The burden of leadership

July 6, 2013

Everyone seems to like the idea of leadership and everyone claims to be leaders in their own right. Growing up I struggled with the idea of leadership and I remember thinking that they have so much courage putting themselves out there to be judged by people who can’t do what they do. I continued to study and found that it doesn’t matter the leaders effectiveness or style because others always find something to point out as a flaw or weakness.

In my experience as a leader I have not been able to escape this burden or these judgements. I have stood in the door and made room for many others to come through only to find on the other side of the door for folks to turn their backs or express ultimatums. Then I sit with my thoughts and go back an forth fighting with myself. I ask myself, “Why do you want to empower others before you have what you need?”, and my answer is because it needs to be done and these are the skills that i posses and it would go against the idea of the Beloved Community if I don’t. I also do this because it was done for me and I owe it to those who came before me.

The only partnership I believe will always be there is my relationship to my God. I am striving to be a better human being but will never strive to be more like any of you. I seek acceptance from above not from the horizontal plane. I accept the suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal to the best of my current ability and if I don’t live up to your expectation sorry but your not my goal or the judge I am seeking and awaiting your decision/verdict.

I embrace the judgements and will continue to improve at my fastest pace. Leadership is not easy but it is necessary to move us beyond our past order of business.

Positive Peace,

Jonathan L. Lewis

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It is time for OLD ideas with NEW legs and the Montgomery Movement type of committment.

June 4, 2013

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I am sitting here feeling the need to get something off of my chest. I write these words with a deep love for all those who sacrifice personal profit and struggle to make tomorrow better than today.

In the wake of all the domestic tragedy/terrorism many of us are frightened that the next place we go could be the next place to go KaBoom or to be laced with bullets. We are living in a time where violent expression of ones internal pain and external disappointment over a personal conflict with an individual or society as a whole, is becoming the norm.

Understandably, folks are calling for more gun laws and more police in our schools to protect our most precious gift to the future, our children. I cant imagine how I would feel if I was to receive a phone call stating that my child was gunned down by an unstable person, a student, or a police person. I agree with having the strictest of policies that do not infringe on the 2 Amendment of the Bill of Rights (as reads today). I believe that many of us are correct with our outrage with the current crisis we call reality, however, I will not condone violent acts of retaliation until all other Kingian & Gandhian nonviolent solutions have been explored. We continue to have protest/demonstrations that last for less then 48 hours. We think we are doing something but it pales in comparison of the activist of the the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 381 days of commitment that serve as the foundation of all of Dr. King’s activist life and future campaigns. I think here is the secret to their victories and the reason for our constant tire spinning. We can not be afraid to live differently. We can not be afraid to take a stand in the face of personal persecution.

This is why Gandhi is quoted saying that, ‘ if cowardice is the only option to violence, he believed it better to fight back’. Cowardice is not an option! The american way is to fight back and I agree we must fight back to show our children how to redirect our nation in the moment of crisis. We must act in a way, so our land doesn’t experience any more victims of senseless violence. I must be clear that I am not suggesting to suppress the voices of decent. I am suggesting that we must move with military precision, Kingian compassion, and Gandhian determination to uncover the root cause of the recent acts of domestic tragedy/terrorism/violence. Dr. Martin Luther King jr fought with tenacity of a rattle snake and the compassion of the dove. His venom was a vision of a new world and philosophy of reconciliation to bring forth the Beloved Community. After being bit by his vision none of us have ever been the same.

Dr. King was a solider for God.
Dr. King was a man of Courage.
Dr. King was a human that spoke truth to power.

Our children deserve more from us than to just honor the mans ‘Dream’.
He did not speak to please everyone but rather to ease his conscience and better his relationship with his God. When speaking he seemed more focused on justice for all of humanity and working for the people not prestige. As we continue into the 21st Century let us learn from him that the price of freedom is a life’s commitment not lip service and half steppin.

I must tell you I am intrigued by the idea of more trained forces in our schools. Our teachers need all of the support we can provide them in order to create a positive learning environment. I believe if we are to save the smallest of us we must be proactive in a way that prevents all people from potential pain and conflict growing into violent expression. Dr. King believed in a special forces group that received special forces type training with the focus of creating a final outcome of reconciliation not absolute surrender of the opponent . Our schools need specially trained individuals who have the courage to act nonviolently in the face of expressed violence. This will be the key to us creating a healthy positive learning environment for our children, for your community, for the United States of America, and our planet.

