Done with violence? So are we.
We live in a culture of violence, one that churns out constant destruction, harm, oppression, injustice and trauma. We know these forms of violence all too well: poverty, racism, evictions, militarism, war, climate crisis, pollution, evictions, mass shootings and more.
But if all our problems are connected, our solutions are connected, too.
Each year in September, tens of thousands of people take action during the Campaign Nonviolence Action Days (Sept. 21-Oct. 2). At first glance, the issues seem disparate, ranging from gun violence to killer drones to river clean-ups to affordable housing. But a common thread runs through them: they are working for nonviolent solutions to each facet of our crises. Each of these movements is proposing a change that halts violence and replaces it with a form of nonviolence.
The yearning for a nonviolent world is powerful. Imagine a world where everyone has enough, where racial diversity is affirmed and celebrated, where our schools are healing and liberating, where we build peace with other nations, where the environment is clean and healthy. In a culture of nonviolence, the systems, structures and institutions churn out situations that are affirming, nurturing and restoring — a far cry from our world today. It’s a world that Campaign Nonviolence and its allies are working toward.
This year, the Campaign Nonviolence Action Days run from Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, to Oct. 2, the International Day of Nonviolence. Over 4,047 actions and events are planned, and more people are joining in every day. People are encouraged to join daily calls-to-action organized with partner groups and ongoing social change campaigns. Or, they can create their own actions that make the most sense in their local context. The actions are creative and visionary, including peace and justice art contests, film festivals, multifaith picnics, a migrant justice art installation, and even a rolling poster protest on the sides of a mobile tiny home. Here are more examples of what’s happening:
Connecting the dots between the issues, people are also working on plans to humanize the housing crisis, organize community safety teams rooted in nonviolence, clean up rivers and watersheds, hold ride-ins for racial justice, transit justice and renewable energy; demilitarize the police, engage in mutual aid and neighborhood potlucks, create healing spaces for survivors of gun violence and more. Each action is designed to push for one more piece of the mosaic pattern that is the vision of “a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction.”
Collaborating groups include: World BEYOND War, Code Pink, DivestEd, ICAN, Jared’s Heart of Success, Sandy Hook Promise, Cure Violence Global, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Meta Peace Teams, D.C. Peace Team, the Campaign Nonviolence Youth Collective, the Nonviolent Cities Project, Backbone Campaign and many more.
At a time when homicide rates are rising, the human species faces extinction due to the climate crisis, gun violence is an epidemic, global warfare continues to kill hundreds of thousands and displace millions, and life expectancies are decreasing for the first time in generations, Campaign Nonviolence’s vision and mission have profound relevancy. A culture of nonviolence is not only possible, it’s essential for making it through this troubled chapter of human history. If we are to have a future, these solutions and strategies are a critical part of the world to come. Not only that, but they are the bridge from our painful past, through our tumultuous present, to the future we long to inhabit.
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.