Two Hands of Nonviolence in Nebraska

Nebraskans from throughout the state—from Scottsbluff to Omaha—gathered in Grand Island Saturday to commemorate World Peace Day and commit to practicing nonviolence in their personal lives and resistance work. The event was organized by Central Nebraska Peace Workers and attended by board members of Nebraskans for Peace.

As if sounding the call to nonviolence, the church bells tolled their midday welcome while folks gathered
around the Peace Pole at Trinity United Methodist Church. When the reverberation waned, the 18 participants used reflection, prayer and song urging them to hold on to hope in these turbulent times as they reach out to others—both like-minded individuals and opponents—to foster a more just, peaceful and nonviolent world for all. Those gathered were encouraged to use creative and visible nonviolent actions along with coalition building with other groups working for a better world.

Organizer Kathy Niece reminded those gathered that there are two elements to nonviolence. She demonstrated this with a two-handed gesture. Extending one palm outward to symbolize stop, she lowered the other hand, palm up, to symbolize openness. “While we say no to the societal evils of injustice, racism, war, and poverty,” she said, “we also need to reach out to our opponents. We are not enemies. We’re all in this together.”

The gathering closed with attendees reciting the Pledge of Nonviolence, declaring their intent to strive to practice nonviolence toward themselves and others as participants in the global movement to abolish war, end poverty and racism, and stop environmental destruction.