Jun 28

Towards a Nonviolent Society

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 06/28/2022 6:00AM | Quote of the Week | Peacebuilding


Our Quote of the Week is a radical expression of nonviolence. No matter our positions on race, law enforcement, or weapons, It would benefit all of us to imagine a world without violence, one that gives space for past aggressions and injustices to heal, and that allows us to come together as one, human community.

During a 1993 celebration of the non-profit organization Africare, Sargent Shriver spoke of the role that Bishop John T. Walker, the first African American Episcopal Bishop of Washington and head of the board of Africare for many years, had played in wanting to promote “peace, justice and interracial reconciliation” both in Africa and in the United States. It was in this context that Shriver spoke these words, suggesting that, no matter how well-intentioned, true peace between human beings can never come about if a suggestion of violence or intimidation is present.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:

"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding, and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals".

Nonviolence, in fact, has been used in very powerful ways to bring effect positive change. It was used during the civil rights movement to help dismantle racist policies in the US, as well as to help overthrow the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

There are no quick solutions to ensuring public safety or protecting our communities from aggression, hatred, intimidation, or violence. But it is clear that force and aggression are not leading to sustained peace. The proverbial “good people with guns” of the Uvalde police department could not save the children of Robb Elementary School from a mass shooter, and the approximately 393,000,000 guns in the US (approximately 120 guns per 100 people) are not keeping our population safe from violence.

Let us work together to envision a world without violence. It is only by doing this that we can work towards creating that world.

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