Jackson J. Paye, chairman of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) Board of Governors, over the weekend admonished students to shun violence if results in the upcoming (October) elections do not favor a particular candidate of their choice.
Violence, Mr. Paye said, often results to the likelihood of harm, deaths, and psychological injuries that have the propensity to create mal-development or deprivation for decades to come.
Mr. Paye’s admonition was contained in his remarks at the program marking the 88th founding anniversary of the BWI on the main campus in Kakata, Margibi County under the theme, “BWI at 88: Appreciating the Past, Strengthening the Present and Nourishing the Future.”
Mr. Paye said with presidential and legislative elections “around the corner, Liberians, especially the youth including the students must learn to engage into positive activities that would enhance peace rather than remaining idle and resorting to violence whenever results are announced.”
Globally, Mr. Paye said research showed that violence resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1.28 million people in 2013, up from 1.13 million in 1990.
He said of the 2013 deaths, roughly 842,000 were attributed to self-harm (self-destruction), 405,000 to interpersonal violence, and 31,000 to collective violence and legal intervention. In Africa, according to Mr. Paye, out of every 100,000 people each year an estimated 60.9 die a violence-related death.
“Furthermore, violence often has lifelong consequences for physical and mental health and social functioning and can slow economic and social development,” the Board chair added.
As for BWI, Mr. Paye said the institution will shortly become not only self sustainable in food production, but will also sell food to members of neighboring communities as part of activities the administration has introduced to ensure that BWI remains a center of excellence.
Earlier, the guest speaker, Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, told the audience that to correctly craft the future for which Liberians aspire, they would need to appreciate the past and then accurately assess the present.
“Without a good appreciation of the past and acknowledgement of the present, one is bound to have a distorted view of what the future should be,” Boakai said.
To the appreciation of his audience, VP Boakai said, “It is our traditional communal setting in our rural villages – the sages warn us that there is wisdom in sitting on the old mat, while plaiting the new one.”
The past, he said, is an obvious repository of lessons that will inform our present actions as “we sharp our future.”
BWI’s 88th Founder’s Day activities started on Thursday, June 22, with community service, which witnessed the graduation of over 30 young women in pastry making, enhanced training of the BWI security guard service, and staff development.
It was climaxed on Sunday, June 25 with thanksgiving and a religious service on the main campus.