Ernest Hemingway said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” John resembled that remark in a 2016 trip to Ghana, Africa.
From June 24-25, 2016, John attended his first “Peace Jam” conference in Accra, Ghana. It was start of his affiliation with a great cause known as Peace Jam, which pairs Nobel Laureate with school ages children to show them we are one world and all of us can make a difference. His experience was written about here- https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=547875.
The keynote speaker was Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee. She was born to war torn Liberia. She fled to Ghana as a refugee where she slept on the earth and missed her home despite its problems. She ultimately went back and started a movement. First she handed out flyers, stating, “We are tired! We are tired of our children being killed! We are tired of being raped! Women, wake up – you have a voice in the peace process!” She then rallied the women of Liberia to join her. They conducted sit-ins, interlocking arms and remaining seated in government hallways. “The peace hall has been seized by General Leymah and her troops,” one official once said. When anyone in charge tried to leave the hall, Leymah and her allies threatened to rip their clothes off. This doesn’t do her work justice and I encourage you to watch a documentary about her called, “Prey the Devil Back to Hell,” for more, but ultimately her crusade worked. Men put down arms. Reasonable minds prevailed. After nearly two decades of civil war, this women’s movement not only led to the end of the fighting but to the first ever elected woman leader of a country on the entire continent of Africa. Leymah Gbowee received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
John was also asked to share the story of a case he worked on. We represented the family of Jordan Davis, the teen killed over loud music, which was widely reported locally and nationally. The message John shared was about finding inspiration out of loss like his parents have. Sharing Jordan’s story 5000 miles from home was special. He also participated in an educational workshop. It was equally special.
John has a saying that if you come to find yourself as the smartest guy/gal in the room, it is time to find a different room. Leymah was the 1st of four Nobel Laureates John met in 2016.
Our office is always trying to learn and expand for our families and clients. We will always be looking for a different room to make our community a better place.