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Read the Notes from the Post-Week of Actions CNV Conference Call!

Posted by Erin Bechtol

On October 17th we held our National Campaign Nonviolence Conference Call.  We debriefed and discussed the events that took place during the Week of Actions Sept. 16-24, 2017.  If you missed the call, you can read the notes or listen to the audio below.


Campaign Nonviolence National Organizing Conference Call

October 17, 2017, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (60 minutes)

Facilitator: John Dear


Introduction: 2 min.

  • Welcome – John Dear
    • This is a great opportunity for us to reflect on our actions, which helps us to “act our way into a new way of thinking.”
  • Centering- Veronica Pelicaric
    • “With unleashed white supremacy and misogyny, with the world teetering on the edge of ecological collapse, with the very last vestiges of the public sphere set to be devoured by capital, it’s clear that we need to do more than draw a line in the sand and say, ‘No more.’ Yes, we need to do that, and we need to charge a credible and inspiring path to a different future. And that future has to be somewhere we have never been before.” Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough
  • Roll Call  – Ryan Hall reads the list of people on the call.

Updates: 5 min.

  • John provides Post-Action CNV updates.
    • Over 1600 actions this year. This was a strong response to the Trump administration and to the horrors of the world. Hoping for 2000-3000 next year leading up to the congressional elections. This call is to share among friends about our successes and challenges.
  • Ryan provides any updates.
    • It’s been a pleasure and a joy to see so many events happening around the country and around the world, and the creative ways people have found to make their voices heard in nonviolent ways. NV Cities Project is still growing, trainings and workshops are increasing, and overall the movement keeps getting stronger.


CNV Action Organizer Reports – 45 min (Ryan) Confirmed attendees speak first.

