Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Maria Quintana

Through NVI's Spotlight Series, I spoke with Maria Quintana, a U.S. and Latin American historian who specializes in race and empire, civil rights and labor history, immigration history, and social movements. Maria is an Assistant Professor at Sacramento State University. She has written the book Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Labor Importation Programs, 1942-1964. Her research has received numerous awards, including the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. She is also part of the World House Global Network.

During my interview with Maria, she showed how our understanding of the labor civil rights movement is connected deeply with U.S. imperialism through guestworker programs which importer of migrant labor from Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Honduras, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. While the US government positively portrayed guestworker programs as emphasizing a fair labor contract and equal rights, workers from these programs became leaders for freedom and human rights throughout the civil rights movement. Guestworker programs ignored race and class in the United States where "freedom" is not necessarily a "right." The sacrifices of these workers, demonstrated  in courageous and relentless nonviolent action in the civil and labor rights movement, gave a new meaning to freedom and expanded my understanding of new forms of racial oppression and empire.

In a reality where workers, particularly immigrant and marginalized workers, continue to advocate for a livable wage, fair treatment, and protection of their rights, my conversation with Maria gave me a greater understanding of the evolution rather than elimination of the oppression of workers. I hope it does the same for you.



Learn more about what Maria is a part of:

Immigration and Ethnic History Society: Summer 2022 Online Books Series

Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Guestworker Programs (Use the discount code PP20 for 20% off your order from Penn Press!)

Sacramento State University

BlackPast


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Spotlight on Nonviolence - Kent Wong

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.



An article about Reverend James M. Lawson

Revolutionary Nonviolence

UCLA Labor Center

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

The United Association for Labor Education

The California Federation of Teachers

The World House Global Network


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Join Us in Welcoming These Amazing Young Leaders.

By Paige Wright

Integral to Nonviolence International’s core team is always a strong cohort of willing, capable, and intelligent individuals serving as interns. NVI is excited to welcome this team for the summer and fall to create change through nonviolent action.

Some of them are working very much behind the scenes, updating our Tactics Database and Training Archive or working alongside our Founders, Jonathan Kuttab, and our Director, Michael Beer, in the promotion of their respective books. Others of them are working in the foreground, creating videos for our YouTube page and Spotlight Series, and updating our Social Media accounts. All of them, however, have fully engaged with the work to be done here at NVI, and we are incredibly grateful and proud of their work thus far!

Please take a moment to let these inspiring new interns introduce themselves to you:


Emily Jang, she/her/hers

My name is Emily Jang, and I am a third year student at Emory University. As a psychology and anthropology major with a concentration in health, my primary interest is in mental health and understanding how one’s identity affects various aspects of health. This identity not only includes one’s environment but the structural and interpersonal responses to an individual as well. Thus, various forms of violence– structural, symbolic, and direct–affect one’s health and self. As I have come to understand this notion, I have grown a passion to better understand and apply the knowledge I have gained to actively confront this violence and advocate for others. I hope to foster this passion continuously in my future profession in academia or directly in mental healthcare as well as in the present through organizations such as NVI.


Annie Sandy Zumbi, she/her/hers

My name is Sandy Zumbi. I am in my last year of graduate school at American University in Washington D.C. Being from the Democratic Republic of Congo currently living in the U.S made me realize how fortunate I was which would not have been possible without my education. I understand how important the role education plays in the lives of children coming from developing countries and wanted to give that opportunity by fighting for children’s lives. I was drawn to NVI because of the work it does around the world. We have seen throughout history and up to this day how violence is never the answer and never produces the outcomes we hope for.   


Rachel Knowles, she/her/hers

As a graduate student at the University of San Francisco, my knowledge and understanding of in depth research and threat intelligence is expanding with application to real world resolution. These skills are not only something I study; through active advocacy I have developed my willingness to raise difficult questions and communicate with leaders across the country's universities to develop cohesive solutions. My experience with personal interviews and survey studies will introduce a different perspective on data collection and organization at NVI. With an educational background in customs, laws, and sanctions I will ensure up to date standards for effective export compliance programs. These multidisciplinary skills create a framework that aligns with the core value of Nonviolence International. That is: a passion for maintaining high ethical standards and developing active results.


