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Thank you, Dr. King

KIMBERLEY BANJOKO | 4/12/2011, 5:28 p.m.

As the world celebrates King Day on Monday, January 18, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King's (January 15) birthday, New York activists are taking the initiative to challenge inner-city violence and the impact on mostly urban communities. Grassroots organizations Life Camp Inc. is putting together a week of events, jam-packed with celebrities, parties, political figures and events. Deemed "Peace Week," which begins January 15, the company is dedicating seven days of activities that promote nonviolence amongst teens in New York City, in addition to helping those affected by thereof to improve their situations in the hopes of becoming successful.

"Life Camp Inc. is here to give young people a second chance," Erica Ford explained. "With the right tools, we can help them chose to be businessmen and entrepreneurs as opposed to being gang leaders."

LIFE Camp Inc. is a non-profit organization that helps students succeed in educational, financial and social settings. Founded by in 2002 by Ford, it was created in response to the omnipresence of violence in underprivileged communities. The idea for Peace Week stems off the occurrence of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and living up to his vision of peace within and between communities.

"The purpose of Peace Week is to bury the beef," Ford explained. "We see people in hip-hop promoting beef, but we want to actually help bury it. His vision was nonviolence, so can we at least live one week in peace?"

Companies such as The Source magazine and radio station Hot 97 have agreed to use their power and influence to support this cause. Furthermore, celebrities such as Gov. David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, State Sen. John Sampson, Russell Simmons, Wyclef Jean, Michael Strahan, Q-Tip, Angie Martinez, Rev. Al Sharpton, DJ Enuff and others have decided to lend their voices to call much-needed attention to this epidemic.

"The violence in our streets is consistently overlooked, and the innocent and should-be innocent are killed in our communities on an ongoing basis," said Russell Simmons, music mogul and businessman. "Peace Week is a great statement and start at acknowledging this fact, while showing that the community can exist without violence."

The company has scheduled events to occur all over New York City within each of the five boroughs. Some of the events include the Youth Step Championship 2009 "Stepping 4 Peace!," the Teen Summit at Diploma Plus High School, and the Celebrity Bowling Event "Striking Out Violence.

"I look at some of the kids who we've helped, and they've become successful young businesspeople under 25, having graduated from college early and really turning their lives around," said Ford. "We believe that the energy and commitment can begin the unleashing of community support that will sustain this so very important campaign."

For more information, call (917) 361-4376 or e-mail peaceweeknyc@lifecampinc.com.

List of events/activities:

Friday, January 15

Breakfast Press Conference Launching Peace Week

Peace Keepers Town Hall Meeting (Queens)

Saturday, January 16

National Action Network Morning Cipher (Harlem)

Peace Keepers Town Hall Meeting (Brooklyn)

Youth Step Championship 2009 Stepping 4 Peace!

Sunday, January 17

Teen Peace Party

Monday, January 18

Rev. Sharpton and National Action Network host Martin Luther Jr. Day Elected Officials Summit on Violence, Teen Summit (Diploma Plus High School, Coney Island, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, January 19

Celebrity Bowling Event: Striking Out Violence

Wednesday, January 20

I Love My LIFE Tour: Peace Edition (William H. Maxwell High School in East New York, Brooklyn, and Campus Magnet Cambria Heights, Queens)

Thursday, January 21

Urban Community Council Leadership Peace Meeting, Recording Bury Da Beef Compilation Song for Peace

Friday, January 22

Man Up Peace Ride