Lawrence Tech unveils Peace Pole
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
President Lewis Walker was joined by representatives of several student organizations in unveiling Lawrence Tech’s new Peace Pole at a Jan. 19 ceremony to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
The first Peace Pole was erected in Japan in 1955 by Mashisha Goi. Each pole contains the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in different languages.
There are more than 100,000 Peace Poles in over 200 countries including the Pyramids, North Pole, Hiroshima, Gorky Park and the border between Israel and Jordan.
“Now Lawrence Tech has pole to remind us to seek peaceful resolutions to our problems. Being a very diverse campus, we selected eight different languages containing the words ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ for our pole,” Walker said.
The languages are English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Hebrew, French, Swahili, and Spanish.
The pole will be installed outside on the campus after the ground thaws.
Student leaders who participated in the Peace Pole ceremony were Dustin Franklin, Student Government president; Karthik Deveraj of the Indian Students Association; Taojie Hua (Bob) of the Hua Xia Chinese Student Union; Erica Walker, treasurer of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Erian O’Neal, president of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; Darcey Wilson, president of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; and Ahmed Aljabr, president of the Saudi Student Union.
Walker said it was appropriate to unveil the Peace Pole during a ceremony honoring King because working for peace was a major part of his ministry.
In 1983, President Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. It was first commemorated in 1986, and is celebrated annually on the third Monday in January. Lawrence Tech students perform a variety of community service projects in conjunction with the annual celebration of King’s legacy.
King is remembered by many for his “I have a dream speech” in 1963.
In 1964 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. At age 35, he was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In the last few years before his assassination on April 4, 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.
Dozens of students signed a personal pledge at the ceremony:
“In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, We pledge to do everything that we can to make America and the world a place where equality and justice, freedom, and peace will grow and flourish. We commit ourselves to living the dream by: Loving, not hating; Showing understanding, not anger; Making peace, not war.”
Walker congratulated the Lawrence Tech students who did community service projects in honor of King’s memory. “Through the projects you have undertaken, you have made life better for someone, or some group – fellow human beings with whom we share this great gift that we call life.
“Service to humankind and to our communities is important. Dr. King made it clear, telling us that, ‘We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,’” Walker said. “He was telling us that what we do together, and with and for each other, has an effect. Each of us as individuals has the ability within us to transform the lives of others for the better. … An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Walker noted that King provided an example of the leadership that has become part of the Lawrence Tech educational experience.
“It is easy to focus inward due to all the pressures and work-a-day concerns that consume us as we try to embark and advance in our jobs. Dr. King reminds us that there is more to life than that, there has to be, and that service to humankind has to be part of our path,” Walker said. “I would submit to you that among the qualities of great leaders are compassion and a willingness to serve others.”