By: Alison Edwards, OC Human Relations and Chancellor “Chance” Patterson, The King Center
In October at the OC Grantmakers Annual Summit, we – Ali Edwards, CEO of OC Human Relations, and Chancellor “Chance” Patterson, Head of Marketing and Communications at The King Center – led a breakout session conversation around social justice. It was a fireside chat, informal and casual, but around a topic that’s critical and meaningful to us personally and professionally. In this blog post, we break down the key take-aways from our conversation.
In 1967, in a speech in Atlanta, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared that progress had been made in civil rights, but warned that the three “evils” of racism, poverty, and the Vietnam War would stall gains for Black Americans. In fact, the promise of the major social justice achievements of the Civil Rights era was undermined throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s by large-scale reductions in many of the Great Society programs across housing, healthcare, food stamps, education and childcare – disproportionally impacting Black communities pushed into new levels of systemic poverty without the safety net that existed for generations.
Today, in 2022, Black Americans and people of color are still faced with extreme poverty, still sitting in unequal schools, still twice as likely to be unemployed as whites, and still battling income inequality. While the government can play a significant role in eliminating unjust policies and laws, the nonprofit sector is more important than ever in the effort to dismantle structural racism and build up resources and opportunities for a healthy, safe, and fulfilling life experience. Nonprofits, supported by foundations, businesses, and individuals, form the fabric of the modern safety net to protect those in harm’s way.
For all who are working to solve personal, community, cultural, and societal conflicts, Kingian Nonviolence is the methodology to uphold. It’s a philosophy and method designed to address unjust policies, systems, and laws – ensuring that government works effectively for all. And it’s an evidence-based approach to addressing injustice based on facts and a commitment to a love-centered way of engaging, acting, and communicating. We’re all well aware that responding to violence and oppression with violence only begets more violence, which brings about our own destruction. In that sense, nonviolence is the answer ensuring society’s fundamental continuous existence.
The six steps of nonviolence (information gathering, education, personal commitment, negotiation, direct action, and reconciliation) lead to personal and societal transformation, as demonstrated by the landmark achievements in civil rights led by Dr. King.
That same sense of community and love of self and others at the heart of King’s nonviolence philosophy is inherent to nonprofits. The challenge is for nonprofits to marshal and cultivate relationships with corporate and philanthropic organizations, and for corporates and foundations to trust nonprofits to do the work.
We are all part of the same community, that which Dr. King called the Beloved Community, where we can be free of harm, hate, and violence. By definition, every nonprofit is a contributor to achieving the Beloved Community.
In our current ‘purpose economy,’ let us all – nonprofits, foundations, corporates, and individuals – seek to collaborate more effectively to create a society where social justice exists everywhere for everyone. Let us build the Beloved Community together.
For more information on The King Center’s nonviolence training, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=Vvt9E3JI7jE&feature=emb_logo and https://thekingcenterinstitute.org