(1) What does nonviolence have to do with me? When I think of nonviolence I think of protests and demonstrations. I’m not going to do either, so why would I take a workshop in nonviolence?
Nonviolence gives each of us a choice with respect to how we live our lives with the people around us. It is a common misconception that nonviolence is about protests and demonstrations.
The purpose of the workshop is to help people to better understand nonviolence, so they can make an informed decision about whether nonviolence is for them.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s perspectives on nonviolence are what we call “Kingian Nonviolence”. Kingian Nonviolence is useful in that it provides a framework of principles and steps that help us to understand what it means to take a moral approach to living our lives; an approach that encourages us to create communities where every single person is supported in reaching their full human potential; an approach that encourages us to approach all other people with unconditional goodwill and understanding.
Nonviolence is an alternative to both violence and the acceptance of a status quo that tolerates the brutal (or subtle) victimization of people. “Nonviolence is positive, powerful and effective because it calls forth the very best in human spirituality and intelligence from the people that use it.” (quote taken from The Leaders Manual – A Structured Guide & Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence: The Philosophy and Methodology, by Bernard LaFayette, Jr., and David C. Jehnsen)
Awareness of Kingian Nonviolence enables us to see options for how we could be with each other. It is up to each one of us to first understand it, and then decide whether we want to embrace any of it. Even people who decide that nonviolence is something they would like to weave into their lives may not be comfortable with all aspects of the Kingian Nonviolence framework. But that framework is available for each of us to leverage as we see fit.
(2) Is nonviolence religious?
Nonviolence is not religious, but it does depend on the internal moral and spiritual character and values of the individual and the group. This is one reason why nonviolence is appeals to people of many different faiths.
I guess I would call Nonviolence “secular morality”, rather than religious.
(3) Is nonviolence a cult?
Nonviolence is not a cult.
Nonviolence is a system of thought, philosophy, art, methods and strategies based on social growth, human reconciliation and changing conditions.
Martin Luther King Jr. took what he learned about nonviolence from many sources, used it to bring about social change in the civil rights movement and evolved his philosophy of nonviolence based on what he learned from his experiences. His philosophical perspectives on nonviolence are what we call “Kingian Nonviolence”. Kingian Nonviolence is what is taught in the 2-day workshop. The intention is not to exclude other perspectives on nonviolence, but rather to provide focus.
Kingian Nonviolence is a framework consisting of 6 principles and 6 steps. Nonviolence becomes a way of life for people who embrace all 6 principles and all 6 steps. Each individual decides which, if any of the framework they want to embrace. The power of nonviolence comes from the internal moral character and values of the individual and the group.
(4) I am not in Canada but would like to register for a workshop. Do you sponsor travel costs and accommodation?
Will your organization assist me in getting a visa ?
This initiative is focused on promoting nonviolence in Canada. I do not have the resources to help with visa applications or to sponsor travel and other costs. However, I am part of a global network of nonviolence trainers. I may be able to connect you to someone in your country who is certified to give the same workshop I am offering. Please let me know where you are (email firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in knowing whether workshops are being offered closer to you.
There is also a Summer Institute at the University of Rhode Island that supports international participation and may be able to help with sponsors and visas. The 2012 summer institute will likely be in early June 2012, with dates to be announced soon. See http://www.uri.edu/nonviolence/index.html