  • Kit Evans Ford, Iowa
    • Grateful for everybody’s commitment to active nonviolence and peace. It is inspiring to see what’s happening during the Week of Actions and in everyday life. The number of actions is almost doubling every year. There has been an overwhelming amount of organizations partnering with CNV this year. So proud of the 1606 actions that took place this year. Pace e Bene is a great resource for nonviolence workshops, and also to get people in touch with each other and nurturing relationships between organizers, building a strong community of activists.
    • Around Davenport, Reverend Ford organized a Global Leadership Conference to get nonviolent activists involved in local boards and local politics. About 100 people came out to the conference during the week of actions, but the conference will continue with events every few months. Kit and another professor at the University of Davenport had a table for students to sign a No Hate Pledge and write letters to their congress members.
    • A CNV promoter with One Planet United in Florida also shared the silent peace walk that he holds every week inspired Kit Evans Ford to hold a silent peace walk of her own in Davenport.
  • Jeffrey Lott,  Wilmington, DE
    • Second Peace Week Delaware this year. Managed to connect from all ends of the state to hold 60 events with about 3500 people attending, a 75% increase over last year. The most impressive part was the quality and thoughtfulness of the events. There were many new ideas and timely events particularly related to American Islam and understanding Muslims in order to find common ground for peace. Invited the community to Friday prayers at a local mosque and served a cross-cultural meal. There were also art exhibit, workshops, a labyrinth, and more. The most serious complaint for attendees was that there were too many events to choose from. Another focus was about keeping youth away from gun violence. There was a march for a cultural peace, and so much more.
    • It was a lot of work, but very satisfying and rewarding. The worry is whether they can sustain this year after year, and what to do with the peace week? The main point may be to connect organizations to work together so that the movement coheres around shared goals of peace and opportunities to work together. Look at to see more details about what they did and will be doing.
    • John says DE “threw down the gauntlet” to the rest of us to show us all what’s possible. Please don’t worry. We all just have to keep going, keep building the movement, and keep talking to each other. Our goal four years ago was to get the movement moving. Now, we are starting to build strategy. We should all be doubling what we are doing, but keeping an eye on strategy. Over the next year, Ken Butigan will be sharing ideas on strategy for how to be more effective with our nonviolence.
  • Monica Juma, Memphis, TN
    • Honored to have Swamiji joining them for the Week of Actions. Held their third peace and justice event at the Civil Rights Museum and several meditation events in addition to having groups holding signs for nonviolence at intersections around Memphis.
    • While holding a sign at an intersection, Monica was shot in the arm with a BB, but is grateful to the rest of the community for standing strong in nonviolence with her.
  • Jenna Strick, Huntington, IN
    • In July, hosted Kit Evans-Ford, Ken Butigan, and John Dear for a conference on nonviolence and have since expanded to take part in the Week of Actions. Held a prayer service on the International Day of Peace and had the mayor declare 9/21 the Huntington Day of Peace. Additionally held a peace walk with four different stations to learn more about different kinds of violence we are afflicted with. Addressed the deep racial injustices and violent history in Huntington on their peace walk. The walk was filmed by a group of university students making a documentary about the history of race in Huntington. Peace walk ended at a central location and was followed by an inclusive prayer time with demographically diverse participants. Hoping to double events next year.
  • Bob Estes, Little Rock, AR
    • Third year of Arkansas Peace Week. Getting more groups and organizations involved each year and are pleased with participation. Each group reaches their own people, broadening the outreach beyond what the planning committee could achieve on their own. This year was the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock schools, so there were events around the city that fit in with the mission. Held the third annual peace fest in coordination with the Historic Site and their activities for the 60th anniversary of integration. Also had movie screenings, vigils, and dialogs. Ended the week with third annual Interfaith Meal with the Islamic Center of Little Rock. There were a lot of new participants this year, which was encouraging.
  • Sue Woodling, Raleigh, NC
    • Third year of CNV actions in Raleigh. Had to work around hurricanes and other pre-scheduled events in the city. Started the week with Common Grounds Coffee and live music. North Carolina Council of churches held an event about sanctuary matters. Had about 200 people in attendance at just these two events, and encouraged two churches to become sanctuary churches. Had their second annual peace picnic with Loaves and Fishes with 80 kids and their parents. Held their third annual prayer vigil for nonviolence on the International Day of Peace. Held a seminar on the Journey to the Gospel of Nonviolence that they want to have every year. The governor proclaimed a week of nonviolence in North Carolina and said he will do so every year that he is still governor. Looking forward to more speakers next year.
    • Some people from Durham became interested in CNV and want to expand the week of actions into their city. Also want to join forces with other organizations in NC that have CNV events. Lutheran Peace Fellowship includes CNV in their quarterly letters, and is looking at more ways to grow and become more successful in their pursuit of nonviolence.
  • Ken Butigan
    • When the Week of Actions started several years ago, it was clear that we needed to build a culture of nonviolence to connect all these dots. Now we are beginning to mainstream nonviolence and building a culture of support for the movement. All of the events that we have heard about confirm the success we are having in building the world we want to live in. Time to start thinking in terms of building a culture of nonviolence that everybody on the call is an agent of creating. The things that have been shared tonight are extremely heartening in the progress being made. Onward!
  • Brad Wolf, Lancaster, PA
    • Held a 3 hour event on September 24 with 13 acts, musicians and speakers. The best thing about the Peace Fest was making the front page of the paper the next day, an op ed piece a few days later, and several letters to the editor. For two weeks, their peace movement was in the news, getting attention and discussion. Twenty five community-based organizations promoting peace and justice were present at the Peace Fest. Learned a lot about what to do going forward and how to do better. John Dear was present and made a big difference in their community.
    • John says Brad stepped up to the plate in the last few years throwing himself into peace work in Lancaster. Got 400 people to come out on a Saturday afternoon which exceeded expectations. Got a lot of new energy and brought people together in the community, inviting people to get involved. Looking forward to seeing growth as they double the numbers and keep at it.
  • Laverne Olberding with the Franciscan Peace Connection in California
    • The most exciting thing this year was having more people sponsor the event across East County and the Sikh Foundation brought 13 year old boys to do an amazing dance and a 12 year old boy give a speech. A Native American elder spoke to tell people that we need to work together to protect our land. Veterans For Peace did banners around town to encourage people not to attend the air show. Pax Christi people came from LA to support the events.


Conclusion: 2 min.

  • John offer closing remarks.
    • Everyone did great this year, and we are all moved and grateful to see all of these events. Hopes we will all be consoled, to sit and feel good about taking action in this terrible time, to reflect on things, and feel satisfied with our efforts. Hired a national press agency to help with the events this year. USA Today and Democracy Now both said they love CNV, but there is too much news from Trump to report on CNV. National Catholic Reporter did report on CNV this year, so get a copy for yourself.
    • As things get worse, let this be a call to be our finest hour. It is time to step up to the plate and go for it. This is the time to become our best selves and commit to the movement. Download, read, and study the call that we issued in the spring by Ken Butigan. We are all working to take concrete steps towards a big change for midterm elections. Next year will be the fifth year of actions, and we are all on a roll. Take the community you have built and redouble your efforts.
    • Over the next year, we want everyone to have a nonviolence training. Double the efforts about the press. Think about new and different ways to go deeper and broader and wider in your communities. Invite all participants in the week of actions to call congress. Invite every church, mosque, and synagogue to hold an event for nonviolence. Formally organize a youth event. Formally become a nonviolent city. Everybody should send somebody for the national event on Friday September 21 in Washington DC, and the silent march the next day.


Closing: 1 Min.


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