“It's no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It's either non-violence or non-existence.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King
In August 2020 I participated in three days of online training and presentations with this 30+-year old organization. I received my first ever introduction to the practice of nonviolent social justice activism. Very helpful! Very necessary in these charged and turbulent times!
We are invited to practice not only nonviolence of actions, not only nonviolence of words...but, if we are to trust our Teacher...even nonviolence of our thoughts toward another (see Sermon on the Mount)...
Pace E Bene
Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service’s mission is to foster justice, peace and the well-being of all through education, resources, and action for nonviolent change.
Founded in 1989 by the Franciscan Friars of California, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service is now an independent, non-denominational 501(c)3 organization spreading the power of nonviolence. “Pace e Bene” (pronounced “pah-chay bay-nay”) is an Italian greeting from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi meaning “Peace and all Good.” It is a blessing, a hope, and a way of acknowledging the sacredness of those whom we encounter. Read more of our history here.
For decades Pace e Bene has led trainings around the world, created resources for change and organized many campaigns and movements for nonviolence. In 2006 Pace e Bene Australia launched as well!
Pace e Bene has been involved with many efforts for nonviolent change in the United States and internationally, including Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative which is encouraging Pope Francis to advance nonviolence throughout the Church. Learn more here.
In 2014 Pace e Bene launched its most comprehensive project yet—Campaign Nonviolence, a long-term movement for a culture of active nonviolence, connecting the dots between war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction.
“50 Cities and Counting
Imagine a nonviolent city where everyone strives to practice nonviolence, where all the institutions teach and promote nonviolence, where violence no longer runs rampant. This is our vision. This is our work. The Nonviolent Cities Project not only envisions cities that could become nonviolent, it is working to make this vision a reality across the US and the world.”
--"Every year, Campaign Nonviolence organizes a national week of action across the United States and around the world, built around the third week of September, near Sept. 21st, International Peace Day. For the last six years, we have organized an unprecedented national grassroots movement with actions in every state where people connect the dots between the issues of injustice and violence, including war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction, and hold public events, actions and marches demanding immediate positive social change."
Here's an image from last year's events
Oct. 3, 2020 Email
“Every day it seems we hear from people about their worries and fears with all that life is throwing at us these days. Of course the U.S. election is top of mind here lately and the fear of violence and erosion of democracy looms large, leaving a heaviness in the air that's hard to escape.
We know that the antidote to this requires a firm commitment to principled nonviolence. It's going to take people who have learned to incorporate nonviolence into every area of their life.
Pace e Bene's online courses are taking off and topics range from personal nonviolence skills for a calm and centered mind to active nonviolence in the streets to challenge social injustice.”
--further below are other links to their musical outreaches
Jim Crosby, founder of Nonviolent Austin, with his weapon of choice - musical ammunition...
A short article about Jim, Fr. John Dear (founder of Pace E Bene) and the origins of Nonviolent Austin.
--Jim is an Episcopal Third Order Franciscan (TSSF), and Theology Teacher and Lay Chaplain at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
Presence at the state capital
From the live music capital of the world…Nonviolent Austin and their musicians were part of a week of training sponsored by Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence. They offered 9 days of musical segments about 30 minutes each. Below are link to Days 1 & 2. You can find the other days on YouTube.
--featured Willie Nelson and his sons performing “Can’t wait to be on the road again” and other songs – reflecting the hopes of touring musicians and their fans that we’ll all be able to once again experience the excitement of live shows.
--At 0:15:24 and after a short introduction David Pulkingham does a great bottleneck slide version of the classic “Everybody’s got a right to live.”
Features song written to commemorate Cesar Chavez and the 1966 march on the Texas state capitol to demand a living wage for the migrant workers.
The second performers were Danny Schmidt & Carrie Elkin.
At 0:11:00 Danny sings “Black & Blue” with these soul-troubling verses:
“Cause I don’t believe that victims go to heaven when they die
They're stuck here as reflections in our eyes
And of all the false confessions swearing that we’ve tried
They’re the voice of silence asking when, and the voice that answers why”
At 0:20:56 Danny starts a song – “Prayer for the Sane” - that includes these forceful lyrics:
“It’s time to set our anger free
It’s time for facts to shade beliefs
It’s time to name the new north star
It’s time for flames to skewer the dark
It’s time to shake the voting booth
It’s time for us to scream the truth”
Fittingly, song was released in 2020 on our nation’s Independence Day…
At 0:25:35 Carrie sings “Company of Friends” that includes these memorable images:
“When I die, let them judge me by my company of friends
Let them know me as the footprints that I left upon the sand
Let them laugh for all the laughter
Let them cry for laughter’s end
But when I die, let them judge me by my company of friends”
Here’s another version of “A Prayer for the Sane” Danny uploaded in April 2020. His video ends with this onscreen message:
“Please vote…it matters”