A Voice of Active Nonviolence


by Sr. Nancy Miller, OSF

The eleventh in a series on active nonviolence from the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa (www.ClintonFranciscans.com)


“I feel really sad for the guy; he was a father with two kids – a two year old and a 10 month old. He’s dead, and now they’re without a dad.” These were the sentiments expressed by my sister as she learned the identity of a 21 year-old man who was shot and killed on her driveway. Jonathon was initially stopped for a traffic violation, took off running, was pursued by the police and then shot and killed. The extenuating circumstances of this death are not entirely known, but I wonder if the police could have secured and curtailed him in some non-violent way. It is one more death, one more person of the 3200 that are killed annually by gun violence. As an antidote to the seemingly endless incidents of gun violence, the voice of active nonviolence is needed now more than ever.

In considering how that voice of active nonviolence might be amplified to a wider audience, I’m reminded of a popular TV show called The Voice. Four coaches select young vocal artists from blind auditions to be members of their teams. The coaches mentor their team members throughout the season, and the artists have the opportunity to hone their talents and sing with a variety of other performers. After numerous performances and voting processes, a winner is selected and receives big money and a recording contract. Although only one person is selected as the winner, it is a win-win situation for all the artists who become known worldwide, improve their talent, and create beautiful music with others.

I think we could use The Voice as one metaphor for spreading active non-violence to our global audience. Let’s invite everyone to join us in raising our voices to promote peace and active nonviolence. Let’s coach, mentor, and companion one another as we hone our own skills and build community in the process. Let’s broadcast our songs on the daily news throughout social media. Let’s invite everyone to sing along, creating a new song with multiple harmonies of active non-violence. In the process, we will build up communities, promote dialogue and celebrate diversity, giving expression to hope, compassion, mercy, and harmony– values that are immensely needed in our world.

Reflecting back on my conversation with my sister, I was touched by her expression of compassion and concern for this young man, for his family and for the police involved. Her words echoed a voice of active nonviolence and concern for community. Each of us can add our own VOICE to create a more peaceful world. We can make a difference.




Published in: on February 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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