PDF co-sponsors Kingian Nonviolence Trainings
In the month of July, PDF, in partnership with Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) and the Babson International Peace Fund of PDF, sponsored two separate two-day orientation trainings to Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation.
Kingian Nonviolence, a curriculum which the entire PDF staff and board have gone through, was developed out of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and addresses a framework to understand and respond to conflict and a strategy for organizing communities.
The first training, July 16th and 17th, took place at the Oakland Peace Center and was facilitated by PDF Program Coordinator Kazu Haga, Senior Kingian Nonviolence trainer Jonathan Lewis, and Lori LeChien from the Paolo Friere Freedom School. The 30 attendees ranged in age from 16 to 60 and represented six countries, with experiences ranging from founders and Executive Directors of large nonprofit organizations to formerly gang involved youth to attorneys and college students.
"We had participants who work on local violence prevention efforts, environmental issues, housing, youth issues, restorative justice, global economic reform, many of them PDF grantees," said Jonathan Lewis. "And all walked away having gained something that they can apply to their life and work."
The second training took place two weeks later, and began with some bad news. A young person was shot in the streets of Oakland, right outside the doors of Kazu Haga's home the night before the training.
"It felt symbolic, to witness that, then be in a room full of young people the next morning and talking about the need for nonviolence and more programs like this throughout Oakland," said Kazu. "I think for us and everyone in the room, it really brought it home."
This training was held in East Oakland at Youth Uprising and sponsored by Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. Half of the participants were high school students, with the age range in this training spanning from 13 to 70. The experience varied widely as well, with youth on probation and former mayors taking the same training.
"The response from these two trainings have been amazing," said Kazu, who also co-facilitated this training with Jonathan Lewis. "There is now discussion about further trainings, advance trainings, the creation of an ongoing learning community around Kingian Nonviolence, and even the possibility of hosting a Level 1 Certified Training-for-Trainers in the Bay Area.
"In addition to the shooting that happened outside my house," Kazu continued, "there were three murders in Oakland just during the two days that we were in training. The three who were killed were 26, 21 and 16 years old. This level of violence is unconscionable and unacceptable."
Contrary to some people's belief that nonviolence is a passive force, Dr. King argued that nonviolence is an aggressive antidote to violence. These trainings are one more way for PDF to support organizations that are working in the community.
Despite the violence, we know that with these trainings, our investment in peace is increasing, and it is only a matter of time before we see the returns.