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Department of Sociology and Anthropology
logoReba Parker/Sociology
Cultivating Global Peace at the Grassroots Level
By Link Leskosky

Professor Reba Parker has always had an inherent passion for social justice and what that means to society. She believes in global peace so strongly she doesn't just teach it in the classroom. As president of Charleston Peace One Day, she works tirelessly to bring awareness to global peace and ways to help achieve it.

As a sociology professor at the College of Charleston for the last 10 years, Parker
says she began her journey with Charleston Peace One Day after she found a video at a Hollywood video store that was closing one evening. At the time, she couldn't realize the impact the video would have on herself, her students and in inspiring her to spread the word of global peace throughout the Charleston area.

After watching the video, "Peace One Day", she felt compelled to share it with her students. The documentary highlighted the struggle one man went through to create an international cease fire peace day. Parker and her students would discuss why this international peace day isn't recognized in Charleston. Parker then took it upon herself to spread the cause and hasn't looked back since.

Her journey began in 2007 when her students set up a booth on campus to inform people about Peace One Day. The next year, she wanted to take it further into the community by hosting an event at Brittlebank Park. Around 600 people showed up to the event that featured guest speakers, bands and tents filled with information spreading the word about global peace.

"You can tell her passion and drive for Charleston Peace One Day comes from her
soul,"former student Omer Abramovich says. "Taking her class taught me how important it is to stand up for the things you believe in and fight to make our country a better place to live."

Parker's dedication to the cause has already paid off as the event size has doubled in the last two years. She hopes Charleston Peace One Day is creating awareness about global peace and she hopes there are humanitarian efforts that will take place throughout South Carolina as well as new educational curriculum that focus on peace studies that can be implemented in school systems and after-school programs for all ages.

Championing and leading this cause have changed Parker's life in more ways than just a much busier schedule. "My focus in teaching has changed considerably, without a
scholarly background in peace and justice studies, per se, I've had to refocus my
learning and teaching methods. Socially, this festival and Charleston Peace One Day
organization has changed the way people see me, I guess you would say my 'social
identity' is now focused around my work in this area," Parker says.

A native of Dallas, Tex., Parker graduated in psychology from Mary Hardin Baylor University and then went to graduate school at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. She came to Charleston 17 years ago and says there is no better place to be.

Parker has tremendous passion for her teaching and her students. Growing up with a
father who was a college professor, she says she developed her love for teaching through him. "He loved living and sharing and found total satisfaction by being on a college campus, studying and teaching," she says. "I think I am following in his footsteps."

Parker believes in her students and strives for them to learn that they too have a
voice. She creates a learning environment that allows students to grow academically.
Her biggest goal in the classroom, she says, is to "keep the information relevant and let students have a voice, not just me filling their heads with information."

By the end of each semester, she strives for her students to look at the world differently and be critical thinkers.

"Every class discussion Professor Parker has pushed us to critically think about
issues that mattered to us," Abramovich says. "Her passion and energy is something I will never forget and her enthusiasm always made everyone in the class want to get just involved."

Parker has showed her students and the Charleston community what hard work, a
passionate personality and a desire to make the world a better place can do. She
brings such positive energy to everything she does and exemplifies the
characteristics of a role model for everyone to follow. She believes that changes
come through individual efforts and collectively with enough people, it can create a
better place to live for all people.