This year started off with several events at the Resource Center for Nonviolence.
There was the Poor People’s Town Hall in Felton, MLK Youth Day, the MLK March for the Dream, the John McCutcheon concert. Then there is currently the organization of the upcoming programs: the next Poor People’s Town Hall in Live Oak, The Radical King book group, the Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Reconciliation Training in spring, and the Selma Cultural Exchange trips in spring.
End of January, the 30th to be exact, is also the official beginning of the Season for Nonviolence. It starts with the anniversary of the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi and ends on April 4 with the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
With all this going on I am reflecting on the power of these seasonal mottoes and what good they do to the Resource Center for Nonviolence. Without doubt an annual commemoration of important days in history is necessary to remember and keep ourselves on the toes. However is the Resource Center for Nonviolence not supposed to be a place buzzing year-round to celebrate and practice nonviolence? To educate, to gather as a community and to host art exhibits?
The Radical Zine – a seed sown
I think of The Radical Zine (available at the RCNV), a project that our volunteer Bernardita Garcia Jimenez initiated.
It started as an awareness campaign about MLK’s legacy and how it is unjustly marketed and distorted nowadays. The zine was meant as a one time thing but after the small addition of the letters vl. and the number 1 it has now become an ongoing publication of the RCNV. For our volunteer such a project – the production of a magazine – revealed to be a creative outlet to express herself. She found the space and support to do so at the Resource Center for Nonviolence. The next zine is going to be about poverty and Bernardita is calling for submissions so the whole community can contribute to the next volume.
The Poor People’s Town Halls – Communities in need everyday
I also think about one of our programs which happens regularly 12 times a year, the Poor People’s Town Halls. In these meetings the communities of Santa Cruz County speak about their struggle with poverty. It aims to nurture a lost but inherent sense of empowerment among the exploited and oppressed. These meetings are part of the regional Poor People’s Campaign, a movement that originated under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over 50 years ago. Representatives of local organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America, the Climate Action Network or It’s Our Home come to these town halls each month. Community members give testimonies, artists perform and we sing protest songs. The organization Community Bridges
now hosts almost all town halls. They happily agreed to support the Poor People’s Campaign continuously!
Selma Cultural Exchange Trips – making it happen within four seasons
Admitted, our Selma cultural exchange trips to the US deep south only happen once a year in spring. However if we want to create a truly Beloved Community that enables all to come along a cultural exchange we need to raise funds for them! And that easily means a year-round job. I cannot think of many things more in the spirit of nonviolence than these transformative trips. But if we want to make these come true for under served community members – the outreach is a major task that cannot be squeezed into a few weeks of work. And frankly, would it do justice to the importance of this undertaking? A year long fund raising campaign is not an unrealistic estimation for the actual workload.
Last but not least the Resource Center for Nonviolence needs volunteers and donations throughout the entire year!
Only things like these will guarantee a sustainable impact of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in order to fulfill its mission. Come by and get involved or set up a monthly donation for the RCNV in your bank account now.
This way we will be able to celebrate the Season for Nonviolence for years to come!