The Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence was founded in 1988 to address growing race-based violence and anti-Semitic attacks throughout Westchester County. Twenty-eight years later we have broadened our work and still carry it forward. Inspired by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, we facilitate nonviolent action for social justice and we learn and teach nonviolence as a way of life.
Since its formation, the MLK Institute for Nonviolence has brought nonviolence to youth and young adults: through conflict resolution programs in Ossining schools, for example; working closely with artist and educator Lord Judah to give young adults the chance to create hip-hop music based on principles of nonviolence; and bringing counter-military recruitment to local schools and church groups. We hold an annual "Ending Violence, Building Hope" conference at Manhattanville College to establish open dialogue between law enforcement officers and young people. Our free lending library for the public, the MLK Freedom Library, offers a unique and inspiring collection to all ages, and features special programs and events for children and youth.
The MLK Institute works with many organizations throughout Westchester County, particularly collaborating with the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform and the Interfaith Connection on events and programs to emphasize dialogue and community organizing to effect sustainable change.
We believe that nonviolence grows both through resistance to injustice and in the hearts of individuals, and creates ripples of influence and change as it is practiced in daily living. At our annual Celebration of Champions we celebrate organizations that reflect the ethic of nonviolence through the impact of their community work in social justice and advocacy.
Our goal is to create safe spaces in our communities that empower youth and adults, and support inclusiveness, courage and peace. Through collaborative relationships, we advocate for justice, equity and shared power for all. Our work increases awareness about violence in our communities and the power of using nonviolent alternatives.