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A New Way Forward: Reflections on the Campaign Nonviolence Action Week

Posted by Ryan Hall

By Ken Butigan

People around the world are on the march this week for a nonviolent shift in their lives, communities, and countries.

From Homer, Alaska to Coral Springs, Florida—and from Nigeria to New Zealand, Ireland to India, Canada to Cameroon—Campaign Nonviolence is mobilizing September 15-23 for a culture of active nonviolence connecting the dots between peace, economic equality, racial justice and environmental healing.

In the over 2,650 public events planned around the world during the Campaign Nonviolence Action Week (a project of Pace e Bene, a long-time training and action nonprofit) the call is clear: we must prioritize nonviolent solutions to the protracted challenges we face.  To make these alternatives a reality, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and begin to build a culture where we have the tools to activate the transformative power of nonviolence.

This is what many of the people and organizations taking action with Campaign Nonviolence this week are doing.  For example, in addition to hosting a big march, organizers in Delaware are sponsoring over 100 events that offer a plethora of methods for ending violence, resolving conflict, and fostering constructive outcomes. Throughout this week, people across the state will be offered resources spanning the arts, healing and wellness, racial justice, community service and nonviolence education.  Delaware is slowly building the infrastructure of a nonviolent culture that works for everyone.

Similarly, hundreds of localities mobilizing under the Campaign Nonviolence banner this week are also taking steps in this direction.  Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have declared “Campaign Nonviolence North Carolina Week,” and have scheduled events to advance peace and oppose racism and discrimination, poverty, war, and environmental destruction and. On Sept. 13, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declaring “Nonviolence NC Week” and urging North Carolinians to join in.  St. Paul/Minneapolis will hold ten city-wide events, including a peace event with over 3000 people joining hands in a pledge of nonviolence around a city lake. Arkansas Peace Week will feature over 20 citywide events. Marches, prayer services, public vigils, workshops, teach-ins, and rallies are being held nationwide, with major events in Memphis, TN; Albuquerque, NM; Clinton, IA; Chicago, IL; Portland, ME; Dubuque, IA; Morro Bay, CA; and Erie, PA.

Some of us will gather in Washington, DC to march from the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial to the White House on Saturday, September 22.  In this critical moment of truth before the fall elections, we will seek to heed Dr. King’s call for nonviolence and justice.  This will be one of the centerpieces of this week’s nonviolent mobilization. Please consider joining us.

As this week gets rolling, I think back to a staff retreat that Pace e Bene held in 2012, where a handful of us began to envision the possibility of building a movement focused on advancing nonviolence and the long-term process of fostering a nonviolent culture.  We launched the first Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions in September of 2014, where 240 events happened in every state.  Since then the participation has grown every year.  We have also since then created the Nonviolent Cities Project and the Nonviolence Training Hub, and have published a series of books on nonviolence.  We organized a national conference on nonviolence in 2015 and are planning another one in 2020.

We are heartened by the journey that we and so many others are on.  We are finding one another.  We are offering each other encouragement and support.  And we are taking action for a more nonviolent world.

The Campaign Nonviolence events across the country and around the world this week are one more step on this new way forward.

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