Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
Last week, 3,500 climate actions happened in 150 countries. This is remarkable . . . but most news outlets barely gave them a single headline. So, Nonviolence News is highlighting photos from some of the actions and the tips for powerful protests we can glean from them. These photos bring the statistic to life in a new way … these are just 12 out of 3,500 actions. Imagine what else happened around the world! (Each country named in bold in the commentary also hyperlinks to more photos.)
Enjoy this special report . . . and don’t forget to check out this week’s incredible Nonviolence News round-up. You’ll find an encouraging story about how the mayors of cities representing 36 million people pledged to divest from fossil fuels, a report on how Zimbabweans are holding lunch hour protests, and an article on the clever ways Ukrainian miners are circumventing anti-strike laws by holding underground protests that stop the mining operation for days on end.
Click here to read this week’s Nonviolence News>>
As you look through these photos and read the short notes on the lessons we can learn, remember that nonviolence is a global field. People of all races, ages, genders, sexualities, classes, faiths, and backgrounds contribute to the ways we use nonviolence to make change. We can learn from anyone. And we should learn from everyone. Nonviolence News is here to help that happen. It is a delight . . . and an honor.
Rivera Sun, Editor
Photo Credit: In Mexico, youth climate activists hold up bright and eye-catching signs as others prepare a banner as a street blockade.
Turkey: Art works. In Istanbul, organizers made this powerful – and safe – climate action with art protesters that stand in a socially-distanced pattern. Brilliant. Can we all use this? Yes. (I personally need a Rivera Sun cut-out that can swap out signs and issues as needed. Climate today. Racism tomorrow. Peace the day after.)
India: Combine tactics. This is a protest, demonstration, school strike, sit-in, and street blockade all at the same time. By pairing tactics, you can make your nonviolent actions versatile, inclusive, and effective.
Philippines: 6 people, big impact. Overpass banners can be powerful, safe, and effective. So grab a few friends, find a bridge, and drop a banner near you.
Ukraine: Double points here: this group is bilingual and intergenerational. Those are two pro-tips you can learn from our fellow activists in the Ukraine.
Mexico: Use your banners to block the street. Disrupting business-as-usual can be important for nonviolent action to move out of symbolic protest and into direct action. This intergenerational group has stretched their banner across an entire street. Use this tactic with caution and care, but it can be powerful.
Bangladesh: Simple = powerful. The messages on these signs are straightforward and to the point. “Stop” and “Help” echo through the image. (Does anyone else get shivers and chills?) Sometimes, simplicity can be the most powerful message of all.
Germany: “Movement implies motion,” said Bernard Lafayette, and these German climate activists embody that idea. They’re holding a bicycle protest for climate justice, walking their talk – er, or pedaling their talk – even in the pouring rain. Think about how you could organize a bike ride as a protest. In New York City, 10,000 people rode for racial justice during the George Floyd Protests. Their mass covered four miles of distance. But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all protest, as the next image from Germany shows.
Germany: Biking isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, while movement is powerful, so is stillness. These grannies (and grandpas) are blockading a road. Sensibly, they’ve brought signs, chairs, umbrellas, and face masks with them. Could you use a Granny Blockade in your next protest?
Kenya: Be willing to speak up, even if you are only a few people. Often times, a small group taking action will open the door for a thousand voices to rise up. Have you been waiting for the next mass protest? Maybe just take action as soon as your heart moves you to.
Uganda: Shout it from the rooftops! Or, in this case, the top of a wall. Use space creatively to catch your community’s attention. Where can you take action in an unexpected way?
Austria: A large demonstration happened in Austria with all participants wearing masks, and a notably intergenerational crowd. Asking people outside of our own age group to join us in action can be a powerful way to combine passion, wisdom, and the strengths that all ages bring to making social change.
Uganda: Demand your place in the big picture. Activist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of a key photo at the Davos World Summit protests last year. Enormous outcry forced a global conversation of how the MAPA (Most Affected Peoples And Areas) are often kept from the decision-making tables and literally cropped out of the global conversation. Vanessa Nakate led the large demonstration in Kampala, Uganda, last Friday. Keep speaking up. Keep demanding that your voice be included.
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