Ahad Bashir, he/him/his

My name is Ahad Bashir. I’m a third-year student at Brown University studying International & Public Affairs (Development Track) and Economics. I have a strong interest in international development, especially in the Indian subcontinent, and a desire to reduce the harms of economic inequality. I also have a background in education and believe that equal access to a full, well-rounded education is a must, whether that be math class or just some after-school activities. I wish to either work at an NGO to identify and address economic inequality or work as a professor or educator. I joined NVI because I was blown away by the group’s outstanding dedication towards their goals and desire to do right by them.


Alanna, she/her/hers

Hello! I’m Alanna and I am a second year political science and peace studies student at The George Washington University. I am passionate about how systems of governance impact civil liberties and living standards. Following my studies, I plan to attend law school to become a federal prosecutor, international, and constitutional lawyer. In these endeavors, I intend to hold both corruption and marginalization accountable to advocate for a more democratic world. I joined NVI’s communications and fundraising teams to advocate for human rights, while supporting global peace campaigns.


 

A Creative Nonviolent Tactic to Remember Jamal Khashoggi

In a time of growing global crisis and deep in the heart of a declining empire, in Washington, DC, US, this week we celebrated the name change of the street in front of the embassy of Saudi Arabia. 

Can you guess the new name?


The street in front of the embassy has been officially and permanently changed to… 

Jamal Khashoggi Way. 


NVI has long supported the street name change campaign.  We raise up the brave, beautiful, precious journalist and human being who was dismembered by the regime. The powerful message that his memory lives on will be sent every time the diplomats come and go. 

This comes as the US President prepares to travel to Saudi Arabia. In direct contradiction to his public statements during the campaign, when he told the public there would finally be accountability, he will do as so many US Presidents have done before and travel to the Kingdom on bended knee seeking ever more fossil fuels. 

But something is different now. The direct and deadly impacts of the growing climate catastrophe are with us. It is no longer some far off future we fear, but instead a current reality harming precious people. The obsequience to Saudi Arabia is now not just spineless, but also part of a mass march towards devastation. 

What shall we do with this harsh reality?

At NVI we hope together we will rise to challenges before us and experiment with creative constructive Nonviolent Tactics.  

You can find the name change tactic in the list of more than 350 in our Nonviolent Tactics Database.

In this photo, Michael Beer, NVI Director, (in a blue shirt) is holding a photo of Mr. Khashoggi at the event celebrating the name change along Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin at the front entrance to the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC.


Time Stamp for Democracy Now’s coverage: 11:25 

Michael Beer is in the blue shirt holding high the photo directly behind the podium. 


Please see this page for more information including photos with NVI’s co-founders. 

https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/remembering_jamal_khasho

This beautiful image came to us through our friends at the Horizons Project who shared this free high quality collection. 

Artist Ashley Lukashevsky 

IG @ashlukadraws

 

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Christiana Green

In this Spotlight interview, I spoke with Christiana Green, the communications coordinator for the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements. We discussed the legacy of Reverend James Lawson, the whitewashing of the civil rights movement, progressive organizing in the South, and how Christiana's faith inspires her work. Christiana is from Marietta, Georgia, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Belmont University in April 2021. Christiana has coordinated, participated in and spoken at nonviolent protests in the past two years.

There are two aspects of our conversation that really stuck out to me. The first was Christiana's powerful pushback against the notion that the nonviolence of the civil rights movement was a co-opt of white ideals, or was simply an appeal to the conscience of white people. These false notions reduce nonviolence to putting oneself through suffering for the white gaze, to sway the emotions of the oppressor. This narrative of the civil rights movement presents a fundamentally unappealing portrait of nonviolence and those of us who believe in the ability of nonviolence to be a radical force for change must push back against it. I also appreciate Christiana reframing my perception of the American South. Both Christiana and I were born and raised in the South, a region with a long history of oppression and injustice, manifest in slavery and Jim Crow. Yet Christiana also recognizes the South as an important site of progressive organizing. The Black Lives Matter leaders fighting against police brutality are the descendants- both literally and figuratively- of the civil rights activists before them. I think there's something profoundly beautiful about this idea of nonviolent resistance as an inheritance, passed down through the generations. Towards the end of the conversation, Christiana notes that she is committed to her nonviolence work, knowing that she may not see the fruits of her labor but those who come after her will. What a gorgeous vision of nonviolence, and what an antidote to despair. I found this conversation insightful and inspiring and I hope you do to. 



