Week 27: Peace: Nonviolence as a Way of Life
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50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 27: Peace: Nonviolence as a Way of Life

Week Twenty-seven
Peace: Nonviolence as a Way of Life
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal." King's philosophy reveals that we achieve the goal of peace through nonviolence. Other activists like Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, and Malcolm X opposed King's nonviolence approach, leaning more toward self-defense and determination in the 1960s. Despite criticism, Rev. King urged people that nonviolence is the only way to produce positive long-term change.
In the 1960s, black people were being killed, abused, and deprived of basic human rights. These circumstances can make anyone angry enough to respond with violence but King encouraged the peace. Today, King's daughter, Dr. Rev. Bernice King, teaches her father's philosophy of nonviolence. She teaches that nonviolence is a 365-day decision, a way of life. During the Freedom Award Student Forum, watch her speak to students about peace achieved through nonviolence and insist that people must have a mindset of nonviolence in order to be effective. 
Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King and Freedom Award honoree, speaks to middle and high school students about nonviolence at the National Civil Rights Museum's Freedom Award Student Forum on October 19, 2017.
Nonviolence was the foundation of Dr. King's lifestyle and leadership platform during the battle for civil rights. As a result, it can be argued that the effectiveness of the Civil Rights Movement is due largely to nonviolence. Now, Rev. Bernice King is carrying the torch of a nonviolent lifestyle and encourages you to stand with her.  The action steps below suggest ways to implement nonviolence into your lifestyle.
Be the Change! 

The first three actions are part of The King Philosophy

  1. Seek friendship and understanding. The goal of nonviolence is not to defeat anyone but to make allies and cultivate understanding.
  2. Choose compassion and love instead of hate. Adding more hate to the world has never created long-term positive change, but adding love has. 
  3. Think, speak, and create actions of nonviolence. In order for nonviolence to be effective, it must be seen in every facet of your lifestyle. Remember, actions speak louder than words, but words and actions are a direct result of your thoughts. 
  4. Communication is key. Choose your words carefully during confrontations or disagreements. Choosing nonviolent communication can steer you toward a mutually beneficial outcome. Click to learn more about this nonviolent communication strategy.
The Same but Different 
People come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes. We think everyone is different, but when we talk to each other, we may find that we have many things in common.    
(Pre-K-1 st Graders)
Listen to We're Different, We're the Same  by Bobbi Jane Kates and featuring Sesame Street friends and watch We Are All Alike, We Are All Different student project  from the Calhoun School.
(2nd -5th Graders)
Listen to Same Difference by Calida Rawles about cousins that are  worried about the fact that they look so different from one another.
Listen to Everyone is Different by Lanny Sherwin. This song teaches about acceptance, tolerance, and celebrates diversity and individuality.
(Middle and High School Students)
Go to your local library and check out the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is a true story about a young boy, named Auggie Pullman, who is entering school for the first time in fifth grade due to a facial deformity. There is a movie that will premier in November that also tells Auggie's story. Watch the official movie trailer for Wonder . Will the other students accept him for who he is or will they only look at his differences?
Watch   Harry Baker: The power of self-acceptance to find out why you should accept yourself and others just the way they are. 
Please share your stories or tell us about how you feel after viewing our emails and trying the activities for Young Activists and Families by using our hashtag #MLK50NCRM on social media or tagging us at @NCRMuseum on Instagram and Twitter. 
Share Your Story! 
Are you implementing nonviolence into the fight for justice and equality? Were your parents, grandparents or great grandparents in the Movement in the 60's? Share it with us. Tell your story.