By Barbara Fields
The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence is a grassroots awareness campaign growing out of the passion and creative expression of spiritual and civic-minded individuals and communities worldwide. Our vision is of a world that works for everyone, carried forth by the proactive, life enhancing philosophy of nonviolent action as demonstrated by legendary leaders Mohandas K. Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar E. Chavez, and President Nelson Mandela, as well as living legends such as His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Its purpose is to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action.
2014 marks the 17th anniversary of this revolutionary initiative in which unwavering nonviolence in thought, emotion, word, and action has become a chosen way of life for growing populations everywhere on the planet. The Season for Nonviolence represents a successful new model called, “omni-local” conscious action which is achieved by…
“Engaging large numbers of self-empowered leaders and groups in a collective intention; supplied with strategic sharable tools and adding their own local resources they work globally with a singular purpose.“
The Season for Nonviolence project has now evolved through our collective, exemplary leadership in more than 900 cities in all U.S. States and 67 countries during the past fifteen years. The bookend memorial anniversaries of Gandhi (Jan 30) and Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4), Tibet Uprising Day (March 10), the birthday of Cesar Chavez (March 31), Freedom Day in South Africa -- a public holiday celebrating the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994 (April 27).
A Season for Nonviolence was co-founded by Arun and Sunanda Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and the Leadership Council of The Association for Global New Thought, co-chaired by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. the organization that convenes and manages SNV on an annual basis.
Our objective each year has been to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practice as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and communities. Through an educational and community action campaign, we have recognized those who are using nonviolence to build a community that honors the dignity and worth of every human being. By identifying “what works” in these new models for reconciliation and human harmony, we are demonstrating that every person can move the world in the direction of peace through their daily nonviolent choice and action.
General Overview of Results for SNV
Launching on the January 30th memorial anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, A Season for Nonviolence draws to a close on each year on the King April 4th memorial, having seeded since 1998 substantial activity in over 900 cities in all 50 states, and 67 countries. At least fifty percent of our United States governors, and many mayors issued official proclamations for the 64 day period, and innumerable unique events and programs have been developed and carried out at the local level during the Season. There are over 23,000 web pages that refer to Season for Nonviolence. Media coverage includes radio and television broadcasts, PSA and film productions, and print publications at all levels from local to national press. At least 350 major Peace organizations, religious, business, arts, and learning institutions have identified themselves as actively engaged co-sponsors of the Season for Nonviolence initiative.
United Nations Launch - 1998-2013
SNV was launched for the past fifteen years, beginning with the inaugural event in 1998, at the United Nations. These events brought forth substantive endorsements and commitments from the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, the U.S. Ambassador to India, Vice President Al Gore, and the Director General of UNESCO on behalf of its Culture of Peace AND NONVIOLENCE appeal by the Nobel Peace Laureates (language officially added as a result of the SNV inaugural year). Other notable speakers included Jesse Jackson, Dr. C.T. Vivian, and Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne of Sri Lanka. Concurrently on that date, task force leaders collaborated to create additional celebrations in other major cities. In general, A Season has received the written support of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Robert Muller, and many other serious and distinguished individuals from virtually all sectors of the world leadership community.
The Association for Global New Thought is the convener and co-founder of SNV. Season co-founders are Arun and Sunanda Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Partners are Anthony Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta, contemporary of Chavez and Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Co-directors are: Dr. Bernard Lafayette, former executive assistant to Dr. King and Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island, Dean Lawrence Carter of the MLK Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, Dean James Parks Morton of the Interfaith Center of New York, Alison Van Dyke of the Temple of Understanding in New York, and Dr. Richard Deats of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Co-founder and Project Director is Dr. Barbara Fields, Executive Director of the Association for Global New Thought, Program Director for the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, and for the Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
10th Anniversary Celebration
In 2007, A Season for Nonviolence was launched once again at the United Nations and culminated with a unique event: The Gandhi King Peace Train and Living Legends of Nonviolence Conference. This gathering of peace activists took place from April 18-21, 2007 in Los Angeles and San Jose, CA and aboard a specially chartered train between the two cities. It was a rare rare opportunity to collaborate with fellow Season task force leaders, and internationally renowned Living Legends of Peace representing the most innovative approaches to nonviolent activism. At this conference we launched the Perennial Season for Nonviolence, featuring Seasons for: The Earth; Humane Service; Interfaith and Intercultural celebration.
We hope you will be among those empowered individuals and communities whose co-creative leadership will promote nonviolence as a way of life on this planet. We appreciate the time you take to explore your own role in this worthy campaign. You are the one the World has been waiting for.
Barbara Fields is the Executive Director, The Association for Global New Thought ; Co-founder and Project Director – The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence ; Program Director – Parliament of the World's Religions centennial celebration in Chicago; Co-founder and Project Director – the Synthesis Dialogues I, II, III & IV with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama; Coordinator of U.S. based omni-local initiatives for Harvard-based Project on Negotiation’s Abraham Walk Initiative in the Middle East; Program Director - International Buddhist-Christian Theological Encounter, Purdue University and the Lilly Foundation; Delegate – UNESCO Seminar on Religion and Peace. Awards include: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Holmes Institute; Religious Science International’s first Peace Award; the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award from Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College, The Peace Museum's Community Peacemaker Award in the area of Diplomacy; Co-founder of The Earth Network, a non-profit alternative television organization for which she received the Visionary Award from the Center For New Television. Board member – Foundation for Conscious Evolution. Contributing author: The Community of Religions; Two Hundred Visionaries; Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power; numerous articles and publications.
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This article appears in:
2014 Catalyst, Issue 4: Season of Nonviolence