Nonviolence is a refusal to shoot your opponent, but also a refusal to hate your opponent. Being driven by hate is unsustainable, and it impacts you more than the person you hate. Holding hate in your heart against even the “worst” opponent is an act of internal, emotional and spiritual violence you commit to yourself. “I have chosen to stick with love. Hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” – MLK
Nonviolence is a commitment to take a stand against violence and injustice. Nonviolence is not only about “not being violent.” It is a proactive force for change. When you see violence and injustice in your community, what are you going to do about it? It is an active force of resistance and change.
Nonviolence challenges the notion that we can continue to use violence to make the changes we want to see. Regardless of whether you think your cause is just, if you use violence, fear and intimidation to get what you want, you are perpetuating the cycle of violence and injustice.
Nonviolence works to change people as well as systems. Even an outright overthrow of government or capitalism will not bring about the changes we need. Systems are driven by people, and if the people are still corrupt, they will corrupt any system. Nonviolence aims to change not only policies and structures, but also our culture and value systems.
Nonviolence is a commitment to being the change we want to see. Nonviolence allows us to use tactics and strategies that are in line with our moral principles. The values that serve as the foundation for the ideal community we all want to live in – compassion, understanding, justice, love - must be reflected in the process of getting there. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
Nonviolence moves aggressively with the power of love. Nonviolence recognizes that love is the most powerful human emotion, and can bring about powerful transformation. It is the only force that can turn dark into light. And we recognize that love can be aggressive and assertive. “Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” – Che
Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is far from a weak, passive or reactionary force. To take a stand against the injustices and the violence that has become the status quo in our society takes incredible courage.