Recently at NVI, I've had the pleasure of speaking with Kent Wong, the director the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Center. As the director of the UCLA Labor Center, Kent teaches courses in labor studies and Asian American studies. He is also the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the United Association for Labor Education. He currently serves as the vice president of the California Federation of Teachers. He also contributed to the book Revolutionary Nonviolence: Organizing for Freedom, which accounts the power of nonviolence organizing and its ability to sustain social change movements.
Throughout my interview with Kent, he noted strongly the active work of Reverend James M. Lawson in nonviolence philosophy and tactics. While Kent has been an advocate for Lawson's philosophy, he has been a colleague and direct supporter of Lawson through Revolutionary Nonviolence. Lawson preached that nonviolence was not a passive act but it instead involves the "suffering and sacrifice" that is often associated with violence. Acting nonviolent means absorbing the suffering and sacrificing our own comfort to campaign nonviolently. Through the suffering, we stand together to build a more peaceful world. Personally, I am looking forward to reading Revolutionary Nonviolence and continuing to learn from the nonviolence leaders of the past for the social change movements of the present.
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