“We are all part of one another.” Discussion

Take some time to read and reflect on the following message from the late Barbara Deming, which I came across in a book dedicated to her on the Women’s Encampment for Peace and Justice. These words contain profound lessons for nonviolence and are immediately practical.

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What speaks to you? What is an experience you have had that these words express?

Our movement is composed of all kinds of groups and all kinds of individuals. It is certain that many of us will make all kinds of mistakes. It will be tempting to wish that this group or that group, this individual or that individual were simply not among us. My particular plea is that we not surrender to this temptation. We must certainly be frank with others when we disagree, but my plea is that we not begin to be afraid of any of us, and in a panic, try to wish any of us out of the picture. We will need every one of us. We are all part of one another.

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    By: Stephanie Van Hook

    Before joining the Metta Center Team as Executive Director, Stephanie received an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University; was trained and certified in mediation in the state of Oregon; worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, where she created a program for girls’ empowerment and education; has taught French and English for the Alliance Francaise; and was trained in Montessori Early Childhood Education with seven years of classroom experience with 3-6 year olds.  She is the author of Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children (Person Power Press, 2016) and Nonviolence Daily: 365 Days of Wisdom from Gandhi (Person Power Press, 2019, co-authored with Michael Nagler).  Her articles have been published at Transformation at Open Democracy, Yes! Magazine, Common Dreams, and Waging Nonviolence. Additionally, she’s host of Nonviolence Radio, an FM and Pacifica syndicated radio program out of Point Reyes Station, California, (KWMR). She’s currently developing our board game, Cosmic Peaceforce: Mission Harmony Three. She lives in an ashram (meditation community) in Northern California, (but if she didn’t, she’d be keen on joining the Nonviolent Peaceforce as an unarmed peacekeeper).

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