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|10 Steps Toward a Nonviolent City
Organizing Tips from Campaign Nonviolence
1.) Create a local Steering Committee; write a mission and vision statement; and imagine and discuss what your community would look like if it were a “Nonviolent City.”
2.) Find a mainstream institution that could become the base for your “Nonviolent City” project, such as the local library, community center, a major religious institution, or the Rotary Club.
3.) Organize an initial public meeting/forum to discussion the idea. Make the meeting actually an organizing meeting, and come with future dates and meeting places ready to announce. Help people to start imagining what their community would look like as a nonviolent city. See that vision as a goal, and the years ahead as a journey toward that goal, which everyone can be a part of.
4.) Study the violence in your local community in all its forms, and begin to systematically address these forms of violence, and how the violence can end, and how people and the city institutionally can become more nonviolent.
This will mean exploring every aspect of one’s local community and ways to:
5.) Schedule a meeting with the mayor and city council, and the local steering committee and others members. Discuss with your local political leaders your vision of a “nonviolent city” and the concrete steps that together can be taken to make that vision come true.
6.) Start to attend city council meetings as a group and to propose and inject ways that your local community can become more nonviolent. Help your city council adopt the vision of your community as a “nonviolent city.”
7.) Set up a volunteer list, network and organizing base to spread out and reach out to everyone in your city. Assign tasks to everyone toward a systematic outreach. Encourage everyone to chip in and do their part to promote your community becoming a truly “nonviolent city.”
8.) Organize a city wide launch that is inclusive, celebratory, and visionary, but also has concrete tasks for new volunteers to work on. We recommend that you launch your Nonviolent City with a week of events and actions as part of the national Campaign Nonviolence week of actions beginning every year on September 21st, International Peace day.
9.) Set up a website and social media page to promote your nonviolent city. Set up a media committee to promote the vision of a “nonviolent city” in your newspaper, TV news, local talk shows, radio and social media.
10.) Reach out to every sector of the community to help promote and build a more nonviolent city. That means, reaching out to everyone from the mayor and city council members to the police chief and police officers, to all religious leaders and communities, and all civic leaders, to all educators and healthcare workers, to housing authorities, to prison officials, to youth and grassroots activists, to non-profit community groups, to the poor and marginalized, and children and the elderly.
Campaign Nonviolence calls upon activists, organizers, local leaders, political and religious leaders and ordinary citizens in every city in the nation to organize their local community as a “Nonviolent City.”
A few years ago, activists in Carbondale, Illinois, organized “Nonviolent Carbondale,” and have been working ever since to bring nonviolence into every aspect of their community, so that it would truly become a nonviolent city. We think this is possible in every city in the nation.
Using “Nonviolent Carbondale” as a model, we invite you to call together activists and local leaders to launch this movement in your community, to put the word “nonviolent” in front of your city, and to help others envision, organize and work for a new, more disarmed, local community or city.
Perhaps the key aspect of Nonviolent Cities is that each city will be summoned to address together its violence in all its aspects, structures, and systems; to connect the dots between its violence; and to pursue a more holistic, creative, city-wide nonviolence, where everyone together is trying to practice nonviolence, promote nonviolence, teach nonviolence and institutionalize nonviolence on the local level, to really build a new nonviolent community for itself and others. We will seek not just to undermine the local and regional culture of violence, but to transform it into a culture of nonviolence.
Nonviolent Cities organizers will promote the vision, teach nonviolence, and inspire people at every level in their community to work together for a new nonviolent community and a new nonviolent future.
This will include:
Together, they would address all the issues of violence and pursue all the angles and possibilities of nonviolence for their city’s transformation into a more nonviolent community. The first goal would be a rapid reduction in violence in your community and an end to killing. From there, everyone would work to welcome a new culture of nonviolence.
Nonviolent Cities would work to:
Though this is an ambitious, broad vision, we believe it is an idea whose time has come, a new step forward in the visionary nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Carbondale, Illinois, leaders tell us that key organizing steps include breaking out of the usual activist community and inviting everyone in every area of the local community to join this campaign; and basing this project in a local institution, such as a library, a school, a community center or a church. See www.nonviolentcarbondale.org to learn how they have begun and continue their project.
See the Ten Steps toward organizing your community as a Nonviolent City on the right.
If you’d like a copy of this page’s information for printing, including the 10 Steps, download a PDF here.
Enter your information below and John Dear will get in touch with you to explore ways of beginning this initiative in your community.