photo credit: The San-Diego Union-Tribune
A video I recently watched of Ken Nwadike at a Charlotte demonstration really touched me. Amidst words of hatred and frustration, Ken was speaking words of love and peace. While protestors were rioting, Ken was giving hugs. This is a very difficult time for our country and Ken is doing his part to unite people through love and teach that hatred will not solve any of our problems.
In learning more about Ken, I turned to his Facebook page, Free Hugs Project. He has over 800,000 followers which helps to show that there are many people listening to messages like his and wanting to create a world that is kinder. Ken explains that "the Free Hugs Project is an initiative that spreads love, inspires change and raises awareness of social issues through motivational videos."
As a husband and father at the age of 34, Ken started his mission when he attended the Boston Marathon to give out free hugs. He was moved by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and was determined to participate in the race. Unfortunately he was just short of qualifying so he decided to attend and pass out hugs instead. I always believe the universe has bigger plans for us than what we envision! So while it was unfortunate that Ken did not qualify, I believe this very event set in motion this project that is spreading a message and reaching so many more people than running in a race ever could.
Since that day Ken has continued to attend races and pass out love and kindness wearing his signature "FREE HUGS" shirt. Recently he took a break from his Free Hug videos at race events and started focusing more on national topics of the presidential elections and police brutality. When attending events focused around these topics, Ken's sole mission is to encourage people to come from a common ground of love and kindness rather than hatred. Several of his videos have gone viral and you can find them over at his Facebook page.
We are definitely living in challenging times. Spewing of hatred has become more common and somehow acceptable. My heart often aches wondering how we as a society got to this point. How we somehow started believing that the bad actions of one person somehow means that the whole segment is bad. Whether race, gender, nationality, group, or profession, there will always be bad seeds but I remain adamant that further hatred will not solve any of our problems. There are many, many good people out there and we can not rule out a whole segment of our society by the bad acts of a few. I commend Ken Nwadike for standing up and encouraging others to start our conversations from a place of kindness. It is when we unite from a place of love that we can begin to work on creating more peace in our world.
It is my hope that we continue to see people like Ken emerge and continue the dialogue of working together instead of fighting against each other. Because hugs are so much more fun that fighting!
I'd love to continue this discussion, join me in the comments and let me know what you think of what Ken is doing!