“This Light that Pushes Me”

In the week that marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, on Wednesday 9 April Quakers in Britain launch an extraordinary book and exhibition of photographs: “This Light that Pushes Me”.  African peacebuilders relate their journey from violence to healing to activism. The exhibition runs until 8 May at Friends House, 173 Euston Road (opposite Euston Station) London, NW1 2BJ.

The book and exhibition feature Quaker peacebuilders from sub-Saharan Africa.  All are Quakers or involved with Quaker work and all have experienced violence.  Using photographs and personal testimonies, “This Light that Pushes Me” traces the journeys that have transformed that suffering into a force for social change.  Over 40 peacebuilders in Africa offered their stories and conducted many of the interviews with one another. Laura Shipler Chico, Programme Manager for Quaker Peace and Social Witness’s East Africa programme, gathered and edited these stories.

Speaking about the inspiration for the project, Laura Shipler Chico says: “Weaving throughout these stories is the belief that somewhere within our imperfect selves, however hidden under layers of grief, loss, tragedy, hurt, and disillusion, there is something good, something wise, something knowing.  And it is this Divine kernel that pushes us to keep struggling to fix our broken world; to transform hurt and grief and the human lust for vengeance into something new, into a commitment to peace no matter the cost. This book invites us to do what the peacebuilders in this book have been striving to do for a long time: listen – with simplicity – for the truth.  And when we hear it, let us walk side by side right into the heart of hurt, the deep and frightening darkness, and look for light.”

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