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Wednesday, 31 October 2018 05:14

Moving our Community to Peace and Nonviolence

Written by David Stocker
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Northwest Regional Mini-Conference
September 21-23, at Beaverton, OR

David Stocker - NSFA Contributing Editor

With about 60 people in attendance, keynote presenter Rivera Sun, well known for her popular fictions, Billionaire Buddha and The Dandelion Insurrection, was right on. The Dandelion Insurrection follows a colorful cast of activist characters in a society that is crumbling from the weight of capitalism and empire. Drawing from her other career as a nonviolence trainer for Pace e Bene, she told real his-stories and her-stories of people who changed the world without violence. Her statistics that nonviolence  succeeds more often than violence for regime change, civil rights actions, and fair working conditions were heartening.

Rivera gave us tools to mount our own campaign. She walked us through Goals, Strategy, Targets, Participants, Duration and timing, and Resources and risks; then we considered how to apply these tools in our area of interest during breakout sessions.

In the breakout sessions, the afternoon presenters included Benneth Husted on the subject of nonviolent resistance in Palestine, Ethan Livermore of the Poor People’s Campaign, Maxine Fookson of the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (Imirj), and Peter Bergel offered strategic guidance for non-violent campaigns and great music! Each presenter modeled ways to move deeper into that list of nonviolent strategies.

Kevin Carroll, Nonviolence and Peace Fellow with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC), brought us up to date on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI), a global effort affirming the vision and practice of active nonviolence. It calls on the Church to promote nonviolent practices and strategies and no longer use or teach the “just war theory.” See Kevin’s article, "Just War or Just Peace?"

David Stocker. I count myself privileged to have also been a presenter, telling about Border Encuentro, which takes place November 15-18 in Nogales, AZ. See my article, "The Art of Nonviolence." 

March and pray. Before our Saturday afternoon Mass, we took to the streets to demonstrate our newfound active nonviolence skills, using our voices, signs, and drums.

Friday dinner. Affiliates and presenters broke bread together at the Hotchkiss home, celebrating International Peace Day. After a delicious meatless meal, we discussed, “How can Maryknoll Affiliates help build a nonviolent community?” Tom Hastings, from Portland State University, said peace is on the path to being a separate educational discipline.

Sunday lunch. Our final gathering focused on Global Vision. Over a Mediterranean themed meal, we shared some of the places in the world with which we feel a special connection. Watch for an Easy Meeting about this in our next issue!

Principal presenter Rivera Sun, author and Pace-e-Bene Active Nonviolence trainer, writes fiction books where heroes 
succeed through nonviolence.


This break-out group focused on organizing an Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. 
Kevin Carroll, speaker from Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, and his sister, Megan Carroll, beat their drums.


Affiliates (L to R) Bertha Haas, Teresa Kuntz, Kitty Schiltz, and Paula Schaffner march with signs.



Ethan Livermore (left), with Poor People’s Campaign, Portland, learned how to make drums at David Stocker’s breakout session.
Seattle Affiliates Bill O’Dwyer and Ralph Maugham chat at the Friday night dinner hosted by the Hotchkisses. 
Affiliate Gabriella Maertens and Kevin Carroll, MOGC, show map with our global connections.



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