Tens of thousands of people are about to take action for a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction. During Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, Sept. 18-26, over 4,373 actions and events will take place across the country and around the world. There will be marches, rallies, vigils, protests, demonstrations, prayer services, walks for peace, webinars, public talks and more.
More and more people are recognizing that violence is an epidemic, taking many forms, including physical, structural, systemic, social, cultural, psychological violence and more. And if we look at our social justice movements, we’ll see a common thread: no one is proposing more violence as the solution to our entwined crises. From climate justice to racial justice to economic justice, millions of people are demanding nonviolent solutions to the problems caused by our culture of violence.
During Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, people connect the dots between our issues, seeing how the demands, goals and proposed alternatives all foster a more nonviolent and just world.
Some actions are focused on promoting nonviolence, particularly beyond the choir. The M.K. Gandhi Institute in Rochester, New York, has nonviolence advertisements rolling around the city on transit buses and plastered on billboards. In Owensboro, Kentucky, organizers are introducing the concept of a Nonviolent School. In Joliet, Illinois, a group will march to the city council offices and present a vision for a Nonviolent City. Nonviolence News will do daily teach-ins on Facebook live to share stories of how nonviolence is being used around the world. Kingian Nonviolence trainings, offered by many organizations, are happening every single day of Action Week.
Looking at our social justice movements, we see a common thread: no one is proposing more violence as the solution to our entwined crises.
Other groups are working specifically on ending violence in cities and towns. These efforts seek to stop direct, physical violence as it erupts on our streets and in our homes. In San Diego, local groups will be holding a community dialogue on reimagining public safety for “all of us.” In Philadelphia, Peace Day Philly will host a “Peace on the Streets” panel. In Davenport, Iowa, a women’s shelter and outreach will work to end domestic violence. In Opelika, Alabama, groups working to end gun violence will hold a peace march that includes youth. Twin Cities Nonviolent is holding a “10 Days Free From Violence” virtual teach-in, a visionary and imaginative gathering.
Coinciding with the International Day of Peace, there are a number of rallies and gatherings by Cities of Peace. Peace pole planting ceremonies are happening in many locations. Peace vigils on street corners or in public parks will be held, often by candlelight or with poetry, speakers and music. A 253-Mile Anti-Nuke and Climate Chaos March from Wichita, Kansas, will concludes its weeks-long travels in Kansas City, Missouri. Peace Action New Hampshire has organized a teach-in on Palestinian rights and campaigns for justice. The Rising Together Festival in New York City brings together voices working for peace and justice in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and beyond. The Peace March for Bangladeshi People’s Rights in Toronto, Canada, will march to demand human rights and democracy. War Tax Resisters are offering a virtual training. Christian Peacemaker Teams, which conducts unarmed peacekeeping in conflict zones, will hold an online Peacemaker Congress.
In dozens of ways, people are working for peace, challenging the war industry, and nurturing creative alternatives. Speaking of creativity, here are some of the artistic and creative ways people are standing up for peace during Action Week:
Each year, Campaign Nonviolence reaches out to faith groups. These faiths — Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Hindu — each hold a unique tradition of nonviolence. Yet, many religious institutions have lost sight of these tenets. During Action Week, many faith groups are taking the opportunity to challenge their institutions and lift up the aspects of their faith that align with peace. For example, the United Church of Christ has organized 177 “Just Peace Sunday” sermons, aimed at reminding their congregations of the centrality of peace to Christ’s message. Likewise, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and Catholic Days of Action strive to debunk “Just War Theory” and lift up the importance of nonviolence in their faith. Other religious and faith groups will hold peace vigils, prayer services and hymn-sings for peace, meditations and interfaith events.
Since its inception in 2014, Campaign Nonviolence has connected the issues of racial justice, environmental and climate justice, ending war and poverty, and more.
Campaign Nonviolence works to connect the inner and the outer, the personal and political. During Action Week, a number of actions will help people cultivate the skills for inner peace. Yoga Centers are holding 108 Asanas for Peace. The Global Silent Minute coordinates thousands of people for a shared moment of silence on the International Day of Peace. The Vermont Zen Center will hold a prayer and chanting ceremony. Contemplative Interbeing Center will hold daily, virtual centerings. These practices give people the skills to break the cycle of violence. Without them, we easily fall into the same patterns that we’re trying to stop in the broader world.
Since its inception in 2014, Campaign Nonviolence has connected the issues of racial justice, environmental and climate justice, ending war and poverty, and more. In that vein, many actions are planned to address specific issues.
As the planet heats up, people are standing up for the earth and environment. Backbone Campaign has coordinated multi-city banner actions to remove dams on the Snake River. World Clean-Up Day organizes citizens to clean up parks, rivers and communities. In Quebec, locals are holding a four-directions, multi-day Grande Marche for biological diversity. In the United Kingdom, World BEYOND War and Ban the Bomb plan to do a die-in to disarm the planet from weapons and fossil fuels.
Racial justice organizers are planning a Reparations Dialogue in Chicago; a launch of a racial justice campaign, a talk on dismantling systemic racism in Dubuque, Iowa; a teach-in on anti-segregation campaigns in Little Rock, Arkansas; a Black Lives Matter photography exhibit in San Antonio, Texas, and more. To address poverty, people are participating in hunger relief efforts, mutual aid networks, service projects and also joining local Poor People’s Campaign rallies in their cities.
The Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, Sept. 18-26, is a massive, beautiful effort to uplift and connect the many incredible efforts to transform our world. In small towns and big cities, people are doing their part to advance the ever-growing demand for a culture of active nonviolence. They’re proposing solutions and resisting the problems. They’re engaging creativity, love and courage to stand up for a radically different society. Humbly and boldly, they’re lifting up the vision of a culture rooted in peace and committed to justice. Through the Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, these tens of thousands of people are bringing that world one step closer to existence. Find out more and join in here.
Campaign Nonviolence, a project of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, is working for a new culture of nonviolence by connecting the issues to end war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction. We organize The Nonviolent Cities Project and the annual Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions.
Waging Nonviolence partners with other organizations and publishes their work.