"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."
~Martin Luther King Jr.
Welcome to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
In the spirit of the world’s great Peace makers who did not shrink from confronting injustice and oppression where it was concentrated, Ground Zero is situated adjacent to Bangor Naval Station, home to the third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.
Established in 1977, long before 9/11, its name describes the center point of a detonation, in this case the site of a concentration of weapons of mass destruction.
In the 21st century, Ground Zero describes a metaphor for the power of love. Our actions cause a chain reaction that emanates out from us in every moment. When we focus on love, compassion, kindness, peaceful understanding and social justice, what we say and what we don’t say, what we do and don’t do, affects our part of the world in ways we may never know. While few of us have the power as individuals to create global peace, one by one, collectively embodying nonviolence as a way of life, each of us can help move the world a little closer in that direction.
History of Nonviolent resistance
Nonviolent resistance or nonviolent direct action dates back to ancient times, i.e. the Egyptian midwives who hid baby Moses in defiance of the King’s order, Jesus on several occasions in the gospels, Gandhi in the early 1900′s, A.J. Muste and many others affiliated with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Martin Luther King Jr. led many in the Civil Rights Struggle, many persons during the Vietnam War; and more recently and ongoing resistance to nuclear weapons. These are only a sampling. History gives many more (Boston Tea Party, Abolition of slavery, War Tax Resistance, Labor Movement, Women’s Movement, Farmworkers’ Movement etc.).
In the mode of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the spirit of nonviolence embodies a belief in the basic unity of humankind. Every person, even an adversary, is a sister or brother. Such a spirit offers openness, communication, and invitation to dialogue. It refuses to do personal harm to anyone. It transcends an “Us-Them” way of thinking. It is based on true respect and love for both friends and adversaries. Openness to the truth of others is essential.
Choosing our level of participation
In any resistance action we have three basic choices:
- Witnessing the action – a non-arrest situation
- Engaging directly in the nonviolent direct action — a probable arrest situation
- Supporting those doing nonviolent direct action - a non-arrest situation
Each of these choices are equal in value to the overall nonviolent direct action.
AFFINITY GROUPS - This is a small group of people who have met before the action, and bonded together in community. It is here that each person will decide at which level they choose to participate. They will also decide the main message of their action, what will be done during the action (prayer, song, symbols, dancing, silence, etc.), what preparations need to be made and what process will be used to make decisions as the action is taking place.
Nonviolent commitment statement
In preparation for nonviolent presence at _________________________ today, I commit myself to:
- Refuse to engage in verbal abuse or physical violence.
- Pledge not to bring or use any drugs or alcohol other than for medical purposes.
- Carry no weapons.
- Refuse to retaliate if injured.
- Maintain a spirit of openess, friendliness and respect toward police officers, court officials, and all others I encounter.
- Share my message of peace with clarity.
- Listen with my heart fully present and alert.
- Remain gentle, never righteous or hostile.
- Keep in mind that transformation and conversion to peace must begin with my own life.
- Sustain this discipline throughout all consequences, even under the legal violence of the state.
NAME: _______________________________ DATE: _______________