The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence: AGNT’s Classic Model for Spiritually Motivated Action, 1998-2013

Published on: September 1, 2013

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Co-founded in 1998 by the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), and Arun and Sunanda Gandhi, the Season for Nonviolence (SNV) has been directed by the AGNT for the past 16 years. It is a 64-day educational, media and grassroots campaign inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our objective each year is to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practice as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and communities. Through an educational and community action campaign, we have recognized those who are using nonviolence to build a community that honors the dignity and worth of every human being. By identifying “what works” in these new models for reconciliation and human harmony, we are demonstrating that every person can move the world in the direction of peace through their daily nonviolent choice and action.

Since 1998, SNV has seeded sustainable, documented participation in over 900 cities in all 50 states and 67 countries, training nearly 2,500 spiritually motivated grassroots leaders. The governors of 49 states and countless mayors have issued official proclamations for the 64-day period, with resolutions passed annually by state senatorial assemblies. There are 87,000 web pages that refer to Season for Nonviolence, and media coverage includes radio and television broadcasts, PSA (public service announcements) and film productions, and print publications at all levels from local to national press. At least 350 major peace organizations, religious, business, arts, and learning institutions have elected themselves as official co-sponsors of the Season for Nonviolence initiative, and reliable statistics support our estimate that SNV reaches over 200,000 people every year.

Unity centers in 38 US states and 5 Canadian provinces have helped set the foundations for SNV since its inception. At this time, more than 160 Unity churches are actively producing multiple years of programs and events. In 1998, the International Youth of Unity (YOU) presented an original version of 64 Ways in 64 Days for Youth at the first of sixteen SNV programs launched annually at the United Nations. There YOU director Cherie Larkin and co-presidents Stacy Moscow, Mariah Landers, Nathan Miller, and Andrew Griffin shared the stage with AGNT Leaders Rev Dr Michael Beckwith and Rev Mary Manin Morrissey, Arun and Sunanda Gandhi, Rev Jesse Jackson, and the UN Assistant Secretary General.

When SNV celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2007 with the Gandhi King Peace Train and Living Legends of Nonviolence Conference, it was a landmark that put nonviolence on the map in this century. That year we honored Cesar Chavez and family members for his contribution to social change through nonviolent methods of worker organization, while applauding Yolanda King in what was to be her final performance before an untimely death later that year. In 2013 we received permission from the Office of Tibet to officially add the name Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, as an exemplar of nonviolence and compassion accepted by all faiths and cultures.

Through our tireless collective efforts, a new model for spiritually based peace governance has emerged and is here to stay, igniting communities across the globe to create a “world that works for everyone.”

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Find Unity (and other) churches participating by state and internationally:

Barbara Fields

Dr Barbara E Fields is executive director of the Association for Global New Thought and cofounder of the Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence. She was program director for the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions centennial celebration in Chicago and cofounder and director of The Synthesis Dialo

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