Learn more about the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements here https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/jameslawsoninstitute.php


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A New Video Featuring Ahmed Alnaouq, founder of WANN

Please watch the impressive video below and consider supporting We Are Not Number's (WANN’s) vital work.

This powerful image shows just one part of the video. Click on the video itself below to watch.This powerful image shows just one part of the video. Click on the video itself below to watch.

Ahmed Alnaouq's comprehensive analysis allows him to share in a clear focused way the reality of life in Gaza and how the coverage in the mainstream media rarely accurately reflects that reality and instead often intentionally obscures it.  

He shares his informed loving perspective on life in Gaza and how media coverage distorts reality. If you are inspired by this work, please consider donating to support WANN’s visionary approach to building leaders and power. 

I found this video on the same day I attended a march in Washington, DC where the same call echoed out. Please see my photo essay for more. 

From the stage at the mass mobilization of the Poor People’s Campaign, the great Rev. William Barber said, “They are us and we are them.” He called on us all to step up saying, “when our people suffer, we won’t be silent anymore.” He said we had gathered together to “put a human face on the numbers.” 

As with WANN, this amazingly diverse passionate gathering was built on a deep and comprehensive analysis of the world as it is and on a recognition that it doesn’t have to be this way. (Don’t miss the cute kid wearing a shirt with that message at the start of the photo essay). The organizers implemented a strategic approach that puts those closest to the problems on the stage and in the leadership. They made a point of noting that on this day people would not speak on behalf of others. Instead, each person would raise up their own lived experience and perspective. 

This approach follows the same simple and profound wisdom at the heart of WANN’s vision and mission.

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Andrea Palomo-Robles

In this Spotlight interview, I spoke with Andrea Palomo-Robles, the Executive Director of the Satyagraha Institute. She’s been involved with the Satyagraha Institute since 2016, participating in several programs and engaging in the Coordinating Committee. Andrea is a political scientist and studied Nonviolence at the Gujarat Vidyapith University, founded by Gandhi. We discussed the meaning of satyagraha, Andrea's personal and professional journey, the importance of the inner life and self-transformation in nonviolence work, and Gandhi's emphasis on constructive program. 

As an undergraduate student at George Washington University, I took a class on Philosophy & Nonviolence and in that course read Gandhi's writings, among other theorists of nonviolence. Gandhi's words leapt off the page, simultaneously inspiring and challenging, and I've been grappling with his ideas ever since. So I deeply appreciated the opportunity to speak with Andrea, a scholar and practitioner of Gandhian nonviolence. The fact that 74 years after Gandhi's death, two young people- a young woman from Mexico and a Sri-Lankan American young man- are discussing his philosophy is a testament to the enduring light and global reach of his legacy. Andrea radiated warmth and kindness (a difficult task over Zoom), and talking to her I felt that we were kindred spirits, walking alongside one another on the satyagraha path. Andrea reminded me that peace is not some unattainable goal, but a daily practice. In a time when it is so easy to fall into despair, Andrea's passion for the work of nonviolence training fills my heart with hope. I found our conversation insightful and inspiring and I hope you do too. 


 


Learn more about the Satyagraha Institute here- https://satyagrahainstitute.org/


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“Enough Was Enough”: How Australia Reformed Its Gun Laws & Ended Mass Shootings

Enough is Enough! 

 

We in the United States are facing epidemic levels of gun violence. At NVI, we mourn and we organize. And, we seek to learn from the experience of others around the world who have made substantial progress addressing gun violence. In this midst of this horror, we are glad to be able to raise up a powerful interview featuring a founder of one of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partners. The moral outrage matched with experience and wisdom gives us hope in hard times.


Rebecca Peters was featured on Democracy Now! on May 26th, 2022.  

