Week 15: Peaceful Protest: Civil Disobedience
Default banner image

50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 15: Peaceful Protest: Civil Disobedience

Week Fifteen
Peaceful Protest:
Civil Disobedience 

What is the best way to create effective change, civil disobedience or armed struggle? Like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used civil disobedience as as a means of effectuating government change on policies and laws that permitted racism, injustice and inequality. On the flip side, prominent leader Malcolm X initially opposed nonviolence as a strategy for change but instead, believed that freedom and equality was to be won "by any means necessary," including violence. 

Which one has deemed more effective over decades, and what seems to be the answer today? This week, listen to Erica Chenoweth speak about the success of nonviolent civil resistance from her research on the impactful historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century, and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century. While explaining why nonviolent resistance has been so victorious, she also shares some lessons learned about why it sometimes fails. (1)

Civil disobedience was a cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement. With other forms of nonviolent protests that we can participate in today to offset unjust issues today, our current justice and political system and our government, calls for us to be abreast and knowledgeable about laws, people in positions of power or public office and our rights as citizens. Our action steps this week encourage you to take action peacefully and discover what to do. 

(1) Success of Nonviolent Civil Resistance: Erica Chenoweth. TedTalks, Nov. 4, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v+YJSehRIU34w

  1. From women's rights, criminal reform, LGBTQI rights, juvenile justice and much more, learn your rights by visiting the American Civil Liberties Union site.   
  2. Share with us on our 50 Weeks of Action Facebook Group page other ways to create change through civil disobedience. 

Peace for All People

(For Elementary Students) 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in peace among all people. Find out why with a read aloud  of   Martin's Big Words  by Doreen Rappaport .  

Some of Dr. King's "BIG words" were LOVE, FREEDOM, TOGETHER, PEACE and I HAVE A DREAM.

Think about what matters most to you, or your "BIG words." Discuss them with friends and family.  Ask them to share their "BIG words" with you. You may learn what is most important to your friends and family. Hopefully, they will also learn what is most important to you!

(For Middle School and High School Students)

Head to your local or school library and check out Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior by Ed Clayton.

(For All Ages)

Watch this video to learn even more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To create your own Poem for Peace, click below. 

Are there civil disobedience trainings where you live? Have you or someone you know participated in nonviolent protests? Share your story.
Let us hear from you.