WE ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO PEACE…NOW GO USE IT!
By Jerry Maynard, a reflection from their 2015 Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions.
Well the Campaign Nonviolence 2015 Week of Actions has passed, but the affects of it have not ended. This year’s actions were an experiment with the truth of solidarity. As the Campaign Nonviolence-Houston Action Committee and myself were planning our actions, we kept saying to each other “I would like to get this group involved” or “I would like this person to be involved”. We kept reminding each other of the need to “Connect the Dots”, which is one of the efforts that Campaign Nonviolence has been trying to do since the first week of actions last year.
So, this year we worked hard to coordinate actions with other Activists and Organizations that were planning something that happened to fall during the Week of Actions. Campaign Nonviolence-Houston was blessed to have the help and people power of the Harris County Green Party (HCGP) this year. We joined together for our first annual Freeway Sign Campaign. Both members of the HCGP and Campaign Nonviolence-Houston joined together on overpasses throughout Houston at rush hour traffic, held signs, and were a visible witness to people that we want peace. This action was at the beginning of the week and it was a great success. It gave us a big jolt of energy for the rest of week, as we worked hard to Wage Peace and to Practice Nonviolence.
During the week we continued our efforts to “connect the dots”, by joining with Food Not Bombs-Houston (long time Houston Activists) who have been working to end discrimination of the homeless and providing for their needs via food sharing, passing out clothes, and other things that our homeless friends need. We joined with them three times during the week and stood in solidarity with them in their mission to spread awareness that homeless people are not criminals, but people who need our love and compassion. We met to pass out food with Food Not Bombs-Houston three times during the week of actions (Sept 20th, 23rd, and 27th). All three times were a great show of solidarity and mutual respect for each others
In the city of Houston, we have a large proportion of people who identify with different expressions of faith. We have a wide diversity of Christian denominations, Jewish groups, Islamic groups, many Buddhist expressions, etc. Just like the previous year, we tried to gather people of different faith traditions to pray, meditate, and dialogue about nonviolence and how we can enact more nonviolence in our day-to-day lives. We held our 2nd Annual Peace Day at the Menil. This is an interfaith gathering in the middle of Menil Park, which is located next to the Menil Collection and the Rothko Chapel. Both the Menil and the Rothko have their foundational history rooted in social justice and faith, so we believed it was appropriate to hold our event here for a second time. This year we had an Episcopal Priest and a Buddhist Chaplain guide us in exploring the rich tradition of nonviolence through the lens of their spiritual backgrounds.
We opened our interfaith gathering with a traditional Episcopal prayer for peace, then proceeded with a sharing of our Intentions whilst being gathered in a “peace circle”. Each of us shared what was on our hearts, who was on our hearts, and we did this to show that all of us our interconnected. The journey of peace can not be traveled without the awareness of those who we meet along the way-we then proceeded to physically show our commitment to peace through engaging in the ancient Buddhist tradition of walking meditation.
Guided by our Buddhist Chaplain, we were asked to cultivate an awareness of our steps. Our steps are continually being supported by Mother Earth and through our awareness, we are calling witness to Mother Earth that we recognize her support and are showing respect through our awareness. With each step we took, we consciously became aware that to be peace means to be solid like the earth but simultaneously, be moving just as the earth is moving. Turn with the turning. Be still with the stilling.
As the evening drew to a close, we gathered back in our “peace circle”, and gave a few words of what nonviolence means to us and how we have been experimenting with the truth of nonviolence in our day-to-day lives. Once everyone shared, we took some pictures and went forward to “give peace a chance”.
Campaign Nonviolence-Houston continues to work persistently through word and deed, to remind everyone that we ALL have a right to peace….NOW GO USE IT! Give PEACE a chance! 🙂
We look forward to waging peace with you and practicing nonviolence! Visit our Facebook page for info on upcoming events that CNV-Houston is putting together and join us as we try to connect the dots. We are all in this together.
See photos from this event below.