The time is passing, and the cognitive dissidence has begun. The pain of Newtown has not sparked a new conversation. It has not sparked action but rather expected responses from a gun saturated country. Silenced politicians and profiteering spin doctors progressing private agendas through the pacification of the American people is sealing our fate to experience more pain. The idea of a gun free society is not what we want nor what I and many others are calling for as the solution. We are calling for an acknowledgement that Chicago has been experiencing this level of violence for the last 5-10 years. Double digit shootings in a weekend, and murders in a month is common everyday life for the 5-10 year old children in Chicago, where our Presidents political aspirations were molded and the stomping grounds Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last campaign, titled the Poor People’s campaign.
We are asking. New York City not to celebrate 414 murders as a new low but rather a tragedy. This year Chicago reached 500 people shot and killed, while the US Military had experienced 309 casualties in Afghanistan.
“In 2010, nearly 700 Chicago school children were shot and 66 of them died. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a memorial for 260 school children who had been killed in just the previous three years. On several occasions in the past year, tens of people have been shot in a single weekend on the streets of the city. The worst three-day stretch saw 10 killed and 37 wounded in gun fire. But Google the term “Chicago weekend shootings” and the results are far too many deadly weekends to count.” (http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/260-school-children-killed-chicago-3-years-where-are-tears-them)
If the black and brown children who are being gunned down at epidemic proportions is not enough to create a tipping point for change then I hope the horrific destruction of these teachers and white childrens, bodies, dreams, and souls can motivate us to create a new town for all children of all colors to grow up in a safer, healthier, and more hopeful community. Newtown must push us into a new time were the focus is creating a new town for all of our children and adults alike. It must push into a new time where everyone in the new town is our brother & sister. We must begin to realize that our homeland security is protected best not by providing guns to every man women and child but rather erasing the feeling of fear and reality of financial insecurity of our children and their parents. For many of us the issue of gun violence is now at a heightened uncomfortable pervasive level compelling us to jump to creating a quick solution, and this quick solution will ultimately foster a false feeling of safety and security. I hesitate to mention that this type of violence has plagued communities like Los, Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Chicago, and New Orleans, to mention a few, for many years. I bring this up not because i want to compare the level of violence that many people of so called color have been experiencing for generations but rather to point out that this phenomena has now reach all corners of our country. As I type this the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr are pounding in my ears like that first homemade 12″ woofer I had in my trunk as a teenager. His words were, “injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, and what effects one of us directly effects all of us directly.”
The pain that has been shared by the people of Newtown and all of our towns will be repeated if we do not include nonviolence education in our schools for all children and college students. I am not talking about the passive form of nonviolence or negative peace education that is presented as conflict mediation or resolution, but rather a form that inspires leadership and the desire to actively promote, practice, and reflect positive peace everyday of every moment directed towards everyone of the human race. I am talking about a type of nonviolence that encourages each citizen to reflect the leadership qualities and most importantly their activities. I am talking about a philosophy that was inspired by Gandhi and the youth of the southern states of the United States. I am talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy Kingian Nonviolence. His example and historic leadership of the youth of his time has helped people/nations around the world create a New Town for themselves in the past and it can help us now and in the future. I see all the change we want to achieve as possible but not if we continue to fight each others as leaders, organization, politicians, democrats republicans, or individual people. Too many of us are making his a job and not their calling. To often, we as so called activist, are putting profit over people. We need to reflect the type of collaboration and respect towards each other so that others can learn. We must be honest about how the process is painful, far from passive, and is conflict full and worth to pain because the transformation is as beautiful as the process of a Caterpillar becoming a butterfly. I believe if we as organizers, trainers, educators, and nonprofit organizations can begin to work together to provide the support needed to our communities, the creation of a New Town is possible.
Jonathan L. Lewis
Founder of the Positive Peace Warrior Network