To our Beloved Community,
And we thought 2012 was a big year.
Barely five months into 2013, PPWN has already directly exposed close to 500 individuals in Kingian Nonviolence. We partnered with Selma’s Freedom Foundation to offer a three-week Alternative Spring Break program for 250 college students. We hosted a concert, “Rock the Movement,” featuring Hip Hop artists Talib Kweli and Jasiri X. We partnered with Christian Peacemaker Teams for our first fundraising event. We helped Dr. LaFayette receive UC Irvine’s Citizen Leadership Award, an honor he shared with the Dalai Lama and President Jimmy Carter.
And we’re just getting started. As you read this letter, Jonathan is in Medellin, Colombia conducing a Level I training for a group of Hip Hop artists and youth workers, and I am heading to Tokyo, Japan to participate in an international interfaith event and speaking in front of Japanese youth.
This summer, we will certify over 100 youth to become peer educators in Kingian Nonviolence, and they will be working with our local partners to create a culture of peace in their communities all year.
In the fall, we plan on working with a group of inmates in the San Francisco County Jail systems, to work with them over several months and certify them as Kingian Nonviolence trainers so they can also begin doing peer education inside the system.
We are working to institutionalize Kingian Nonviolence at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, working with a dedicated team of students and faculty. We have workshops planned on campus well into 2014!!!
Yet as much as our work is expanding, there are always constant reminders of how far we still need to go. The country is still struggling to make sense of the Boston bombings, the Sandy Hook school shootings, and the daily reality of violence that so many of our communities struggle with.
And as if trying to mourn those tragedies wasn’t enough, many of us are left with even more anger and sadness as we watch our society’s responses to those incidents. Increased racial profiling in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon, calls for more weapons in schools as a response to Sandy Hook, and policies that make it easier for our young people to end up in prison as a way to deal with street violence.
At PPWN, we know that as big as our 2012 was, and as big as 2013 is going to be, we still have a lot of work to do.
In the face of tragedy, Dr. King reminded us that, “we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, and the philosophy which produced the murderers.”
In other words, we can increase security at major events, change school policies to bring in more metal detectors, mandate background checks on gun purchases and incarcerate more and more young people, but until we address the “way of life and the philosophy” which breed violence in this nation, we will not know peace.
And that is the work that the Positive Peace Warrior Network is engaged in. By institutionalizing Dr. King’s philosophies of nonviolence, we are slowly changing not only policies but also cultures. We are not only re-examining our security measures but also our values. We are not only responding to the last tragedy, but working to prevent the next one. We are not only decreasing violence but increasing justice, peace and understanding.
It is this vital work that we are engaged in, and it is this vital work that we are asking you to be involved in and invested in. As you know, PPWN is still a tiny organization, and we are committed to continuing to partner with many of the hardest hit communities that do not always have the resources to pay to attend our trainings.
While some of the communities we partner with have access to resources and some do not, we know that we are all impacted by the same conflicts. Dr. King reminded us that we are all, “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
You may or may not have ever been incarcerated, but we are asking you to support our work in the jails and prisons, most of which is still completely unfunded. You may not be a young person living in a violent neighborhood, but we are asking you to support our work with youth around the country. You may not see yourself as an “activist,” but we are asking you to support our work with social change organizations. Because we know that by supporting them, we are supporting the growth of the Beloved Community, a community that encompasses us all.
Please consider giving as much as you can by clicking here. As a small organization with a tiny budget and a big dream, we know how to make every dollar stretch.
Let’s all make this commitment to ourselves and to each other: Boycott Violence! Invest in Peace!!!
Positive Peace Warrior Network