This weekend (April 23-26) was Peace Jam for the Upper Mid West. Youth from the region gathered in Minneapolis at the U and at Green Central Gym to celebrate service learning they have participated in all year. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, journeyed from Guatemala to celebrate with these young people, to speak and share a dream of healing and reconciliation especially in communities torn by racism and violence. This is important to Rigoberta because of her own journey through the 30 years uprising in Guatemala that allowed for torture, abuse, rape and genocide of her Mayan people. She lost her father, mather and brother in the war and through all the trauma and trouble, she determined to be a voice for the forgotten and perpetually pushed-aside poor.
Saturday night, at the Cultural Celebration, there was traditional Mayan dance and performances by youthrive LIVE! artists, myself included. Thanks to local hip-hop artist Mike Dreams for capturing this moment...the very end is my favorite part.
Monday, we spent a few hours with Rigoberta at the Red Wing Correctional Facility in Red Wing, MN for a Day of Peace, essentially bringing Peace Jam to the young men residing there. She presented in the morning and after workshops and lunch, she shared closing remarks, and Youthrive LIVE! artists performed for the residents at the Facility. I opened with Bob Marley's Redemption Song and went into my new version of Dreams, now called We Have a Dream. Rigoberta says one of the things she values most in life is being able to dream. Because in the darkest time, she could dream of a brighter and more hopeful future. So everyone snapped their fingers as I slapped the guitar strings and we all sang to Rigoberta in gratitude: "We, oh we have a dream, and we'll make it, make it come true, oh me and you."
It was truly an honor to have met her and I'm so grateful for these beautiful moments of redemption, peace and big imagination for the brighter and more hopeful future we can create and share together.
MORE PHOTOS FROM PEACE JAM at the PHOTO GALLERY!