Nonviolence events scheduled for Tuesday nights through February

The first nonviolence event held at WCU in February, also a part of the university’s lineup of Black History Month events, included a showing of the film “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four” and a discussion. The film tells the story of four college freshmen who staged a sit-in to protest segregation practices in Greensboro in 1960. Their actions are remembered through this monument that stands on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University.

Nonviolence is being promoted through a series of events being held on the Western Carolina University campus on Tuesday nights through February, with programs featuring communication training, Cherokee perspectives on nonviolence, and a panel discussion and choral celebration.

The programs are supported by the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the Department of Intercultural Affairs and the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

A program set for 5 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in Conference Room B of Blue Ridge Hall will offer nonviolent communication training facilitated by Nick Pearl. Pearl has been teaching conflict resolution, nonviolent communication and behavior management for more than 13 years. The program will explore how the human brain works and allow participants to practice skills to encourage authentic communication and promote safety, even when faced with direct racism, sexism and bigotry.

A panel discussion on the topic “Nonviolence and Hope for a New Day: Cherokee and Indigenous Views” will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center. Speakers will include Freida Saylor, director of the Analenisgi Program at Cherokee Indian Hospital, and Tom Belt, coordinator of WCU’s Cherokee Language Program.

The final event, set for Feb. 27, will begin with a panel discussion on nonviolence from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the UC theater, followed by a choral celebration from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in Illusions at the UC.

Nick Pearl

Participants in the panel discussion will include Pearl and two faculty members from the Department of Philosophy and Religion, David Henderson and Jeffrey Vickery.

The choral celebration, part of WCU’s Black History Month events, will feature WCU’s Inspirational Gospel Choir, Concert Choir and University Chorus. The program will begin with a pre-concert talk by Allison Thorp, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at WCU, and Pam DeGraffenreid, director of the WCU Bookstore and adviser to the Inspirational Choir.

After the three vocal ensembles perform, they will combine voices to sing important choral works of African-American history, including “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome.”

“Oppression often works in a society by dehumanizing people,” Thorp said. “The wonder of music is that it has the power to re-humanize. You can’t listen to someone sing or perform someone’s composition without sensing the humanity inherent to the music. This makes singing a potent form of activism, and we are so glad to join with the Inspirational Choir in this choral celebration.”

The first Tuesday night program in the series, also a part of WCU’s commemoration of Black History Month, was held Feb. 6 and included a showing of the film “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four” and a discussion. The film tells the story of four college freshmen who staged a sit-in at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro in 1960 to protest segregation practices.

All the Tuesday night events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Amy McKenzie in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at or 828-227-3852.