Move Through Fear to Inspire

This Week in Peace Chronicles the exciting adventures of San Jose's own Dancer of Peace, Khalilah Ramirez. Written under divine inspiration, the column contains true stories of peace encounters in your neighborhood. In this edition, the Dance of Peace participated in a youth algebra camp, bringing a much welcomed break from calculations!

Greetings, thanks for reading! This week brought the dance of peace to Maranatha Christian Center's Algebra Camp for youth ages 9-15. It was celebrating its 5th year of community service. This organization has established a successful program, which provides education, meals and field trips at no cost for families. The program is supported by grants and a vast number of generous volunteers.

Thanks to Akoma Arts founder, Keith Hames, the students had the opportunity to explore the wonders of drumming and dance. This broadened the scope of  their education, as well as provided a welcome break from hours of Algebra. Their introduction to drumming and dance also expands their cultural awareness, contributing to an enriched knowledge of the world around them. This is one of the numerous ways that everyone involved increased the vibration of peace. Learning from and about each other helps to build the foundation for peace.

Each day, we learned three new dances. We practiced them repeatedly along with breathing exercises and yoga. Each person took a turn drumming for the group. These teens were fully expressive with their talents and their personalities! They eagerly volunteered to help with tasks. They voted in a daily 'Hip Hop Break' where we all cheered each other on while we beat boxed, 'dabbed' and 'hit the Quan'. Epic!

On the last day, we read the book, “The Peace Dancer.” The kids were excited when they realized that I was the author. The group listened intently and asked relevant questions:
“Is this a human being talking to a cat?”

“Yes. It's fiction,” I replied.

“Aren't black cats bad luck?”

“No, they're not,” I said. 

My question to them: “What is a peace dancer and what might that person do?”

One brave youth replied, “A peace dancer is someone who tries to show peaceful feelings when they dance.”


August 5th was the culmination ceremony. Students gave speeches, received awards and displayed their new skills for their families. I had the honor of talking to an elder who was watching her great granddaughter graduate from the program. She was an inspiring example of commitment and endurance. Later, a teen in the program uplifted everyone by offering a prayer at dinner. Yes, a certified teenager voluntarily offered to pray in front of his friends! This was courageous. It bolstered my faith in the future. He said, “Thanks! It was scary!” We laughed heartily as he wiped his brow. May we all have similar courage to move through our fear in the hope of inspiring others. Thanks and see you out there!

(Image by Adrian Avila)

Check Out More of This Week in Peace Column:

The Truth About Life Is That It Is All Connected

You Must Shine as You

Let Freedom Reign 

This article is part of the categories: Arts & Culture  / Community  / San Jose//South Bay 
This article is part of the tags: Akoma Arts  / Khalilah Ramirez  / Maranatha Christian Center's Algebra Camp  / Peace  / Peace Dancer  / San Jose Peace Dancer 


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