An Open Letter to Anarchists from a Nonviolence Practitioner

October 18, 2012


Chances are you’ve never heard of me, but if you have heard of me at all, you probably know me as the nonviolence guy that wants to pacify the movement, is funded by the CIA, and wrote this piece.

While my stance on nonviolence and property destruction hasn’t changed since writing that, one thing that has changed is my understanding of what many of you were trying to do.  When I wrote that piece, I admittedly didn’t know much about anarchist theory, and the intent and strategies behind your actions.

A lot of conflicts in our society begin when we assume we know what the other side is about.  And since that time, I’ve gotten to better know some of the thinking behind some of the actions.

I’ve gotten to know some of you personally, and all jokes and differences aside, I admire the loyalty that many of you show to your people and the courage you show in putting your body on the line for a cause that you believe in.  I believe that more people need to show that type of courage, as I believe that we are in a time in history where radical change is necessary. And to get there, we will need soldiers who are willing to risk their safety.  Just like the Panthers did in the past, just like Che did, just like King did, just like Gandhi did. Read the rest of this entry »

Doc’s Wisdom

October 18, 2012

In September, we were honored to have Dr. Bernard Lafayette visit us in the Bay Area.  He joined us as we visited three pods inside the San Bruno County Jail to visit with 150 men, and we were joined by about 150 more from the community that evening to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

Here are the videos of both events.  Doc speaks on a variety of topics, including stories from his time spent organizing with Martin Luther King, on the meaning of the concept of “turning the other cheek,” the importance of working with youth, and much more.

Part 1 of the jail visit – Openings, testimonials and poetry performances from the men.
Part 2 of the jail visit – Dr. Lafayette’s Presentation, Q & A, and comments from the men.

Part 1 of the evening event – Openings, stories and poetry performances from local youth, stories and updates from PPWN.
Part 2 of the evening event – Dr. Lafayette’s presentation and Q&A from the crowd.

Street Spirit

October 5, 2012

Photo by Howard Dyckoff, taken at our 9/20 event.

The newest edition of Street Spirit features an article as well as an interview with PPWN Chair Dr. Bernard Lafayette, during the PPWN event held in Oakland, CA on the eve of the International Day of Peace.

Our thanks to Terry Messman of Street Spirit for the write-up, and to David Hartsough from PeaceWorkers for setting up the interview.

CLICK HERE to read the article, entitled, “Keeper of the Dream: Bernard Lafayette Carries on the Living Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.”

CLICK HERE to read their interview with Doc, entitled, “LEgacy of the Civil Rights Movement: The Street Spirit Interview with Dr. Bernard Lafayette.”

Street Spirit is a magazine published monthly by the American Friends Service Committee, who pays for the entire publishing costs and gives copies to homeless people to sell as a way to generate income.  Please visit their website, and support them when you see them being sold in our community!

Happy International Day of Peace!!

September 21, 2012

Happy International Day of Peace from the Positive Peace Warrior Network!!! We are in the midst of celebrating this day with a series of events and workshops with PPWN Chair and co-author of the Kingian Nonviolence philosophy, Dr. Bernard Lafayette.

Yesterday, we are able to reach close to 300 people, about half of whom were incarcerated men and the other half in the community.  We were able to speak with three different pods inside the San Bruno County Jail, each of which houses about 48 men.  Each of these pods have recently received a two-day Kingian Nonviolence workshop, so it was great to be able to bring in Doc to speak to the men.

We were also joined by several staff, including the jail’s Captain, several of the deputies and program staff.

In the evening, we were joined by about 125 people at our event at Humanist Hall.  We  were incredibly honored and humbled to see such a huge, diverse crowd.  In addition to hearing from Doc, we were blessed with some youth performing poetry, a blessing from the East Bay Meditation Center, and a video message from youth in Selma, AL (despite some technical challenges…).

May we all find joy, no matter where we are.

This has been an amazing year for us, as you all know.  In our effort to practice the Top-Down Bottom-Up approach, we have worked with sherriffs departments and Occupy Movements.  In our commitment to bridge the gap between genrations, we have worked with elders as old as 85 and youth as young as 15.  In our investment to youth, we have worked with High Schools, colleges and youth organizations.  In our effort to reach our vision of the Beloved Community, we have worked with churches and meditation centers, with incarcerated men and wealthy donors, with former mayors and homeless youth.

We’ll be Read the rest of this entry »

Another Update from Jail

August 27, 2012

Workshop held 8/6 & 8/7

Recently, PPWN has ramped up our work inside the San Bruno County Jails.  Since April of this year, we have conducted two-day workshops in Kingian Nonviolence for 200 incarcerated men.  We have already scheduled our next four workshops, which will allow us to reach as many as 200 more by the end of October, and we are expanding into some of the other jails within San Francisco County.

It has been such an honor for us to do this work with these men.  The wisdom and the love that they have shown us each time we go in is an inspiration for us and helps sustain us as we move forward in this work.  Here are some stories that we’d like to share with everyone from our most recent workshops.

This project is currently unfunded, and sustained only through the love we have for this work.  Please consider supporting PPWN so that we may continue to offer our workshops to the incarcerated community.

Good Morning!
“You’re gonna be in the violent pod today.  Oh, and there was a fight this morning so the jail’s in lock-down so you may not be able to start on time.” Read the rest of this entry »

An Evening w/ Dr. Lafayette

August 16, 2012

Click flier for larger image

Celebrating the International Day of Peace

An Evening with Dr. Bernard Lafayette

Thursday, September 20th
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Humanist Hall
390 27th St., Oakland CA

Recently, there have been growing interest in the Bay Area around Kingian Nonviolence.  Since January of this year, we have held 13 two-day workshops for well over 350 people in the Bay Area alone!

