Notes from July Action Week Conference Call

On July 25th we held a conference call for the 2019 CNV Week of Actions. We checked in with organizers around the country to answer questions and offer suggestions to make this year the most successful one yet. If you missed the call, you can read the notes or listen to the audio below. Click here for more information about the Nonviolent Cities Project.

CNV Action Week Conference Call
July 25, 2019, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (60 minutes)

Opening Quote – Veronica Pelicaric

  • “I hold that nonviolence is not merely a personal virtue. It is also a social virtue to be cultivated like the other virtues. Surely society is largely regulated by the expression of non-violence in its mutual dealings. What I ask for is an extension of it on a larger, national and international scale.” – Gandhi

Welcome– John Dear

  • Here to share and learn from each other. Pace e Bene is here to offer support and resources. Already 2800+ actions registered. 

    • Remember when organizing your actions the original intent of this week -- connect the dots of violence, particularly war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction and call for a future of nonviolence.

    • Encouraging people to use the word nonviolence. Doing our best to practice and mainstream nonviolence. Consider having a nonviolence training.

    • Refer to the covenant of nonviolence as a guiding resource.

    • If you can, do a public march. These were key for Gandhi, King, Chavez, and other major nonviolence figures. Take to the streets.

    • Press -- the week before, reach out to your local media. We have advice on our website.

    • Nonviolent Cities Project -- Week of Actions could be a catalyst for how to grow into a nonviolent city and beginning long-term organizing. 

Ken Butigan – Updates

  • All of the events scheduled are ways of going public events. This movement has grown to ten times its original size for the week of actions. Nonviolence is a universal ethic, way of life, and method for active creative transformation. Deeply moved by the increasing embodiment of nonviolence in action that people around the country and world are exhibiting. On the precipice of taking this idea of a culture of peace and nonviolence to the next level. We know the importance of taking this idea to the streets, letting the public know that there is an alternative to violence or passivity.

Roll Call – Ryan Hall read the list of people who were on the call and where they were calling in from.

Lindsay Mitnik

  • Thanks to everyone who has signed up to take action. For those in the beginning stages of planning, look to Moments of Mass Mindfulness, May Peace Prevail, One Day One Choir, and others for some ideas and help. Make use of the resources in the action list for ideas.

  • Look to the action list for inspiration as well, and possibly ways to connect with people in your community or geographic proximity.

  • Will be sending out an email in August with resources about press releases, social media, etc. 

  • Make sure to get your event registered with us so people can find your event and support your work. You can send emails to Lindsay, Kit, Ryan, or through the form on our website.

Bob Estes – Little Rock, AR

  • Fifth year being involved with CNV. Organization goes by Little Rock Peace Week. Have grown over the years, and encourage other like-minded organizations to get involved. This will be the second year that Decarcerate joins in for week of actions for restorative justice work. Working on curricula for the elementary schools in several school districts to experience practical nonviolence trainings based on MLK Jr.’s teachings. Second year of youth forum for high school and college-aged youth.

  • Holding their first peace march through downtown Little Rock. Host an interfaith meal with a local Islamic center. The mayor will issue a proclamation about peace and nonviolence, though the governor has declined doing the same.

  • John says to use the covenant of nonviolence during the march, before or after or even both. Also be clear about being part of Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Actions. Use our website to help connect actions to part of a larger movement. 

  • Ken also shares gratitude for organizing a march, invites everyone participating to boost visibility for their events by staging a march en route to the events they have planned.

Sue Woodling – Raleigh, NC

  • Focusing on racism this year, and connecting the dots by emphasizing ties to CNV since 2015. Very involved with sanctuary movement. Spreading word about CNV at local sports events. Showed John Dear’s film They Will Inherit the Earth during holy week. Involved in working for Palestinian rights. Holding a book group for becoming an anti-racist church, specifically combatting white supremacy. Showed a film about incarceration and race issues. In August a lobbyist will come to speak to the group about lynching.

