundar of Narika), school board members (Desrie Campbell and Lily Mei of FUSD), and citizens. They all agreed that authorities alone couldn’t create a safer environment. It has to be done through a collaboration of all citizens of the city.

The campaign aims to lead a sustainable grassroots movement that brings together thousands of individuals, non-profit organizations, corporations, and the government in a collaborative effort to build a stress-free, violence-free community.

“We want to create a community where every member feels connected to a greater whole, and is empowered to create positive change around them,” said Sridhar Suri Dasika, a software engineer and a volunteer with the Art of Living Foundation who is also Campaign Manager, Bay Area. “We will do this by engaging everyday people into compassionate action, inspiring them to stand together as a collective force of change, in turn creating waves of positive change in the community,” he added.

About Art of Living
The Art of Living Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) educational and humanitarian organization founded by spiritual leader and humanitarian Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Sri Sri’s initiatives have benefited more than 30 million people worldwide.

The Foundation is one of the UN’s largest volunteer-based NGOs, and works in special consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council, participating in a variety of committees and activities relating to health, education, sustainable development, conflict resolution, and disaster relief.

About Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and an ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living.

Vidya Sethuraman 
India Post News Service

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