What is Nonviolence?

This Clumsy Word “Nonviolence”—What Does It Mean?

“Nonviolence means avoiding injury to anything on earth in thought, word, or deed,” Mohandas Gandhi once wrote. We believe, with Gandhi and Dr. King, that the words “love” and “peace” can be misused by the culture of violence to justify war, injustice, and violence.

So, along with Gandhi and Dr. King, we use this clumsy word “nonviolence” to describe a new way of life, a new spiritual path, a new methodology for social and political change, and a new way to achieve the best hope for humanity.

Organized and disciplined nonviolence can disarm and change the world – and our lives, our relationships, and our communities. Techniques for everyday nonviolence are spreading: nonviolent communication, restorative justice, peaceful parenting, trauma healing, anti-racism, and nonviolent community building.

Nonviolent Wilmington seeks to carry on the legacy of Gandhi and Dr. King to teach, promote, and organize nonviolence at every level of our community, to take nonviolence into the mainstream, to invite citizens to start living a nonviolent life, and to work for a new culture of peace.

Joint Gandhi-King Principles of Nonviolence

  • Nonviolence means honoring the inherent worth of every human being.
  • In nonviolence, we naturally seek to understand each other, build friendship, and build community.
  • Nonviolence means we believe our lives are linked together.
  • That what we do impacts the lives of everyone we encounter.
  • That we are responsible to and for one another.
  • That we can trust one another and work toward our common good.
  • Nonviolence means dedicating ourselves to protect the fundamental human rights of every human being.
  • Nonviolence is courageously choosing to practice compassion with our adversaries. We oppose injustice, not people.
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