Shared vision — a better world is Possible
“You must be the change you want to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
There are people everywhere who want to help create a better world — people deeply concerned about widespread suffering, environmental destruction, escalating materialism and the loss of our sense of community. There is a deep and growing hunger for a wiser and more loving society. Gandhi and King modeled the vision to create such a society.
They claimed the power for social change lies within individual consciousness. That if we really want to create a wise and loving world, we must first become wise and loving ourselves. With a vision of a society governed by love and the common good , we have a powerful antidote to the violence, distrust and division of today’s politics of fear.
In practicing the relational principles of nonviolence, we seek to recover and renew ourselves, our families and our politics so that violence and secrecy no longer shape our behavior. We realize that our lives, and those of our children, depend on our evolution. Learning to be nonviolent is a new way of living requiring a healing process that begins with the individual and ripples out into the larger world. As we heal our own relations, we are demonstrating that people, organizations and governments can move the world proactively toward peace and wisdom. Join us in exploring and building this new future.
Joint (Gandhi-King) principles of nonviolence
- Nonviolence means to honor the inherent worth of every human being. In nonviolence, we naturally seek to understand each other, build friendship and build community.
- Nonviolence means believing that our lives are linked together, that what we do impacts the lives of everyone we encounter. That we are responsible to and for one another. That we can trust one another and work toward the common good.
- Nonviolence means dedicating ourselves to the fundamental rights of every human being (justice, equity, equality).
- Nonviolence is courageously choosing to practice compassion with our adversaries. We oppose injustice, not people.
- Nonviolence means recognizing love as the power of the human spirit to triumph over injustice, inequity, suffering, a true hero’s journey of personal-social change.
Gandhian principles of nonviolence
“Truth is my religion and non-violence (love) its only realization.” — Mahatma Gandhi
- Respect — I vow to respect others and the interconnectedness of all life.
- Understanding — I vow to understand the "whys" (meaning behind behavior) for myself and others.
- Acceptance — Out of respect and understanding, I vow to accept the differences of others.
- Appreciating differences — I seek to move beyond acceptance into appreciation and celebration of difference.
- Truth and truthfulness — I commit to be truthful and authentic and to confront untruth wherever I find it.
- Absorbing suffering — I take on without complaint any suffering that results from my confrontation with untruth. I also accept that all forms of violence cannot be totally eliminated.
- Ahimsa (nonviolence) with my adversary — I vow to help my adversary avoid all suffering, especially from our confrontation.
- Trusteeship and constructive action — Beyond personal necessities, I see myself as God’s trustee over my possessions and talents. I promise to use them to empower others and make things fair for all.
Eight social blunders — Gandhi
- Wealth without work
- Pleasure without conscience
- Knowledge without character
- Commerce without morality
- Science without humanity
- Worship without sacrifice
- Politics without principles
- Rights without responsibilities
Martin Luther King's principles of nonviolence
"The aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness, while the aftermath of nonviolence is the beloved community." — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
- Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
- Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
- Nonviolence holds that suffering for a cause can educate and transform.
- Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
- Nonviolence holds that the universe is on the side of justice and that right will eventually prevail.
King's six steps to social change
- Information gathering
- Personal commitments
- Direct action
- Reconciliation and healing process
The core values of Cesar E. Chavez
"There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence." — Cesar E. Chavez
- Acceptance of all people — An essential ingredient for success in organizing diverse forces to achieve social change, create community and actualize democracy is the acceptance of all people; an absolutely indispensable necessity to the well-being of this country.
- Celebrating community — Sharing the joyous and respectful expression of cultural diversity through the reinforcement of the values of equity and responsibility to and for one another.
- Respect for life and the environment — Respect that holds as sacred the land, the people and all other forms of life.
- Nonviolence — Invoking nonviolence as the most powerful tool for achieving social/economic justice and equality; action that requires boldness and courage versus meekness and passivity.
- Innovation — A creative capacity to find pragmatic strategies and tactics to resolve problems and situations that often seen insurmountable to others.
- A preference to help the most needy — A concerted effort to support programs that reach the most needy, the most dispossessed, the most forgotten people in society no matter how difficult the challenge that choice may bring.
- Knowledge — The pursuit of self-directed learning and the development of critical thinking and constructive problem-solving skills; overcoming ignorance through education.
- Sacrifice — Sacrifice that is spiritual; that is courageous and steadfast in its willingness to endure great hardship for others.
- Service to others — Service that is predicated on empowering others; engendering self-help, self-determination and self-sufficiency versus charity.
- Determination — Determination that is characterized by an attitude that, with faith, steadfast commitment, patience and optimism, human beings can prevail against all odds.