In 2018, 50,000 youth will gather in the U.S. to usher in an era of hope and respect. Here’s how you can do your part.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 16–17— Now that the one-year countdown to the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival has begun, the SGI-USA has distilled its focus into a single powerful determination:
Each SGI-USA member of any age introduces 1 youth to the practice and ensures that he or she attends the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival.
Such was the united conclusion of the Central Executive Committee and Executive Council Meeting, which convened Sept. 16–17 at the SGI-USA Headquarters in Santa Monica, California, to affirm the national organization’s 2018 activity goals and focus.
“A hundred people advance one step forward together.”
The aim was born during the September SGI Youth Training Course in Tokyo, where, during a Q&A session with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, an SGI-USA youth representative asked how they could help members of all ages joyfully engage in the campaign to gather 50,000 Lions of Justice in 2018.
Mr. Harada shared SGI President Ikeda’s encouragement that it’s better for 100 people to take one step forward than for one person to take 100 steps.
President Ikeda wrote of the February 1952 Kamata Campaign, in which Kamata Chapter broke through all barriers to welcome 201 new families to the Soka Gakkai in a single month:
I wanted the nearly 100 unit leaders in Kamata Chapter to take the starring roles and to be victorious. Instead of one person advancing 100 steps, 100 people would advance one step forward. I prayed earnestly and worked tirelessly within the chapter, determined that not even one unit would fall to the wayside, that each member would experience benefit in faith. (Nov. 21, 2008, World Tribune, p. 6)
Becoming a Lion District.
Members who introduce one youth to the practice will receive an “I Awakened One Lion” button that they can proudly wear in solidarity with the youth gathering next fall.
Also in support of the goal, the Champion District will be replaced with the “Lion District” and “Lion Chapter” designation starting next year. (See box below.)
Next year’s guidelines require a “laser focus” on core, front-line activities.
In a joint letter from the SGI-USA national leaders, they shared that accomplishing the 50,000 goal would require a “laser focus” on introducing and helping tens of thousands of youth to develop their faith, practice and study between now and next fall.
For that reason, starting immediately, the national team asked all non-youth auxiliary groups, including the Arts Division, Culture Department, Courageous Freedom and Language Groups, to minimize their activities and, if possible, put them on hold since every activity outside core divisional activities requires planning, while drawing upon the same membership, especially the youth.
“While we take great pride in our diverse, socially focused auxiliary groups, kosen-rufu ultimately happens at our discussion meetings, which are great oases within society where everyone is welcome,” the national team wrote. “SGI President Ikeda’s guidance on the district makes this point clear.
“With less than 400 days to go until the youth festivals, we need all hands on deck, with a laser focus on our core activities—discussion meetings, introductory meetings and study meetings— as the basis for introducing and developing 50,000 lions,” they continued.
“Between now and the festival, we have to awaken 100 youth every single day who are not yet part of our movement. So here’s the question: Is this activity going to activate one of those 100 youth today?”