If we want to break the culture of violence, we need to build a culture of nonviolence.
Gun violence. Climate disasters. Nuclear bombs. Evictions. Police shootings. Militarism. Hate crimes. Racial discrimination. White supremacy. Domestic abuse. Poverty. Poisoned water. Exploding oil trains. Migrant deaths. Mass incarceration. Sexual assaults. Bullying.
The culture of violence is everywhere. How do we change it?
With nonviolence, everywhere.
Campaign Nonviolence launched 10 years ago with the understanding that the relentless violence of our culture was neither inevitable nor natural. It was the result of countless choices, day-in and day-out. Violence had been systematized in the economy, in political policy, in cultural beliefs, in “entertainment,” and in the day-to-day actions of everyday citizens. If we wanted a different world, hundreds of millions of people would have to do things very differently.
Just as we view violence as direct, structural, systemic and cultural, Campaign Nonviolence asserts that nonviolence can infuse all those layers of society. We can apply direct nonviolence by training in de-escalation, anti-bullying, and conflict skills. We can implement structural and systemic nonviolence by replacing punitive justice with restorative justice, or increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, or shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We can move away from cultural violence by ending discrimination, racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia, ableism, ageism, etc. Instead, we can nourish the values and tangible practices of a diverse and inclusive society.
A culture of nonviolence is a radical vision, a profound transformation for our world.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.– Tao Te Ching
Each year during the Campaign Nonviolence Action Days from Sept. 21 (the International Day of Peace) to Oct. 2 (the International Day of Nonviolence), we mobilize people to disrupt violence-as-usual and insert the skills, tools and solutions of nonviolence in its place. Last year, over 4,600+ actions and events took place to build a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction. Over 60,000 people around the world participated. This year is shaping up to be even bigger.
Nonviolence offers not only a vision and destination. It also holds the means of getting there. Using the toolbox of nonviolent action, people will be organizing marches, rallies, teach-ins, protests, direct actions and other events aimed at taking one more step toward a culture of nonviolence. This process is embedded in our calls-to-action, which were chosen to meet people on the continuum of how we work for change. They balance constructive program, healing work, direct action and protests.
In addition to our usual practice of welcoming local organizers’ ideas, we’ve also issued specific calls-to-action that are designed to help people strategically address the core pillars of Campaign Nonviolence’s goals. People can do them on any day between Sept. 21-Oct. 2.
Divest From Violence, Reinvest In A Nonviolent World: Hold demonstrations, petition deliveries and move-your-money actions to pressure banks, educational institutions, and city/town governments to stop investing in weapons and fossil fuels. Learn more.
Take Action To End Violence: Take action to end violence, including hosting violence interruption trainings, holding healing circles around gun violence, hosting teach-ins on preventing relationship, domestic and sexual violence, and more. Learn more.
Racial Justice Healing Circles: Hold racial healing circles to encourage people to come together, share stories and listen deeply to one another, fostering better understanding and empathy across races. Learn more.
Sound the Alarm for Climate Action: Plan a loud and alarming protest to alert the public and power holders that the climate crisis is an emergency. Use pots-and-pans banging protests or set phone alarms to ring all at the same time. Learn more.
Campaign Nonviolence March: Rally your community with a Campaign Nonviolence March and invite local groups to carry their banner on how they’re ending violence and proposing nonviolent solutions. Learn more.
Campaign Nonviolence celebrates the large and small actions that move this transformation forward. From a screening of “A Force More Powerful” at a local library to a sit-in to kick weapons makers off campus, each action plays a role. In Hawaii, a Zone of Peace is declared in a low-income community each year, helping to end gun violence. In Alabama, Black youth will lead a teach-in on the role of the nonviolence movement in social justice today. In Georgia, a series of vigils and protests will address gun violence and racial healing. In Michigan, an entire freshman class will learn violence de-escalation skills. In Minneapolis, a two-pronged march through the Twin Cities will meet on a bridge in an effort to get the mayors and communities to publicly embrace nonviolence.
The list goes on, covering many social justice issues, including migrant justice and human rights, divesting from weapons and fossil fuels, mutual aid relief and unhoused persons’ rights, and more. Globally, groups in other countries are focusing on ending war, stopping street violence, climate justice, countering harassment and addressing poverty.
By joining our efforts together, we have a chance to come up for air and see how one issue connects to the others. Solidarity is powerful. Interconnection invigorates our movements.
This incredible 10-day mobilization happens in collaboration with many partner groups, tapping into their expertise and passion.
We are honored to be working with Hip Hop Caucus, Project Say Something, Elders Climate Action, Elders Action Network, Cure Violence Global, Backbone Campaign, Sandy Hook Promise, Jared’s Heart of Success, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Meta Peace Teams, DC Peace Team, World BEYOND War, Nonviolence International, International Cities of Peace and many others.
A culture of nonviolence is an imperative of our times. Each headline screams the urgent need for this shift. We have multiple existential crises that threaten the continued existence of our species. Systemic and structural violences imperil families’ survival on a daily basis. A world rooted in nonviolent solutions, tools, skills and practices is a world committed to social justice for everyone. It’s a world worth rising up for. Join us.
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.