Monday, January 28, 2008

Congratulations Dr. Lofgren!

I am proud to serve with Dr. Ruth Lofgren on the board of the AACOG (Alamo Area Council of Government) Criminal Justice Advisory Comittee. She is always a consensus builder and a valued voice on the committee.

Good going Dr. Lofgren and congratulations.

Group selects ecology pioneer as S.A.'s first peace laureate
Tracy Idell Hamilton: Express-News

San Antonio has its first peace laureate.

Dr. Ruth Lofgren, 91, an early pioneer in the field of ecology, was bestowed the new title Sunday evening during the peaceCENTER's fourth annual Blessing of the Peacemakers.

The blessing marks the start of the Season of Nonviolence, a 64-day campaign between the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. During the campaign, groups from around the world raise awareness of the power of nonviolence.
The idea of naming a "peace laureate" for the city grew out of "Soul of the Citizen," a conference convened in November to foster a dialogue about faith in public life.

"We're not, as a nation, very comfortable talking about the intersection of faith and politics," said the Rev. Ann Helmke, who led Sunday evening's blessing. "We wanted to foster that conversation."

From the conference came the idea of anointing someone in the community to be a voice for wisdom and experience, Helmke said. "So many of us are missing the connection to our elders. Ruth personifies that."

Lofgren, who came to San Antonio after a successful career as a scientific researcher and educator, has recently turned her still-sharp mind to the study of consciousness.
As the peace laureate, Lofgren will be available to speak to schools, faith groups and civic organizations, Helmke said. The peaceCENTER would also like to publish a book Lofgren hopes to write about her foray into the expanding study of consciousness.

"I want to be able to write about my search in a way that opens up my questions to the public," Lofgren said. "I want each person to find the creative, divinely guided self within them."
Lofgren is especially concerned with children, whom she first got close to when she taught science enrichment to troubled youths at a Quaker school in the 1970s.
It was there, she said, that she saw the healing power of the natural world work to relax young bodies tense with the various traumas of their situations.

Too many children are dulled by the demands of institutionalized learning, she said. "Even fourth-and fifth-graders, they're so passive already. They have no energy. They're shut down.
"I want to wake up parents, people in general," she said. "We have to stay whole to appreciate the individuality of people, the divine that comes through the mind."
Lofgren may be the first peace laureate anywhere.

Helmke said that when she told international organizers of the Season for Nonviolence about the idea, they were thrilled with it and may replicate it elsewhere.

San Antonio's peaceCENTER, an interfaith group working toward peace through prayer and education, has taken part in the Season for Nonviolence for almost a decade, Helmke said.

As part of the service, held in the Mennonite Church on South St. Mary's Street, the 70 or so who attended meditated on the concepts of community, commitment, compassion and clarity before hearing from Lofgren, who drew a standing ovation.