Intern Reflects on Time with NVI

By Claire Mills, Former Intern and NVI Volunteer 

When I started at Nonviolence International 8 months ago I had no idea what was in store -- for me, for NVI, or for the world. I joined as a spring intern and met the incredible NVI team, including Mubarak, Michael, and David. I was immediately inspired by all three of their deep commitments not just to peaceful protest, but even more so to sustained and strategic resistance against systemic violence. 

When I first met Mubarak, he was stopping by our office for an entirely different reason, but I just happened to be there. His immediate response was to start up a conversation, not just about my role at NVI or his own work, but about my personal passions, plans, and hopes for the future. I was of course amazed by his own story and lifelong commitment to nonviolence. But as an intern, I was even more amazed by his deep compassion for this kid he’d never met. But to all who know Mubarak, this is no surprise. And so I started my internship hoping to foster that same deep compassion within myself. 

In the spring, my work focused on developing our Tactics Database and getting it online to share with all of you! While researching tactics of nonviolent resistance I was able to read hundreds of stories of creative, successful actions. Best of all, I was able to dissect all these stories with Michael, who taught me what details to look out for and explained the nuances of nonviolent strategy. I’d long believed in nonviolence, but Michael gave me the words to explain how to use it as a tool, not just practice it as a way of life. 

When my summer plans fell through due to COVID-19, I was excited to be able to volunteer for the summer. As a volunteer, I took on managing our communications outreach on our website, Twitter, Facebook, and – you guessed it – email! So that’s why I’ve been in your inbox for the past few months!

David was a big fan of my "I am going to be disappointed by a man today. I can feel it" sticker on the water bottle I always brought into the office.

So much so that when I lost it on my sudden trip home due to COVID, he bought me a new one (and lots of other stickers too)!

Like so many of us who are deeply passionate about mission-driven work, before working at NVI I didn’t consider myself a “communications person.” But as I learned more about how nonprofit organizations actually work from David, I began to understand that we can do the best work in the world, and it won’t matter unless other people know about it. David taught me that it isn’t superficial to care about the practical parts of running a nonprofit – it’s what keeps us going! And when we focus on this work because of our deeply held values of compassion and nonviolence rather than in spite of them, as David always does, that’s when we can truly change the world. 

I have learned so much from my work with Mubarak, Micheal, David and all the other team members here at NVI that it’s impossible to sum up my whole experience in one email. I am truly so grateful to NVI for all that I have learned and for the introduction into nonviolent resistance as more than just a general belief -- but as a real tool. 

Although my time at NVI is coming to an end and this will be my last message to you, my passion for nonviolent resistance has only just begun. I hope NVI can continue to inspire people like myself to become more active in changing the status quo – people like you! So take this message as your sign to do something extra today for a cause you care deeply about. And look out for NVI communications in the future, because the good work continues on!

If I could have it my way, I would be able to stay at NVI even longer! But with classes starting again, I only have so much time and have to spend it at a paying job, not a volunteer position. With your help, NVI could be able to have more paid positions and keep team members longer! Please consider donating to NVI to make that a reality! 

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