By Chris Nelson
Martin Luther King Jr. said “The question is not nonviolence vs. violence. It is nonviolence vs non-existence.” During the Vietnam war, Cold War tensions fueled the nuclear arms race and overt racism prevailed in a divided country. Now we are disturbed about climate change, terrorism, economic and racial injustice but we haven’t organized for effective change.
Here in Chico we don’t (often) face overt issues of militarism, racism or violence but there is an undercurrent of meanness and mistrust. The microcosm of our town reflects the ineffective public sphere in Washington. Violence is the law of the land, the law of the planet.
Campaign Nonviolence emerges as a parallel opportunity. Conditions have worsened for the world’s poor and homeless; countries are destabilizing around the world. Seemingly intractable issues makes it imperative to mobilize to end war, poverty, nuclear weapons and to build a culture of peace. We must mainstream non-violence and it can’t be done without collective commitment and discipline, such as the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.
On Sat. Sept. 26th we gathered at the Hands at Wall and 4th Sts between 10am and 1pm to start imagining and organizing. People brought their passionate and studied thoughts on ideas for Chico to start our roots movement all over the country during the National Campaign Nonviolence week of Action.
They also had an Alternatives to Violence Workshop planned on Sept. 25th – 27th at the Chico Peace and Justice Center.
See photos from this action below.
Photo Credit: Chris Nelson