Notes from August 2019 Action Week Conference Call

On August 29th 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.

CNV Action Week Conference Call
August 29, 2019, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (60 minutes)

Opening Quote – Ryan Hall

  • “In the course of serving your fellow creatures you will get a measure of the progress you have made in nonviolence and of the power that is in nonviolence.  Armed with this power, a single person can stand against the whole world. That is not possible with the sword.” – Gandhi

Welcome– John Dear

  • We are all trying to engage the culture of violence with the power of nonviolence. Speaking out publicly against the culture of violence is so important in building a new culture of nonviolence. Gathered here on the phone call to support each other in this powerful work. 

Ken Butigan – Updates

  • This is Pace e Bene’s 30th anniversary, and Ken has been involved 29 years. We are facing so much violence, but the potential of nonviolence, as Gandhi talked about in our opening quote, is more and more evident. It is because of this work to connect the dots that Pace e Bene/CNV has become a partner of the Global Climate Strike, September 22-27. Greta Thurnberg has called on the world to strike and take action against environmental destruction. Consider joining this strike as part of your work for CNV week of actions. 

Kit Evans-Ford

  • 2924 actions scheduled at the moment, and we are likely to go over 3000 actions this year. Shows how much effort and work is going into building this movement. Always encouraged by the people who make working towards active nonviolence and peace part of who they are and work towards these goals year round, not just during action week.

  • Trying to get actions in all 50 states. Currently looking for contacts in South Dakota and West Virginia. Contact us if you know anybody.

  • Please keep us updated with your events planned for the week of actions so we have accurate details for actions and a complete count of all the events scheduled.

Introduction – Ryan Hall invites people to share about the events they have planned so far.

Kate Towle – Minneapolis/St. Paul

  • Partnered with local climate justice organization. Planning 10 Days Free From Violence 9/20-29. Kickoff event will be a Walk for Planet Peace with Rev. James Lawson and Fr. John Dear. Also celebrating Gandhi’s birthday with children’s essays about Gandhi’s life and nonviolence. Looking at peace literacy as the second language we must learn after being raised in a culture built by colonization and slavery. Over 40 events planned this year. Aim to steep the community in understanding the strategies of active nonviolence. Planning festival of giving to teach children empathy, workshops on implicit bias, racial healing circles, community potluck with Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, Fellowship of Reconciliation speaker, celebration of women coming out of sex slavery, and much more.

  • John says everyone should check out their website:

  • Also don’t forget to do as much press work as possible. Call local and national organizations to get maximum coverage. Even try CNN -- they’ll be looking for big stories, particularly because of the strike. 

  • Kate adds that the president of the Minneapolis NAACP and Miss Black Minnesota are also going to be involved in their actions. 

  • Rev. Lawson organized the sanitation strike that Martin Luther King was shot at. He also developed the lunch counter sit-in strategy during the civil rights movement. He worries that we are losing the legacy of what he created, so everyone is excited to tap into that nonviolent energy again.

Kim Tull – Wilmington, DE

  • Peace Week Delaware started six years ago with a march. Will have another march this year with a kick off event featuring spoken word and speech writers. This is the first event they have organized (on 9/21), where in previous years they have promoted events other people have organized. Kicking off Nonviolent Wilmington project on the last day. Promoting LGBT rights, vegan programs, two human trafficking programs, and a children’s peace art program that has now become a traveling show. Up to 90 events this year. 

  • The turnout for the march has varied. In the first two years it was 300-400 people, but is now down around 150 people marching since they don’t promote it as much. Movement for a Culture of Peace organizes the march and an anti gun organization runs the rally.

  • Introducing public declaration to become a NV City and embody a movement for a culture of peace to launch NV Wilmington as the first step.

Cathy Webster – Chico, CA

  • Chico has been in limbo with a nearby fire, but joining in the New Green Deal Strike. Getting the mayor of Chico to make a nonviolent proclamation. Library project involves reading a peace poem to a child on the weekend after the International Day of Peace. 

David Slesinger – Lowell, NC

  • Got arrested in May at his congressman’s office for refusing to leave. Didn’t end up going to jail. The judge said that she was opposed on principle to sending people to jain for civil disobedience but will require that he serve 48 hours if he doesn’t pay his court costs. 

  • There is a rebellion group in Charlotte with five other people willing to go to jail to make a point on the climate issue. Trying to act in Gandhi’s footsteps like when he got people to fill the jails during the Salt March. Doing their best to make a big statement, not just intermittent actions.  

Sue Woodling – Raleigh, NC

  • On Saturday the president of the NAACP and other gathered together for an event to watch the movie Wilmington on Fire. One of the researchers was present who found the name of the african americans murdered in 1898. Great turnout and discussion.

  • For the week of action, starting with a forum about dismantling the new Jim Crow laws. Then planning yearly prayer vigil and Kathy Kelly will speak at an event. Ending with a Dinner of Diversity potluck featuring various musicians and sharing of cultures. Already planning for next year and how to focus on climate issue.

  • Came back recently from Journey to Montgomery, where 60 peace activists gathered to tour the civil rights museums in Montgomery and Selma. Recommends it for people looking for a life changing event.

Sharon and David Hoover – Joplin, MO

  • First time they haven’t been organizing since they just moved to Joplin, MO. Instead they will be presenting Thomas Merton/Dorothy Day play on 9/20 in Cincinnati and then heading to Minneapolis/St. Paul to share the play there on 9/24 and work together with Fr. Harry Bury. 

  • Kate in Minneapolis adds that Twin Cities Nonviolent is excited to promote this play and get them a good turnout.

  • Ken invites everyone to think about making their city a nonviolent city, even if not in time for this year’s events, maybe for next year.

Barbara Jacobson – Prescott, AZ

  • Instead of doing 4-5 activities this year, focusing all of their attention on an interfaith gathering on 9/21. That day is also the state democratic convention, immigration panel workshop, youth climate rally, racial justice program, and the international day of peace. This year, hoping to unite all of these events around the theme of peace. Trying to get people together to learn from each other as much as possible.

  • John urges them to start talking about how to become a nonviolent city and put an organizing committee together later in the fall after the week of actions. Start planning now for next year.

Ryan Hall

  • Next year in August 2020 will be the next Campaign Nonviolence National Conference in Albuquerque, NM. Really hoping to get a nice turnout. Rented out a ballroom for 500 people. There is a discount on tickets if you purchase them before Christmas.

  • Our new study guide Engaging Nonviolence will be available in mid-October. Serves as an update to Engage but goes beyond that by offering ways for people to get involved in nonviolence in their own communities.