At the extreme last minute, on a trip sponsored by Mullen Technologies Electric Cars, Alex Ayzin, peace activist and creator of Winds of Freedom Symphony & Multi-Media Presentations, and Dennis Mathews, an African-America U.S. Marine disabled and former federal weapons contractor, attended the 2017 Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta, June 9-10, at the Georgia World Congress Center. This unlikely pair, a Soviet defector from a third-generation naval family and a combat veteran Marine who is a high-tech inventor moving into VA Tele-Health Medicine, were on a mission to spread a message of peace and freedom by telling their stories, bringing attention to Ayzin’s Winds of Freedom and forming alliances with like-minded individuals and organizations.
About 26,000 attendees were scheduled to attend the full Rotary International Convention, June 10-14, while the keynote speakers at the weekend 2017 Presidential Peace Conference were Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General for the United Nations. Dennis Mathews, whose company live streams events all over the world, www.LiveStreamers.com, and Alex Ayzin met Dr. King while she was signing her father’s book, Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos, and Amina Mohammed, executives from The Carter Center, a Hiroshima survivor and heard Bill Gates talk about his generous donations to eradicate polio around the world.
One particularly fascinating speaker, Dr. Houda Abadi, Associate Director at Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, laid out with detailed graphics how ISIS (Daesh) recruits young boys and girls, inducts them into the jihadist philosophy and then trains them in methods to inflict death and suffering on innocent men, women, and children. She talked about the rise of ISIS (Daesh), its global impact, use of social media for recruitment and propaganda dissemination and measures for addressing radicalization and the response of Muslim communities in the West. Ayzin and Mathews met Abadi, a brave woman indeed, after her speech in their efforts to find working partners such as fine organizations like The Carter Center.
During one session, when the discussion centered around military intervention to prevent human rights abuses, there was an open mic and Ayzin, with nudging from Mathews, got up and briefly told the story about his family’s escape from Soviet tyranny in 1979, the creation and existence of the Winds of Freedom Symphony & Multimedia Presentations in his effort to bring a message of peace and hope to the world. The crowd gave him a round of applause after hearing the story about his family defecting from the Soviet Union in their quest to live in freedom and peace.
The capstone of their brief, unexpected journey as roving peace activists was a visit to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, the Freedom Hall, the restored house where King was raised and the final resting place of King and wife beloved wife, Coretta Scott King. The inscriptions on their markers respectively are “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last” and from First Corinthians, 13:13, “And Now Abide, Faith, Hope, Love, These Three; but the greatest of these is Love.”
Alex Ayzin was particularly moved by the experience of visiting the King memorials and it gave him pause to think that their journey to Atlanta, fraught with last-minute preparations, blown plane reservations, and frustrating timetables, was a gift from God. Dennis Mathews pushed him hard to attend and, against his own feelings, Ayzin took the plunge and it was well worth all the hassle and experience everything involved.
They met fascinating people, learned a lot and, most importantly, returned home inspired to keep fighting the good fight, just the U.S. Marines do every day all around the world.
Winds of Freedom Visits MLK Monuments to Peace
Alex Ayzin is seen here contemplating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at his boyhood home in Atlanta, which was burned down and then reconstructed as a monument to his struggle for civil rights, peace and nonviolent change.