As a people, we have surrendered to violence as the solution and because of that we are constantly exposed to more violence. I don’t hear the everyday citizen talking out against the constant forms of suppression that the American people are being exposed. I see many honoring those heroes of the past that were willing to risk everything to help humanity get back on track with honorariums, statutes, and jobs. I wish we honored them by conducting the same type of courageous acts of solidarity in the name of future generations. I also realize that just because I don’t see or hear our elders and current activist conducting themselves strategically that they are not trying. It does put me in a place where I want to try harder and offer my hand in the effort.

If we have been woking in the same field for decades and we can not point to major progress than I must ask how effective have we been. Folks continue to encourage others to get involved in the system so that you can change the system and I would have agreed 10 years ago with that approach. At one time I thought only if the idea and plan was presented that intelligent people would decide to include the ideas because it would further the cause for humanity as a whole. If this was only the case. In my short life I have seen brilliant ideas ignored because those in leadership did not identify with the expression of the idea or the accent that echoed throughout the room as it was explained. When will this end?

It is time for new ideas and the Montgomery Movement type of committment.


KINGIAN NONVIOLENCE 2 Day Core Orientation with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. February 8-9, 2013

January 3, 2013

February 8-9, 2013

9AM – 5PM Each Day
Philadelphia, PA  (Exact Location TBA)

Cost:  $150.00 per participant from community based organizations
              $300.00 per for university or corporate staff
(see below for scholarship info)

What:

Positive Peace Warrior (PPWN) nonviolence trainers will introduce community participants to the Kingian Nonviolence philosophy and the ways Kingian nonviolence, as espoused by Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., might be utilized to work with community leadership in nonviolent conflict reconciliation and story-telling. This 2-day orientation is designed to explore how the philosophy of Kingian Nonviolence has been used to prevent violence and identify violent prone situations.

The course will focus on violence prevention and violent prone situations using the philosophy of Kingian Nonviolence.

Registration: To register for this training, CLICK HERE.

Cost: The full tuition  will cover all expenses, including training manuals, supplies, training fees, travel for the trainers, etc.  Limited scholarships will be available, but will be based on how many participants are able to pay the full tuition, and how much we are able to fundraise.

For More Info: Contact her at Joan.May.Cordova@post.harvard.edu She will be posting updates via Facebook and Twitter @ForCommunities


IDLE NO MORE

January 1, 2013

The end of the world prediction has come an gone. Some thought the planet was facing end of days, but rather, it seems that the idle apathetic behavior, the silence of the masses, and the acceptance of ineffective governmental policies and politician by the people is what is coming to an end. The indigenous communities are rising up and calling for governments to make good on the treaties the were signed between nations. They are not calling for violence they are calling for negotiations. They are not conducting terrorist acts to raise awareness they are calling for global participation using song, dance, and the power of the drum to bring people of all nations together, and to raise awareness to their plight. Their fight is all of our fight. More People! More Power!! More Progress!!!

In Ottawa Canada, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, finds herself half way through her 22nd day of her showing her commitment to negotiation and change in the form of a hunger strike. As a leader in the indigenous community and of the Attawapiskat Nation she has tried to meet with Canadian political officials and again and again they have refused to meet with her on a Nation-to-Nation level. She would like to discuss the treaties that the Canadian government signed with her nation years ago. It is because of this refusal to negotiate that she began her hunger strike. She is a traditionall women. “Her teepee is situated on an island in the frozen Ottawa River looking up at Parliament Hill.”

I recently traveled to Boston, MA to observe/participate at the Idle No More flash mob in front of Quincy Market on January 31, 2012 and on my way to the event I found an article titles ‘Hunger-strike Games’ posted on a blog called Ottawa Citizen, and here is a quote from the article I wanted to share and explore. The author of the article said the following when he began to describe Chief Spence actions; “Emotional extortion may be reasoned, calculated behaviour on the chief’s part but in no way is it reasonable behaviour in a free and democratic society. If the government gives in to anybody with a grievance who threatens to harm himself, hunger striking will be as common as dieting. Democracy will disintegrate.” I think the author was misguided because this nation is based on Chief Spence type of courage and committment, in fact it resembles the intestinal fortitude of our founding fathers. Her action is evidence that Democracy is alive and well. The government recently did negotiate with a group of people who create a crisis that was motivated by industrial suicidal practices and yet Wall Street Banks received a bailout. I don’t agree with the way the bailout money was distributed and the lack of regulation for what it could be used for, but I do agree with the government doing right by companies that do right by their employee’s. I do agree with company’s putting people before profit and if they don’t, they don’t deserve the financial support from the government, better yet , from the people of the United States of America. If governments around the world want to live up to the promise of democracy they must make good on their agreements. Chief Spence efforts are putting people first and because of that deserves all of our support. Below you will find a statement put forward by Chief Spence on her 20th day of her Hunger Strike.

