Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
This week’s Nonviolence News should bolster your heart. After a decade of campaigning against rip-off education, Corinthians students won student debt cancellation. The long-shot effort started with a handful of students refusing to pay back the debt and snowballed into a nationwide social justice movement. Now they’re pushing to get all student debt cancelled, not just the most egregious cases of over-priced, under-delivered colleges.
There’s more good news, too. A new study shows that planting trees actually does save lives. Even small increases in greenery probably protected around 34,000 lives in the 35 cities they studied. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a community is restoring a marsh rather than trying to develop ever-flooding old farmland. It’s a moving tale in these times of climate crisis, as is the report of how volunteer scuba divers cleared tons of ghost nets from the Greek coast.
In other parts of the world, the news shows how people are resisting corruption and authoritarianism. Iranians are protesting dangerous corruption after a building collapse. Turks clashed with cops on the anniversary of the Gezi Park Protests. In Sudan, emergency law was lifted and some protesters freed. A powerful Tunisian union has thrown its weight into the political struggle, threatening to strike in opposition to the president’s “one-man rule”.
Creativity abounds, of course. Migrants stranded in Mexico performed baroque opera and urban dance to dramatize their stories. A Māori community is using a unique board game called Marae-opoly to figure out how they want to manage flood risks. A Palestinian made a statement and avoided the right-wing Israeli “Flag Day March” by flying a drone carrying a Palestinian flag over the crowd. Across the US, new historic walking tours are teaching radical people’s history instead of lauding rich people and wars.
May these stories (and there are so many more in this week’s round-up!) inspire you to keep moving forward.
Photo Credit: Central American migrants dance during an event named “Virtual Reality Baroque Opera” as they await the result of their asylum request to U.S, in Tijuana, Mexico May 28, 2022. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
Nonviolence News is a bright idea lighting up thousands of lives.
Donate here to keep us shining>>
As Biden Cancels Corinthian Students’ Debt, They Urge Cancellation for All: The Biden administration will wipe out $5.8 billion in debt held by defrauded students who attended Corinthian Colleges. The victory for an estimated 560,000 borrowers is a product of seven years of relentless campaigning and organizing by the Corinthian 15, a group of debtors who teamed up in 2015 and refused to pay off their loans as a protest against the federal government’s inaction — and, in the case of the Trump administration, brazen efforts to block avenues toward relief. Read more>>
Facing Activist Pressure, Pillsbury Pulling Out of Israeli-Occupied West Bank: Following years of grassroots pressure, multinational food giant General Mills announced Tuesday that after a 20-year partnership, it will sell its majority share of an Israeli company operating a plant where Pillsbury products are made on stolen Palestinian land. Read more>>
The Community That Welcomed Back A Marsh: Near the community of Selsey, England, saltwater marsh and other coastal ecosystems have been allowed to reclaim what was farmland and is now known as the Medmerry Nature Reserve. It aims to counter the poor development choices that put communities at risk of flooding. Read more>>
Yes, You Can Save Lives By Planting Trees, A New Study Says: Increasing urban greenery could save lives of tens of thousands of older adults, researchers found. They looked at 35 metropolitan areas within the U.S. and compared satellite data showing changes in how much greenery a city had with mortality data for people aged 65 and older from 2000 to 2019. Using these measures, they estimated that even small increases in greenery could have saved over 34,000 lives over the past two decades. Read more>>
How One Town Put Politics Aside To Prevent Forest Fires: Timber Wars tore this town apart. Wildfire prevention brought it back together. Read more>>
Shoring Up Coastlines And Communities With Green Infrastructure: When the natural world inspires engineering projects, the results can both protect us from climate impacts and center the needs of frontline communities. Read more>>
A German Museum Has Agreed To Return A Collection Of Namibian Antiquities On An Indefinite Loan: The Berlin Ethnological Museum will return 23 ancient items of jewelry and other artifacts that were taken between 1884 and 1915, when Namibia was part of German South West Africa, a colony of the German Empire. The decision is part of reparations for a period of colonial rule during which Germany committed a genocide against the Namibian people. Read more>>
Volunteer Divers Clear Tons of Ghost Nets From Greek Coastline: The beautiful Greek island of Ithaca is currently playing host to two groups of divers on a special mission: to clear the sea of defunct or ‘ghost’ fishing nets and equipment. Normally these nets are left by local fishermen. But in the clear waters off this particular island, which was the birthplace of Homer, the problem is on a more industrial scale. The volunteers are faced with debris from two fish farms that were abandoned a decade ago, posing a potential ecological disaster. Read more>>
Seattle City Council Passes U.S.’s First Minimum Wage Guarantee for Gig Workers: The rules would also prevent app companies from punishing workers based on their hours or which jobs they accept. Read more>>
Turks Clash With Police On Anniversary Of Anti-Erdogan ‘Gezi’ Protests: Turkish police clashed with protesters and arrested 170 people as citizens gathered to mark the anniversary of nationwide anti-government demonstrations that began nine years ago in nearby Gezi Park. Around a thousand people marked the anniversary. The 2013 demonstrations were the biggest popular challenge to then-Premier Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. Read more>>
