Background: Each year when I greeted a new class for World History, I explained that I would teach Social Studies through the prism of nonviolence.
And… each year, students greeted me with skepticism—“Nonviolence will never work,” I was told again and again. But every year, when we got to the study of India, I showed the film Gandhi.
One year, about halfway through the movie, a student named Ken slapped his hands on the desk and exclaimed, “Mrs. Gradyon, this could work!”
I turned to him and said, “Ken… it did.”
He laughed, then asserted seriously, “But Mrs. Graydon, there are six billion people on the planet and you will never get six billion people to be nonviolent.”
At that point, one of those wonderful facts we teachers keep in our heads popped up. I turned to the chalkboard and told the class that the population of India at the time Gandhi led it to independence was roughly 300,000,000.
I did the math for them at the board: 6,000,000,000 divided by 300,000,000.
Even the most math-challenged student could see the answer: 20. I concluded that we don’t need 6 billion Gandhis.
We only need 20 Gandhis.
It is in the spirit of creating those “20 Gandhis” that we offer this workshop.
Workshop: This workshop stems from my deep conviction that nonviolence training for community and world leaders is the key to What Better Looks Like.
This course is built around two main ideas:
- The What Better Looks Like campaign is founded on the principle that our motivation for change matters, so this course is based on Gandhian and Kingian non-violence.
- Nonviolence is a skill-set that is teachable, learnable and applicable. It’s not just for solving problems of violence, but for making effective change in our relationships, communities and world.
This four hour course can be delivered as a one-day, in-person interactive workshop, or as a 4 week teleseminar.
Hour One: We will explore basic principles of Gandhian and Kingian nonviolence. What do we mean by nonviolent action and how can it be used to create effective change?
Hour Two: We will explore King’s idea of the Beloved Community. Participants will consider the various communities in which they wish to focus their influence: family, business, local community, and world.
Hour Three: Using the What Better Looks Like questions and process, we will work together to identify situations and areas in which we, as participants, can take a leadership role in effecting nonviolent change in the community area we discussed in hour two.
Hour Four: We will analyze successful examples of nonviolent direct action, and create action plans of our own to bring back as leaders in our community—collectively using our power as “20 Gandhis.”