Positive Peace,

Jonathan L. Lewis
Founder of the Positive Peace Warrior Network

For more information on the Idle No More effort:
click: http://www.ipmo.org
click: http://www.idlenomore.com

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Hunger+strike+games/7760983/story.html#ixzz2GkSxczHg

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/national/manitoba-elder-says-he-ll-join-spence-in-ottawa-as-hunger-strike-continues-1.37714 


From Newtown to a New Town

December 30, 2012

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.

Positive Peace,

Jonathan L. Lewis

Founder of the Positive Peace Warrior Network


Stepping in for a Legend!

November 14, 2012

Kalyana “5th Elament” Champlain holds a Masters degree in Communication Studies, is a member of PPWN, educator, and hip hop artivist.

Dr. Bernard Lafayette had an unbreakable commitment this past weekend and asked the Founder of the Positive Peace Warrior Network, Jonathan Lewis, to conduct a meeting in Trenton, NJ to explore the institutionalization of Kingian Nonviolence education and leadership development programs. I have joined Doc on many of these types of meetings over the years. 10 years ago I did not know why I should be at those meeting and now today many of Dr. Lafayette’s efforts to help develop me as a leader are cherished with ultimate gratitude. Because of Doc’s efforts yesterday I and many others are ready today.

I met the challenge and brought t warriors (Kalyanna “5th Elament” Champlain and Chief Raymond “Two Hawks” Watson)I have been working with over the years; who are both from my home state of Rhode Island.The task before us can not be accomplished by one only. We must work together and let those who are effective lead.

During the meeting we were asked how is Kingian Nonviolence different to all the other Bullying & Teasing curriculum’s out there? The response is simple but profound. Our focus is not on punishing the bully. Our focus is on the Leadership Development of the entire community and the expression of the bully’s desire to be a leader.

Below is a written reflection of Kalyanna’s experience rollin with PPWN.

PPWN: Sunday in Trenton

November 11, 2012, Trenton, NJ- 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. My friends are still sleeping in from the night before, but I am awake. I was given an invitation that week that I took with open arms. I check a text message from Jonathan “Globe” Lewis letting me know he is on his way with Ray “2 Hawks” Watson. We are headed to Trenton, New Jersey to offer them a solution toward nonviolence. We are headed to Trenton, New Jersey to be this generations’ cause to stop the wars, internal and external, that are ravaging our communities. We are in the first step, gathering information: talking to the people, finding out what they need. We are in the first principle: driving there courageously to help them find a way. We do so with humility-for all the things that we can offer, but also for all the things that we can receive.

We are greeted by a shared history of struggle and conviction parking next to this old Quaker Church that has called on us for a solution. Its stones and declarations of peace place its position in history; the building stands quiet but strong against the horizon. It is the morning as we pull over on this side street that is adorned with families exiting church in their best Sunday gear. Later it would be desolate except for a street fight that would take place between a gang of middle schoolers, complete with the arrival of a police task force. Welcome to Trenton. where your odds of “being a victim” are 1 in 7.

Much like the times of Civil Rights we are greeted by all races, religions, and backgrounds. Much like during the times of Civil Rights, we were challenged being this young generation committed to what sometimes seemed to be an impossible task. But after 3 hours of dialogue and 2 servings of  macaroni and cheese (because apparently “quakers know food”), we were sure that we could somehow build together to find a solution. We met with religious leaders, community leaders, those in political office, and a 14 year old young man who has had 2 instances of being bullied. A young man who when I spoke to him later stated, “I think I could be a leader, with the right help.”

They spoke of many of the issues that plague so many areas today: School systems that are more concerned with academic scores than personal well being, teachers burnt out from lack of support, drop outs that feel unreachable, young people exposed to violence in media that normalizes the degradation of our humanity, never mind the violence in the streets and the unspoken violence that floods our homes.

So what can Positive Peace Warrior Network offer? “The framework stays the same, but for each location it tweaks itself accordingly. What we are saying is that we know the frame works, it is just about how your location needs to WORK IT,” stated Globe with a smile, “That is what we hope to provide for you- a way to work it.” Everyone nodded in agreement as PPWN begins its moves to form national examples to help invite the use of Kingian nonviolence in schools, communities, homes, and prison systems.

We arrived home late that evening, tired but grateful. We drove there with determination and hope, and returned with conviction. We are the healers. We have a mission. We are the Warriors of a new generation. Aho

Kalyana “5th Elament” Champlain holds a Masters degree in Communication Studies, is a member of PPWN, educator, and hip hop artivist.


Protected: Selma March Movement Madness 2013 Kingian Nonviolence

November 12, 2012

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