July 29, 2020
Late in the afternoon of July 17 I heard the news that C.T. Vivian, an iconic civil rights leader, had passed away; later in the day, the passing of Congressman John Lewis filled the airwaves. A feeling of profound sadness enveloped me. I did not know C.T. Vivian except for what I knew and read of the struggles he endured in shaping the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s. John Lewis I had the privilege of meeting on two occasions; one of times we shared a rather lengthy discussion. He was an amazing man!
Both of these men were fearless, unequivocally committed to justice and filled with a deep faith that propelled them to action. Despite being mocked, beaten, disrespected and jailed, their faith and focus never faltered. Each was steadfast in his belief that nonviolence was a path to conversion and that nonviolent social action was a means to accomplish justice.
The lives of these men have led me to reflect about the future of nonviolence as a tool for social change. The initial and most profound conversion for each of them, as well as for each of us, is our own personal decision to live a life of nonviolence. This nonviolent belief must manifest itself in our thoughts and choices as well as our actions and interactions. It is a lifetime of learning and relearning what a nonviolent lifestyle really means. Faith, steadfastness and grace accompany the journey.Read More