By Kyle Silliman-Smith
During the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions, organizers with the Vermont Peace and Justice Center in Burlington held a 2 day nonviolence workshop that sought to teach participants the basics of how systems of oppression work, how structural violence is imposed on oppressed groups, and how nonviolent action can disrupt this cycle. 25 participants came and learned about oppression, practiced how to coordinate nonviolent action, and learned various nonviolent techniques. No media attention was given, in order to protect the participant’s request for confidentiality.
Highlights included our opening activity, which involved participants to stand when they identified with certain questions. Not only did this allow participants to become comfortable with each other, but it powerfully demonstrated how all of us were both different and alike, and also allowed everyone to become aware of the different kinds of oppression one another has or hasn’t experienced. Another activity that was found especially meaningful was the “Coordinated Nonviolent Response to Systems of Oppression Activity”, which allowed participants to apply newly learned concepts to real life social justice issues by formulating a real agenda to solve their issue nonviolently. Overall, this workshop was very successful, and everyone seemed to find it both meaningful and educational.