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Empathy Speaks: challenging violence through words and art

Human rights activists, politicians and artists will share their views on how to work towards a non-violent Aotearoa/New Zealand at a special event in Auckland marking the UN International Day of Non-Violence next week.

The artists collective Art for Change presents Empathy Speaks - an evening of compelling speakers, live music and poetry on Wednesday, October 2 at Depot Artspace, Devonport.

Empathy Speaks is part of Art for Change’s fundraising exhibition project Nourishing the Roots of Empathy: Towards a Non-Violent Aotearoa/New Zealand, which runs at Depot Artspace until October 9.

“With so many stories in the media about family violence, abuse and bullying, we often feel powerless to bring about change,” says Art for Change manager Brenda Liddiard. “Empathy helps dissolve the borders that separate people. It helps us to understand difference and recognise that our emotions are universal – that we’re all connected.”

Two years ago, Art for Change ran a highly successful art exhibition raising money to support refugees in Aotearoa. This year it chose to support the charity Roots of Empathy, which runs a unique anti-bullying programme in schools throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. Ms Liddiard says the work of Roots of Empathy is particularly important in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Empathy Speaks keynote speakers include Jan Logie, Green MP and Undersecretary to Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues); Dr Robbie Francis, director/co-founder of The Lucy Foundation; Dr Simon Rowley, paediatrician specialising in neonatal brain development, and Judy Mulder, Roots of Empathy coordinator at Pinehill School. Live music will be provided by Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard.

The International Day of Non-Violence is celebrated on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

For more information: www.artforchange.net


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