This includes five workshops inside the San Bruno County Jail and workshops for Oakland youth.  We have partnered with many important Bay Area communities, including the East Bay Meditation Center, the Oakland Peace Center, BAY-Peace, Youth Spirit Artworks, Youth Alive, various Occupy communities and more.

This event will be livestreamed at Thanks to OakTownLive for the hook-up.

We are honored to continue to work to fulfill our mission, and help Dr. Bernard Lafayette help fulfill his promise to Coretta Scott King: to continue to spread Dr. King’s philosophy with the highest integrity.

We are also excited to announce that Dr. Lafayette will finally be coming to the Bay Area!!!  Please join us on the eve of the International Day of Peace for this exciting event.

UPDATE: Program will also feature performances from local youth who have attended a Kingian Nonviolence workshop, and a video presentation of PPWN’s national work with youth.

Co-Sponsors of this event include: YES!, Youth Spirit Artworks, BAY-Peace, PeaceWorkers US, the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, and  If your organization is interested in becoming a co-sponsor ($50 fee), please send an email to

Dr. Lafayette will also be leading a two-day introductory workshop in Kingian Nonviolence that weekend, the 22nd and 23rd.  CLICK HERE for more information and to register.

Please help us spread the word about these two events!!!  Hope to see you all there!!!

“Celebrating” 9/11?

July 4, 2012

The other day, I came across this video of KRS-One on Fox News duking it out with Sean Hannity about, amongst other things, people “celebrating” after 9/11.  As the country celebrates another 4th of July, I was thinking about why so many communities have a hard time “celebrating” the history of this country and how we often times have mixed feelings about it’s tragedies.  It’s a good clip, and definitely worth watching.  If you have 9 minutes to spare, go take a look at it then come back to this.





Good?  In case you didn’t watch it, the two of them kept going back and forth and KRS made some pretty good points, points that completely flew by Hannity’s thick skull.  Hannity could not hear what KRS was saying, and KRS said at one point that the two of them were speaking in different languages.

And he was right.  They were using the same words, but using a completely different language.  They were putting very different meanings behind the same words, and because Hannity could not understand the perspective and the context that KRS was speaking from, he could not understand the message.

In Japanese, we have a word called “kotodama.”  Literally translated, it means “word spirit.”  I like to think about it this way: Words are just sounds we make with our vocal chords.  A bird can make human noises.  It’s the meaning and the context that we put into the word that gives it its true meaning, it’s spirit, it’s kotodama.

Understanding language is not about understanding what’s written in the dictionary as much as about understanding culture, perspective and context.

Mixed Emotions
9/11 was a complicated time for everyone.  I, like most people, remember the exact moment I heard the news.  I was in a cafe Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Workshops in Oakland!!!

June 14, 2012

PPWN will be hosting a couple of upcoming Kingian Nonviolence workshops for the public in Oakland, CA.  These series of workshops will be co-sponsored by our friends at the Oakland Peace Center.

The first workshop will be held July 7th & 8th, and the second one will be held August 11th & 12th.  Please follow the links to get more details and to register.

In addition, we are trying to organize a youth specific training for August 4th & 5th.  If you are in High School, or know any youth who may be interested in attending, please contact

All workshops will be held Saturday & Sunday from 10AM – 6PM.

Please help us out by spreading the word to your friends and community!!!  We hope to see you all there!

A 10 Year Training @ PDF

June 5, 2012

PDF Staff & Board going through a Kingian Nonviolence workshop conducted by Dr. Lafayette, Jonathan and myself.

The concept of being trained has been watered down.  In many social justice circles, going through a two-day workshop means you are “trained” in something.  And perhaps with some skill sets, two days is all you need.  But we see institutions that rely on violence – the police, the military, etc. – take the concept of training very seriously.  They invest tons of resources and often times the initial training can last years.

At PPWN, we believe that we need to invest in trainings in the same way, and commit to training ourselves to create change in our world.  Change is not going to come overnight, and it will not just be handed down to us.  We have to fight for it, and in order to do that we need to commit ourselves to training our communities – no matter how long it takes.

Looking back at the last ten and a half years of my life, it feels like it has just been one long training session.  On June 30th, 2012, I will fully transition out of my role at the Peace Development Fund, an organization that I have worked for since January of 2002.  I came onboard as an eager and perhaps naive 22-year old temp, and will leave as Program Director, having been given the opportunity to work with hundreds of grassroots social justice organizations from around the world, to travel to every corner of the country and even abroad, to meet with incredible elders from various movements and to have been taught lessons I would never have been able to learn in a classroom.

I never thought I would spend over a decade working with PDF.  I guess as a 22 year old, you don’t really think too much beyond your immediate future and most people my age don’t end up spending such a long time with one job.  It was not always an easy job – and at times it frustrated me to no end.  But for 10 years it was my dream job.  I’m eternally grateful to PDF for all the opportunities they gave me, for believing in me and for investing in me.  It set me up well for my new life with the Positive Peace Warrior Network.

As I look back and reminisce, here are some stories, lessons and experiences that come to mind: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Heights, IL

June 4, 2012

We just got back from a two-day workshop for a group of young people, 14-17 years old, in Chicago Heights, IL.  This workshop was conducted in partnership with the Crossroads Coalition.  CLICK HERE to see images from this inspiring workshop!  More power to the young peace warriors!


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