San Bruno County Beloved Community

First group of men at the San Bruno County Jail, CA introduced to Kingian Nonviolence in the form of a 2 Day Core Introductory Orientation. Training was provided by Positive Peace Warrior Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis

“I wish you were there that night when I let anger get the best of me, maybe I wouldn’t be here. Homies in my hood don’t speak the same language as you. I want to learn more so I don’t make the same mistakes again”, one of the men from the San Bruno County Jail shared after reviewing the 6 Principles of Kingian Nonviolence and the “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence’.

This blog will share with you the participants evaluation of the Kingian Nonviolence 2 day workshop, audio of the men discussing racsim, and positive peace poetry describing where they want to go, PPWN’s next steps and what we were able to accomplish over all.

On April 9-10, 2012, the Positive Peace Warrior Network conducted the first 16 hour Kingian Nonviolence 2Day Core Intoroductory Orientation. As this workshop was approaching I was reminded of one of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.’s speeches titled, “The Drum Major Instinct”.

Excerpts from the The Drum Major Instinct delivered By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on February 4, 1968.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, in 1968,”And so before we condemn them, let us see that we all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, JR, “Drum Major Instinct”) 

Excerpts from the The Drum Major Instinct delivered By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on February 4, 1968. Continued:

“But now the problem is, it is the drum major instinct. And you know, you see people over and over again with the drum major instinct taking them over. And they just live their lives trying to outdo the Joneses.”

“Criminologists tell us that some people are driven to crime because of this drum major instinct. They don’t feel that they are getting enough attention through the normal channels of social behavior, and so they turn to anti-social behavior in order to get attention, in order to feel important. And so they get that gun, and before they know it they robbed a bank in a quest for recognition, in a quest for importance.”

The PPWN is doing everything we can to stay up with the demand and the call of Kingian Nonviolence training around the country. Yes! The Positive Peace Warrior Network is guilty of being consumed by the “Drum Major Instinct”.

“And then the final great tragedy of the distorted personality is the fact that when one fails to harness this instinct, he ends up trying to push others down in order to push himself up. And whenever you do that, you engage in some of the most vicious activities. You will spread evil, vicious, lying gossip on people, because you are trying to pull them down in order to push yourself up. And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct.”(Everything in bold is quoted from Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.’s speech entitled, “Drum Major Instinict”)

Kingian Nonviolence education and training can help all of us harness our internal “Drum Major Instinct”.

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This opportunity to present the material brought us the the San Bruno County Jail, CA. We walked down a long corridor of class rooms to arrive at our room where we would be presenting. To our surprise there was art work and quotes expressing the need for a nonviolent change personally and as a society.

It is these opportunities that I cherish. We have the opportunity to go were most wont and to provide information that most do not have.

This particular workshop was very important to the Positive Peace Warrior Network because this opportunity came as the result of a participant who completed a 2 Day Core and was so moved that he invited us to present at his place of business in the Bay Area. Nicamer (last name and position) at the San Bruno County Jail in, California, had participated in an Alternatives to Violence workshop with Kazu Haga, earlier in the year and over heard him talking about Kingian Nonviolence, a great curriculum that would be perfect for the inmate population in California.  Approximately 8 months later Nicamer found himself at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland participating in the Positive Peace Warrior network’s Kingian Nonviolence 2 Day Core workshop in the Bay Area with Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis as his trainers. The workshop was made up of an inter generational diverse group of participants, culturally, economically, and occupationally.

I am reminded of one of the poems that was shared to the entire group during the workshop. Before you listen to the track below please ask yourself the following questions.

1. Have you every done something that could have landed you in jail if you had been caught?
2. How would you want the world to treat you if we found out about the worst deed you ever committed?
3. Are you the total sum of your mistakes alone?

PPWN visited the San Bruno County Jail two weeks in a row upon request of the inmates because Kingian Nonviolence made sense to them and they wanted more. After the overwhelming response from the men, members from the San Bruno County Jail staff asked us if we could come back to present and discuss more of the philosophy with the men. PPWN and members of the Jail staff discussed next steps and how could we give the men the same experience that Nicamer had. In other words how could they be exposed to the full 16 hour Kingian Nonviolence 2 Day Core workshop. We discussed everything that we would need in order to conduct the program and within a few days of the conversation Nicamer was able to secure two consecutive 8 hour days and recruited 30 participants including staff to participate in the 1st Kingian Nonviolence 2 Day Core workshop in the San Bruno County Jail.

The workshop was made up of an intergenerational diverse group of inmates and staff, men and women, who were all drawn to the workshop because they are all looking for alternative ways to reconcile daily conflict.  The men had so many questions and showed overwhelming interest.

We discussed issue’s from drugs, violence, love, family, racism, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the Beloved Community. Here is a short audio clip of the men discussing Racism and how to combat its growth in power and reach.

The program went as well as any 2 day that I have ever participated in over the last decade.  However, I enjoy presenting in violent communities, jails, prisons, and urban communities more then any other groups because of their depth of understanding when it comes to historic, political, and environmental, community, and individual conflict first hand.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Some of the highlights of the workshop were the discussion about one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s, titled, “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence”. This is a document that everyone needs a dictionary to read.
  2. We discussed how their families are affected by them being locked up and how they feel when their kids have to answer the question “Where is your Daddy?” or “What does your Daddy do?”
  3. One man even pulled me aside and with eyes swollen he thanked us and asked, “how can I make sure my kids and my kids friends can get trained. I want them to get this information before they end up learning the hard way.”
  4. Many of them were surprised to find out that Dr. King was exposed to some the most grotesque forms of violence inflicted by White men to the Black community and still found the power to Love. One of the men expressed that he really wasn’t feeling the first day of the workshop but when he read that, Dr. King came very close to hating all white people, and combined that with what he learn the first day, he could relate and became interested to learn more.
  5. There were two men in jail for murder and who both said they wish they had this information before and then they wouldn’t be in jail and one said it would have saved him the last 18 years of his life.
  6. The staff were very engaged and sharing their own personal story and one women staff member wanted more information about how to become a trainer.
  7. There were black and Latino inmates, some rival gang members, participating in the same Kingian Nonviolence that is used with undergraduate students, PhD professors, police officers, community organizers, and high school students all around the world.

NEXT STEPS:

PPWN will begin conducting one Kingian Nonviolence 2 Day Core Introductory Orientation every month at the San Bruno County Jail starting next month.  We will be visiting each pod one or two at a time and then we will move into the next phase of the program and that will be to conduct a Kingian Nonviolence Training of Trainers Certification program in jail on a regular schedule.  The next Kingian Nonviolence 2 Day Core Introduction will be conducted on May 22 & 23, 2012.

FINAL WORDS:

 I would like to quote the “Drum Major Instinct”, and reserve the final words from Dr. King.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.  I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.”

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED????

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One Response to San Bruno County Beloved Community

  1. What a magnificent and moving description of the Kingian nonviolence training that is now in progress at the San Bruno County Jail! I just read through this entire post and look forward to spending time listening to the audio. And the photos help to bring the writing alive. And I’m so grateful that I met Nicamer, the lead organizer at San Bruno County Jail who got everything in motion and the pieces in place for this training to happen. We were both participants in the 2-day Kingian nonviolence training at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California. May this work continue to deep, to spread widely, and to send strong, transformative roots into our communities in the United States!

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