#Buffalo embraces the viral FREE HUGS PROJECT
Canalside was be the spotlight of LOVE & Peace on Saturday from 12pm-3pm.
“Come get a FREE HUG and maybe give one in return. Ken E. Nwadike Jr. of the FREE HUGS PROJECT has inspired a teacher, Husen Ali, from a Lackawanna Charter School, to gather a group of people, order t-shirts, make some signs, and head down to Canalside to spread love, not hate. In this trying time of dividing politics, hate crimes, and negativity, giving free hugs seems like a simple, yet complex, way to drive-out adversity. If you’re not a big hugger, due to personal space or germs, then high-fives, handshakes, friendly smiles, and compliments are also just as special!
Why FREE HUGS? Nwadike was hit hard emotionally following the Boston Marathon Bombings. He decided that the proceeding year, 2014, he’d go to Boston for the Marathon but instead of running, he’d offer free hugs and encouragement to the runners as a Peace Movement in the hope of love and unity. The welcoming response was overwhelming. He stated, “the attitudes people have, the biases they have, those can change when your hearts touch. When you embrace someone, and you feel good and they feel good, those walls can come down.” The reactions to his influence of love and positivity were paramount. This led Nwadike to attend rallies and protests, peacefully. He stated, “It was the first time I really realized that this was not just something the running community wanted to see. It was something the whole world wanted to see. So I started popping up at as many rallies as I could.” In addition, he has started races to help homeless shelters and homeless youth and he is a motivational speaker.
Why Buffalo? Ali believes, “the very idea that one man took it upon himself to offer the gift of love to others, through hugs, was beyond amazing. I have always believed that both love and kindness have the power to triumph anger and hate. Showing each other that we care, and giving someone a warm hug, can make all the difference. Buffalo is the city of good neighbors, and with all the chaos in the media I felt we needed a way to spread more love and kindness into the world. The Free Hugs Project does just that. Everyone has his or her own personal struggles, but my fear is that people are starting to lose faith in one another. I feel that compassion is on its way to being lost. But love, as always, is the cure. Giving people hugs will only take a moment of my time, but the memory and meaning of this project will stay with them forever.”
All are welcome on Saturday to give FREE HUGS with us! LOOK FOR THE PEOPLE WEARING THE “FREE HUGS” T-SHIRTS! You don’t need a shirt to be part of the group, we’ll have signs … or your smile can send the same message!” ~DanielleHuber (Dee)