How can you participate in “September 11th IS a Choice”? (continued) September 11th IS a Choice Work a Day for Peace – Volunteer a day of your time to help local -- Choosing the Path of Nonviolence -- organizations that promote peace and justice. If your schedule is too busy, consider donating a day’s pay to these organizations. There are Two September 11t„s to Remember Encourage your Church or Spiritual Home to Focus on Nonviolence – Ask September 11, 2001 will forever be remembered as a day of great tragedy. When we your pastor, rabbi, or other leader to focus talks during this time on the messages recall the attacks on our country and the loss of life, the hurt, grief, and questioning are of peace, kindness, and nonviolence that are important in your spiritual tradition. deep – who could want to do such a thing? Compounding the tragedy, our country chose to See if distribution of the Pledges of Nonviolence to the congregation would be react with retaliation, revenge, and violence. We chose the path of violence and today we possible.. see the consequences. We have created enemies of whole peoples, we labeled them “terrorists”, and we vowed to destroy them. We have lost the respect of our allies. We have Write Local Newspapers and Elected Representatives – Write letters to the made our world more violent and less secure; our freedom and civil liberties are curtailed editors of our local newspapers that let it be known that the cycle of retaliation at home; our values of justice and equity have been eroded. and violence can stop. Tell your national representatives that you want security It doesn’t have to be that way. There is another September 11th to remember as an built on strong connections between people, not on intimidation and war. expression of love and determination, as a day of peace. Remind them that September 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace, established specifically as a day of ceasefire – a day that all hostilities September 11, 1906 a small Indian man held a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa of should stop. Tell your newspapers and representatives that you want them to nearly 3,000 Indian business men and community leaders to frame how they would respond honor this day and want a unilateral ceasefire in all areas of conflict throughout to a racist, apartheid state that would deny them the most basic freedoms, justice, and the world on this day. dignity. Mohandas Gandhi organized this gathering and outlined a strategy of nonviolent resistance. He called the movement “Satyagraha” – literally holding truth/love (satya) with Celebrate our Commitment to Nonviolence in a Way that is Fun and firmness and determination (graha). He asked the audience to take a pledge of Creative – And let us know your creative ideas so we can share them with nonviolence, but cautioned them not to take this pledge lightly, warning that the others on the “September 11th IS a Choice” website. consequences of nonviolence and resistance could be beatings, loss of homes and businesses, jail, and even death. Virtually all who attended stood and took the pledge. Thus September 11 is symbolic of a basic choice that we all must face: Do we respond to deep hurt and challenge with a practice of revenge and violence? Or, do we choose a Where can I get more information about “September 11th IS a practice of nonviolence and determination not to give up our inherent humanity? Each path has its consequences. And, it’s a path we choose everyday, not just on September 11. Choice” and practical alternatives to violence? We express our choice in the way we deal with problems at work, in the way we respond to Check out the “September 11th IS a Choice” website at our family, and in the way we provide for the security of our communities and our nation. www.seattlecenterforpeace.org . Let us use the period from September 11th to September 21st (the United Nations’ Contact Sandy Fox, founder of the Seattle Center For Peace and executive director of International Day of Peace) to reflect on this fundamental choice. Let’s make a special effort the Puget Sound Network of Compassionate Communication, by e-mail at to deepen our understanding of the practical and spiritual consequences of violence firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 322-9899. and nonviolence, to learn more about how nonviolent strategies have brought about constructive You may also contact David Berrian, a coordinator of the Western Washington change throughout our history, Nonviolent Peaceforce, at email@example.com or (425) 482-3026. to improve our skills in peacemaking, nonviolent communication, and reconciliation, to help our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors choose a path of nonviolence, and, like those at the meeting in Johannesburg one hundred years ago, to make a personal Satyagraha pledge for nonviolence. How will we commemorate this period from September 11th to 21st? How can you participate in “September 11th IS a Choice”? We are Encouraging Groups to Initiate Activities on Nonviolence -- The Bring this Opportunity to Groups of which You are a Part – Think about power that our commemoration of nonviolence and hope will have to light a all the groups you belong to– your family, your workplace, where you new path depends on the individual lights we all bring to it. We are calling worship, your community organizations and political parties, where you meet on community groups, churches/spiritual organizations, schools, etc. to take friends, etc. Tell them how much you are personally concerned about the initiative to develop programs to examine and promote nonviolence. violence in today’s world and ask them to consider Large or small, simple or elaborate, widespread or limited such events will o becoming a sponsor of the “September 11th IS a Choice” effort, illuminate and celebrate our intention to break the cycle of violence with our o developing a special program, activity, event, or service that focuses connection and commitment. on deepening our understanding of peace and our practice of nonviolence, We are Building a Special Website for “September 11 th IS a Choice” – o offering the opportunity to take a simple, Pledge of Nonviolence, From mid-August to mid-October we will maintain a special website that o encouraging members to support organizations that promote justice contains and nonviolence year-around with donations or their volunteer o a master calendar of community events related to peace and effort. nonviolence, o links to websites of organizations sponsoring the community Help Organize an Event in Your Community -- There are many ways we events, can bring people together to deepen our commitment to nonviolence and to o descriptions of area organizations that work year around for celebrate and have fun: nonviolence, justice, and peace, and o have a movie night where you gather to watch a film about o pages of written resources that community groups can use within nonviolence, such as “Gandhi”, “A Force More Powerful”, or their own activities. “Peace One Day” – and host a discussion afterwards. o make art together that represents our deep desire for peace. We will Provide Pledge Cards for Nonviolence – We will provide cards o hold a special prayer service for peace and nonviolence. with a simple, Satyagraha Pledge of Nonviolence that supporters can sign o host a “conversation café” where you meet to discuss differing and an accompanying postcard with which they can request more opinions about topics, such as “Is Nonviolence Practical in Today’s information about future nonviolence events and trainings from area World?”. organizations. These cards will be available through our website to any Make a Special Effort to Connect with Children about Nonviolence – If group that wants them. we want to change our culture of violence to a culture of peace, the children must be prepared to lead. Balance the glorification of violence they see on We will Provide Wristbands that Commemorate the Pledge of television and in games with your deeply held values for nonviolence, justice, Nonviolence - In some countries it is traditional to commemorate and cooperation. Talk to your children about your values. Help them build important events (such as weddings, births, and deaths) with a cloth band the skills of nonviolence in their everyday lives. Go to your local schools and tied around the wrist or arm. Simple bands of white cotton from India will offer to bring a special activity into the classroom that helps young people be available through the website to groups that want to commemorate the deepen their understanding of nonviolence. significance of their Pledge of Nonviolence. (Homespun cotton was an important symbol for self-reliance being an essential aspect of nonviolence, Distribute the Pledges of Nonviolence and Information about Practical reliance during the struggle for Indian independence.). Alternatives to Violence – Share your concern about violence in the world with people around you – your family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. We will Help Identify Resources for Events on Nonviolence – We will Many people have not thought much about it and may think, “What can we compile lists of people who can help your group with ideas for activities, do, people have always been violent.” They might appreciate hearing that who bring programs or put on the activities for your group, or who will loan nonviolence is something that we can choose. Invite them to take a personal equipment like sound systems or video projectors to activities. pledge of nonviolence and to learn more about how to practice nonviolence in their daily lives.