JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – Fifty years ago this past March, a small group of activists left Delano, California and began a march to Sacramento to raise national awareness about the plight of farmworkers. By the time the march made it to the state capitol, its ranks had swelled to over 10,000 people. California politicians and their agri-business supporters realized that they were facing a major civil rights movement in the Central Valley, and that its leader, Cesar Chavez, was someone to contend with. The importance of the Sacramento March today is more than just historical. The march is a lesson about how to use nonviolence to respond to economic hardship in a way that builds a powerful force for justice.
TOM H. HASTINGS – Democracy, said Winston Churchill, is the worst form of governmentâ€”except for all the rest. This is also true for nonviolence. When people are victims of injustice, especially a violent injustice, a violent response is easy to justify. â€œIâ€™m not going to sit still while someone attacks me,â€ is quite reasonable. But the consequences of our actions are worth considering.
KEN BUTIGAN – The December 14 rampage that claimed the lives of 28 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Conn., has prompted a vigorous new debate on gun violence in the United States and the emergence of a spate of legislative proposals that the president and Congress may broach sometime this year. While policies designed to outlaw or control guns are needed now more than ever, for many of us these efforts must be rooted in a larger imperative: coming to grips with the culture of violence that makes this kind of tragedy possible and seeing our way clear to an alternative.
PETER BERGEL: Legendary labor organizer Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Worker Union (UFW) with Cesar Chavez, was the Salem Peace Lecture speaker this year. She spoke at Willamette University on October 21. She also spoke with The PeaceWorker and other alternative news media. This is a summary of her message from the lecture and the interviews.