Progression of Nonviolence Movements
As Black History Month comes around the corner, it is important to recognize the role that nonviolence has played in the advancement of human rights, particularly the rights of African Americans. From Henry David Thoreau’s refusal to pay his taxes in anti-slavery sentiment to the Women’s March on Washington in celebration of diversity, many people of various times have espoused nonviolence to progress their cause. To fully understand nonviolence, though, it is essential to look at its history and its application today.
No Violence, No Problem
There have been numerous supporters of nonviolence throughout history. Some of these supporters have risen to become leaders of nonviolent protests, showing the true power of peace for revolution.
Cesar Chavez, a farmer who fought for the rights of poor workers since the 1960s until his death, stressed peaceful approaches for any issue. Chavez successfully raised salaries and improved working conditions for planters in California through nonviolent strikes, which inspired worker unions to take action.
Another prominent leader of nonviolence is Nelson Mandela. Mandela was a global advocate of human rights since the 1940s, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. As a member of the African National Congress , Mandela conducted peaceful protests and resistances against an oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. He helped brought an end to the apartheid.
Along with these two figures, Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most recognized nonviolent leaders. The Nobel Prize Foundation acknowledged King for using nonviolent civil disobedience to fight against segregational policies against the black minority, preaching for equality between all races.
Despite facing hardship, all three leaders believed in the same thing—a peaceful resolution is key to obtaining justice.
Nonviolent Movements in Alhambra
Peaceful protests have been around for a long time and are an amazing way to get a message across without having to resort to violence. Many nonviolence movements have been held in numerous locations around the world, including Alhambra.
On March 15, 2011, teachers at Alhambra High School protested teacher layoffs. According to members of the Alhambra Teachers Association (ATA), teachers did not receive notices before being laid off. The ATA gathered outside of Alhambra High School to protest the unfair treatment of its teachers. They handed out flyers and urged parents to support Governor Brown’s proposed balanced state budget, which explains that the educational system has taken an unnecessary amount of teacher cuts.
Strongest Weapon: Tolerance
Nonviolence comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome. Although there is a huge history of violence in the past, there is also a history of nonviolence. Along with that, there are many people who helped cause nonviolence such as Ghandi or Chief Joseph. Nonviolence is a great life philosophy and method for taking action in the world.
With the idea of nonviolence connecting to pacifism, it helps people to unite together without anyone getting hurt. Nonviolence also allows people to fight without fighting doing things such as boycotting, marching, striking and participating in sit-ins to provoke social conflict.
One person in history who managed to succeed with a nonviolent act of justice was Rosa Parks. On Dec. 1, 1955 Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, AL, and sparked the American Civil Rights movement of the 20th century. Nonviolence as said by Martin Luther King Jr. is truly a powerful weapon which cuts without wounding people and honors the person wielding it.