 

Democracy Now writes, "After the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting, Australia passed sweeping new gun control measures that largely ended mass shootings in the country. We speak with Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate who led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the massacre. She recalls how in just 10 days the prime minister brokered a deal with local officials to pass higher standards around gun safety that would prevent any mass shootings for the next 20 years. “We don’t think at all about the possibility of being murdered as we go about our daily lives in Australia,” says Peters."


Nonviolence International is proud to stand in solidarity with our fiscally sponsored partners Control Arms (CA) and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) as leading advocates for disarmament.

 

NVI interns Paige Wright and Lea Hilliker recently wrote two powerful articles on gun violence. This one reflects on how school safety drills can negatively impact young people and this article focuses on Gender Based Violence and links to our partners’ work.


 

 

 

 

Raising Up Impressive Group Challenging GBV in Palestine

Sadly, Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a serious problem all over the world. Confronting this issue is challenging anywhere. Imagine how life under occupation would add to those challenges.

NVI was just introduced to the important work of ADWAR: Roles for Social Change. https://adwar.ps/we/

We urge you to become familiar with this impressive organization and consider actively supporting them. 


Please click here to see their moving statement about the killing of journalist Sherine Abu Akleh

Other recent highlights of their work include:

A project that focuses on: Developing the knowledge and skill of the Men’s Coalition members to advocate and protect women from Gender- Based Violence, on general violence issues, equal rights, advocacy mechanisms and accountability, to advocate the battered women rights and reduce violence.
– Raising awareness among the Palestinian society about the suffering of women from violence in all its forms, highlighting the negative effects of it on the family and society and how to confront it.
– Lobbying and influence decision-makers in the Palestinian government to adopt policies, procedures and programs that contribute to protect women from violence and punishing the offenders.

An initiative enhancing women participation in Hebron governorate in the public sphere in terms of highlighting their role in accountable the parties responsible for corruption and activating their roles in settling the integrity ,transparency principles and maintaining peace and security.
– Raising Palestinian public opinion about the corruption concept , its mechanisms , how it affects women, the family and society and the mechanisms to confront it, in addition to educating society in all its segments, including women, about how to go to the competent organizations to report corruption.
– Highlighting the corruption impact on women in the public field and human rights services, as they constitute the largest percentage of violations of their rights, as a result of the lack of economic, social and human rights services , protection mechanisms , prevention from security, justice and protection organizations.

Paige Wright, NVI’s Intern Supervisor,  and former Intern, Lea Hilliker, co-wrote this important piece on Gender Based Gun Violence

 

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Barwendé Sané

In this Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Barwendé Sané, a remarkable leader of nonviolence and peacebuilding in West Africa. Barwendé is a Jesuit priest from Burkina Faso with fourteen years of experience working in African conflict regions. He founded two civil society organizations to promote peace and nonviolence in West Africa and is the author of four books on nonviolence, peace education, and human rights. He is currently a fellow at the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence & Social Justice. We discussed Dr. King's legacy, the historical links between the Black freedom struggle in the US and the anti-colonial movement in Africa, and how the systemic recolonization of Africa fuels war. 

Barwendé Sané is a true heir to Dr. King, a man with the moral clarity and audacity to call out injustice when he sees it. His vocation as a priest became apparent when he launched into a sermon fiercely denouncing the systemic recolonization of Africa, his baritone voice ringing with a righteous anger rooted in love. At a time when the voices of racism and xenophobia fill the airwaves of the US and Europe, Barwendé's voice is desperately needed, reminding us of the conditions which lead African migrants to journey to Europe and die drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, drawing attention to Western complicity in the ongoing instability in Africa. Barwendé awakens us to the imperialist actions of our own governments, calling us to action to hold our governments accountable. While scathing in his critique of foreign exploitation, Barwendé pushes back against the white-savior notion of Africans as helpless victims. He has a fervent faith in the ability of Africans to be the architects of their own liberation, to use nonviolence to heal their societies and transform their worlds. I found our conversation deeply insightful and inspiring and I hope you do too. 


 

 


Learn more about the USF Institute here- https://www.usfca.edu/institute-nonviolence-social-justice


A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


 

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