  • For the Week of Actions there will be speakers talking about dismantling Jim Crow laws, a prayer vigil for nonviolence, North Carolina Peace Action Group will have a fundraiser that week as well with Kathy Kelly coming to speak about connecting the dots with war and violence. Ending the week with a celebration of diversity. In October they will join with a group called First Wednesdays for their vigil. The governor and the mayor will again proclaim in Campaign Nonviolence Week.

  • John reminds all participants that October 2 is the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday and to use that for promotion and gathering interest as possible.

Angela Parker – Marin County, CA

  • Some of the things they are working on are organic, and a lot of what they are doing is connecting to other groups and organizations doing things in the area (north of San Francisco). Partner with Seniors for Peace to do an anti-war demonstration. Also going to go to the local college and set up a table with CNV presence to talk with the students with Center for Domestic Peace, committing to change issues relating to violence within the home and violence outside the home. Also working on a contentious debate about minority housing issues and how to make changes in the community nonviolently.  

Anne Suellentrop – Kansas City

  • Kansas City Art Fair coincides with the Week of Action. Inviting a consultant to help with diversity in the fair and hold a workshop on issues facing minority populations (LGBT, people of color). Going to increase the number of LGBT and people of color participate in the fair. Doing workshops to help people become more self sufficient as artists -- learn how to price their art, etc. This event is in direct competition with a corporate art fair being held at the same time with the effort of helping local artists support themselves. Also inviting other peace groups, like Grandparents Against Guns, to get involved and help create a more inclusive, peace-oriented city. Bringing focus more to nonviolence than just art.

Martha Anne Kirk

  • Suggests art, poetry, music, etc. are the most effective way of getting youth involved and encourages people to create more outlets for that.


  • Last year did a last minute one-man walk around downtown Calgary, AB. Asks for some advice on how to organize a march. By invitation only to have some control over the march? Also working on reconciliation with First Nations in Canada. Is it appropriate to ask people participating in the march to purchase something to identify themselves as being part of this invitation only group, particularly to support organizations that work towards reconciliation?

  • John suggests not selling things, but instead organizing meetings and trying to get 10 people to attend. At this meeting start to see who else is willing to help organize. Then simply set a time and gathering place, walk a few miles, and encourage people to bring signs about the nonviolence issues they care about. Then after arriving at the destination, have a few people to speak about the issues. This is an exercise in building community. Everyone is invited, which makes it out of control, but there is some structure involved with things like the Covenant of Nonviolence. Also get people talking about Nonviolent Cities Project, and reach out to local pastors.

  • Ken suggests considering sites of some significance of violence/nonviolence. Use the first meeting to consider the most impactful options. Sites of peace and nonviolence? Sites relevant to policy? Miles says to consider maybe even sites sacred to the first nations.

  • Lindsay and Ken remind people there are brochures and banners available on the website for people to use.

Anne Barron – San Diego, CA

  • Asks if anyone is organizing with to stage walkouts on September 20?

  • Lindsay says 350 New Hampshire is already involved and to reach out to local organizing groups.

  • Anne says organizers with 350 tend to worry about becoming part of the CNV week of actions because they fear they will lose their message being part of a different movement. Lindsay notes that joining with CNV mostly helps to spread the word about the 350 movement while keeping their brand, their contact info, etc. CNV working to support different organizations working towards the same goals and bring everything together.

  • John mentions that the effort here is to break down the walls between these issues so we can work together/be stronger together.

  • Lindsay also notes that the official theme for this year’s peace day is the climate crisis.

Linda O’Hara-Scott – Eureka, CA

  • On the evening of September 21, 2019 Kunle Community will have a candlelight vigil for nonviolence, with poetry and music, at the Gazebo in Old Town, Eureka, CA from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Wally Inglis – Hawaii

  • There are people organizing at Mauna Kea nonviolently to protect the Hawaiian environment. During the week of actions, going to welcome the ship Golden Rule to emphasize nonviolence and creating a culture of peace. Also continuing to organize at the federal building in Hilo, and create peace zones in areas of low-income housing.

Veronica Pelicaric

  • We are producing a sequel to Engage. It’s a useful tool for spreading nonviolence, and coming to that place within us so that we can share it with the public. The book is called Engaging Nonviolence. Keep an eye out for it on the website, coming soon!