Training for Nonviolence
Remember the last time you found yourself in a conflict situation, heard an oppressive statement or witnessed the diminishment of another human being?
As a peacemaker, you no doubt wanted to respond in a way that would bring justice, reconciliation, and healing.
Yet we know that addressing a challenging situation in a way that brings peace requires preparation, practice, and the building of capacities.
FOR-led nonviolence trainings
The Fellowship of Reconciliation has been working with groups, communities, and individuals to build these very capacities of nonviolent response.
We are thrilled to share with you what we have been doing to train others in the nonviolent way of life, as well as our plans to build on the wisdom and expertise of past FOR programming by launching new nonviolence training opportunities this season.
Your support, care, and input allow FOR to sustain this work, and these new programs are achievable with your continued support.
A need for nonviolence and reconciliation
I expect that you have been following the concerning news from Ferguson, Missouri, where the killing of an unarmed black youth named Michael Brown by a white police officer prompted protests that have fueled a national movement for greater police accountability and community partnerships. The situation has been unfolding over the last several months.
As stories come out of Ferguson that speak of years of racial bias and distrust between police and the community, there is clearly much need for justice and reconciliation. But as you know, achieving those goals takes training and diligence.
I write to you having just returned from Ferguson.
As FOR Training Coordinator, I had the rare opportunity to learn from local organizers while contributing to a series of nonviolent civil disobedience workshops in preparation for the Weekend of Resistance.
FOR Freeman Fellow Rev. Osagyefo Sekou joined with partners at PICO Network to lead on-the-ground nonviolence training workshops built around FOR’s nonviolence toolkit.
The ongoing work and presence of FOR in Ferguson shows our organizational ability to respond on-the-ground, and demonstrates how we can assist our local chapters and affiliates through preparatory training opportunities.
During the “Moral Monday” clergy march in Ferguson, there were 37 arrests during the civil disobedience action — and no violence on the part of the protesters.
Your community’s capacity for nonviolence
Please reply to this email and tell me any projects or movements you’re a part of.
If capacity-building around nonviolence and reconciliation doesn’t exist in your community, can FOR support you in building those resources? Let me know!
What issues in your community are calling out for reconciliation? What issues are calling out for nonviolent civil disobedience?
If you’re not currently working with a local FOR chapter and would like to be connected to one — or learn how to start your own FOR chapter or affiliate an existing organization with FOR — just reply to this email and we can make those connections.
Building a nonviolent future
In short, I’d like to hear from you. Not only to get a sense of what nonviolence and reconciliation work FOR members are involved in, but to support our plans for nonviolence trainings in the next year — both in terms of where in the country we might schedule future trainings, and what movements we might feature as case studies in those trainings.
Your support has helped make FOR a leader in nonviolent transformation work in Ferguson and in many other places around the nation and globe where justice, healing and peace were acutely needed.
As we move forward, please let FOR know how we can support this critical work in your part of the country.
With deep gratitude for your fellowship and support,
P.S. As we get closer to launching the nonviolence trainings and programs, we’ll email you specifics about where and when they’re taking place. If you know of others who might be interested in these kinds of events, please encourage them to sign up with FOR to hear about them!