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Bethlehem, Pa., April 10, 2008—Moravian College will host a Rally for a Hate-Free America on Thursday, April 17 in the Pavilion of the Haupert Union Building. Throughout the rally, there will be music, poetry, and reflections from members of the community. The keynote speaker will be former hate group member Tom Martinez who will speak at 7 p.m. about his personal experiences. The event is free of charge and open to the public.
Participatory activities begin at 5 p.m. when the Jamani Drummers will lead a “Drumming Circle.” Everyone is invited to bring a drum or percussion instrument to join in the drumming. Those attending the rally will also have the opportunity to create a quilt square with a personal message about peace. “The program is meant to make a statement about the need to live in a society that doesn’t perform mean-spirited and hateful acts against one another but one that practices compassion and understanding,” said Sharon Brown, director of the Office of Institutional Diversity at Moravian.
The keynote speaker Martinez grew up poor, white, and angry in Philadelphia. He was drawn to the hate-filled world of Bob Mathews, founder of one of the most violent racist societies in America, called The Order. The charismatic Mathews led Martinez into a world of counterfeiting, knowledge of bombings, robbery, murder, and, finally, horrified awareness. His autobiography, Brotherhood of Murder, in which he tells the riveting story of his experiences in the group and how he regained his conscience and manhood by going undercover for the FBI to bring The Order down, was hailed as an inside look into the subculture of hate and was turned into a Showtime Original Picture. Foregoing the security of the Witness Protection Program, he now journeys across the country a marked man, risking his life to warn of the dangers of the neo-Nazi right. Martinez will share his story about his life and what transformed him into an advocate for a hate-free world.
Following Martinez’s speech, the evening will culminate with a candle lighting ceremony and inspirational words from the interfaith community at the campus Peace Pole. Music will be performed by the New Beginnings Here & Now, Performing Arts Center, and the LEPOCO Peace Singers.
The rally is sponsored by Moravian’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Art Department, IMPACT, Moravian Theological Seminary Diversity Committee, Spectrum, Moravian College Theatre Company, Chaplin’s Office, and USG. Other sponsors include LEPOCO Peace Center (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern), and YWCA of Bethlehem.
For further information, contact the Office of Institutional Diversity at 610 625-7847.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts collegelocated in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.