CLEVELAND -- Northeast Ohioans are being urged to take a pledge of peace and non-violence in the wake of the Chardon shootings.
Paramjit Singh, who came from India to Cleveland in 1962, has been working since then to promote the philosophy of peace and non-violence as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In October, 2010, on Gandhi's birthday, Singh proposed that Cleveland officially become a Peace City. The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago accepted the proposal and declared Cleveland the world's 73rd Peace City.
Singh asked then that residents of Northeast Ohio pledge themselves to use peaceful means to right wrongs and establish a culture of humanity, justice, peace, and non-violence. The shootings at Chardon High School has Singh renewing that call.
"What happened in Chardon prompted me to ask Greater Clevelanders to place their names, pledging to treat everyone the way they would like to be treated," Singh said.
He has helped create a Cyber Wall of Peace and Non-violence, where residents of Northeast Ohio can sign a pledge and add their names on the website.
So far, about 600 people have signed the online pledge, but Singh would like that to grow to 250,000 by October 2, 2012, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.
"Our Cyber Wall of Peace and Non-Violence is similar to the Wall of Tolerance at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama," Singh pointed out, "and that Wall of Tolerance has over half a million names."
Singh says the time has never been better for people to commit themselves to peace.
"I have never seen such a gunslinging culture as this," lamented Singh. And he says Northeast Ohio is the perfect place to restore a culture of non-violence.
"This is the only city in the world that has a statue of Gandhi on Martin Luther King Drive," Singh points out. "All the more reason to honor the legacy of those two legends who changed the face of the earth."