Growing a Culture of Nonviolence
By Rivera Sun
Is America tired of its violence yet? While the media reports on the onslaught of shootings, militarism, police violence, and hate-motivated violent crimes, growing numbers of citizens are taking a stand in nonviolent action and community organizing nationwide.
And, from the increased involvement in Campaign Nonviolence, the grassroots movement that organized more than 375 actions in a single week in all 50 states and seven countries to end all forms of violence, it appears that many Americans are serious about creating a culture of active nonviolence.
More than 10,000 people participated in Campaign Nonviolence’s annual Week of Actions in September 2015, and organizers say the number may double this year. What is it about this endeavor that captures the imagination of people in all 50 states and seven countries?
Campaign Nonviolence and its initiating organization, Pace e Bene, propose that war, poverty, racism, and climate destruction are all forms of violence. They encourage people to connect the dots between the many issues in our world, and the commons threads of physical, emotional, structural, systemic, and cultural violence that run through the challenges we face.
The movement promotes and educates about the viable, nonviolent alternatives such as restorative justice, conflict resolution, living wages, sustainability, unarmed peacekeeping, nonviolent civilian-based defense, peace teams, racial and economic justice, nonviolent communication, and renewable energy. In 2016, Campaign Nonviolence launched the Nonviolent Cities Project, which offers organizing tools for transforming the systems, structures, and practices of one’s area into nonviolent alternatives. Campaign Nonviolence organizers work in their local communities year-round, offering education, book clubs, workshops, film screenings, local campaigns, training in schools and churches, and nonviolent actions in support of the goals of the movement.
Each year, participants in Campaign Nonviolence take public action to promote the concept of a culture of active nonviolence and to oppose all forms of violence. During the Week of Actions this September 18-25, more than 125 actions in all 50 states are already being planned. Pace e Bene staff estimate that the number of actions will quadruple by September. People are invited to engage in marches, rallies, demonstrations, peace circles, prayer vigils, workshops, educational events, celebrations, civil disobedience, blockades, sing-ins, sit-ins, leafleting, tabling, community conversations, and much more, all in support of a culture of active nonviolence.
People will challenge war, militarism, militarized policing, mass incarceration, wealth and income inequality, military recruitment in public elementary schools, ecological destruction, global warming, fossil fuels, pollution, toxins, water privatization and poisoning, poverty, low wages, racism, bigotry, hatred, bullying, gun violence, domestic abuse, lack of affordable healthcare, and more.
Groups, individuals, organizations, and movements are all encouraged to participate during the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions. More than 200 organizations have endorsed the movement, including Fellowship of Reconciliation, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League, Code Pink, Meta Peace Teams, Veterans for Peace, Popular Resistance, World Beyond War, Nonviolent Peaceforce, HipHop Caucus, Pax Christi, and Global Exchange.
Campaign Nonviolence’s vision of a world of active nonviolence strikes a chord of yearning in the hearts of a violence-weary public. Another world is possible – the alternative nonviolent practices have been field-tested for years – and now is the time to build a movement to mainstream those ideas, concepts, and projects into our communities. The Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions offers an opportunity for engaging your local area in these concepts and endeavors. Learn more about the Week of Actions here.Φ