By Katherine Escobar
On Tuesday, March 7, the Office of Multicultural Student Life hosted Ken E. Nwadike of “The Free Hugs Project.” Nwadike is a peace activist, motivational speaker, video journalist and YouTuber best known for his video of giving free hugs at various rallies and protests. Nwadike came to our campus to showus different ways we can spread love, inspire change and raise awareness of social issues on campus.
His personal story and the hardships he had to face during his youth were very inspirational. Even though he was homeless by the time he was a teenager, Nwadike still seemed to surpass his difficulties by focusing his time on running. He broke the record of completing a mile in a little over four minutes. His experiences as a youth inspired him to create and organize an event called the “Hollywood Half Marathon” in order to raise funds for local homeless youth shelters. He later launched his “Free Hugs Project” on the first anniversary of the bombing of the Boston marathon. The videos he showed us, which consisted of his appearances at Black Lives Matter protests and Donald Trump protests, captured the different volatile situations he sometimes had to face in order to bring peace to those sites. During these protests and rallies, he has tried to be the mediator for both parties in order to avoid tragedy. His bravery can be seen in each and every one of his videos.
Nwadike’s Free Hugs videos were motivational, encouraged others to take a stand and stimulated others to help spread the message of love to those around you no matter their beliefs. He also tries to inspire change for a better resolution as well as raise awareness on social issues that are occurring in today’s society.
You can follow Ken E. Nwadike Jr.’s Facebook page at Free Hugs Project where there are some inspiring stories, as well as watch his many videos on YouTube under the same name. More pictures of the event can be found at the Office of Multicultural Student Life’s Facebook.