Powerful Tunisian Union Announces National Strike In June, Raising Pressure On President: With more than 1 million members, the UGTT is Tunisia’s most powerful political force. The strike on June 16 will present the biggest challenge yet to President Kais Saied after his seizure of broad powers and moves to one-man rule. Read more>>
Some Protesters Freed In Sudan After Emergency Law Lifted: Sudanese authorities freed several dozen political detainees on Monday though others remain jailed, a lawyers’ group said, a day after Sudan’s military ruler announced the lifting of the state of emergency imposed after an October coup. The releases included 24 people connected to the anti-military protest movement in Port Sudan, and another 39 in or near the capital, Khartoum, said the emergency lawyers’ committee, an activist group. Read more>>
US Women Human Rights Defenders Deported From Western Sahara: Three US women heading to visit their friends in Boujdour, Western Sahara, were forcibly turned back on May 23rd, when they landed at Laayoune Airport. Twelve men and six women Moroccan agents physically overpowered them and placed them against their will on a plane back to Casablanca. The women were part of a protective delegation working to support local activists in the area. Meanwhile the siege of the Khaya Sisters by the Moroccan forces continues despite the presence of additional Americans visiting the home. Although forced entry and attacks in the house have stopped, many visitors to the Khaya home have been tortured and beaten in the last few weeks. Read more>>
Protesters Take On NRA Convention After Texas Shooting: Hundreds rally for gun control outside the organization’s Houston meeting, calling on Americans to ‘protect kids, not guns’. About 55,000 people were expected to attend the NRA annual meeting at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston. At least 500 protesters filled a park across the street to oppose the group, just days after an 18-year-old gunman walked into an elementary school a few hours away and slaughtered 19 children and two adults. Read more>>
Ivory Coast Builds Wall Around Large Urban Park To Protect Ecosystem: Concerned about illegal logging and pollution in Banco National Park in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, authorities are erecting a concrete perimeter wall that they hope will preserve its distinctive ecosystem. Read more>>
Iranians Protest After Building Collapse Kills 37 People: Mourning ceremonies were held late into the night on Tuesday for the 37 people killed in a building collapse in southwestern Iran, as authorities sought to quell week-long protests over the disaster. Authorities have blamed the collapse of the Metropol Building on local corruption and lax safety and say 13 people, including mayors and other officials, have so far been arrested for construction violations. Read more>>
Thai Activists Rally For Marriage Equality in Thailand: On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT), activists held a rally for LGBTQ+ rights and called for marriage equality by rewriting the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Thai marriage law. Read more>>
In Effort To Curb Addiction, Canada Lifts Penalties On Some Drugs: Canada has announced it will temporarily decriminalize the possession of small amounts of some illicit drugs in British Columbia (BC). While those substances will remain illegal, adults found in possession for personal use will not be arrested, charged or have their drugs seized. Instead, they will be offered information on available health and social services. Read more>>
Protest Against Company’s Climate-Busting Court Action: Environmental campaigners staged a protest outside Enfield Power Station against what they claim is an “attack on democracy” by the site’s owners. Global Justice Now activists marched to the energy plant in Brimsdown as part of a national day of action against fossil fuel companies driving up climate costs. Read more>>
‘No Time for Half-Measures’ – Greenpeace Rebukes EU’s Partial Ban on Russian Oil: The global climate group Greenpeace criticized the European Union’s newly announced embargo on Russian oil as inadequate, noting Tuesday that the ban includes a key carve-out that will allow the nation’s crude to continue flowing into E.U. countries through pipelines. Greenpeace activists have been engaged in numerous direct actions against importing Russian oil. Read more>>
Indigenous Organizers in Alaska Lead the Way Toward Livable Climate Future: Among the many organizations in the U.S. fighting for environmental sustainability and a just transition toward clean, renewable energy is Native Movement, an organization dedicated to building people power for transformative change and imagining a world without fossil fuels. Read more>>
Environmental Groups Release New Map Of Oil & Gas Threats: In an effort to pressure President Joe Biden’s administration to enact stronger oil and gas regulations, national environmental advocacy groups have released a new map that shows where people’s health is threatened by extraction. Read more>>
Walk For Appalachia’s Future: The Walk for Appalachia’s Future, a multi-day event amplifying the Appalachian region’s fights for environmental justice and renewable energy, launched on Tuesday, May 24 in Ireland, WV and continues through June 4, where the final event will be a youth-led rally in Richmond, VA. The Walk is bringing together community members and allies to highlight environmental damages caused by the fossil fuel industry, and the need to cancel the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Read more>>
Communities Push Back Against Global Companies: Whether we’re talking about Amazon, the pharmaceutical industry, or mining companies, big business managed to have itself declared “essential” and profit handsomely. Meanwhile, poor and racialized people have paid the highest costs and experienced the greatest losses in the U.S., India, and many other countries around the world. But we have also seen how people have fought back hard showing tremendous resilience in the face of greater adversity. Read more>>
China Aims For Over 1/3rd Renewables By 2025: China will aim to ensure that its grids source about 33% of power from renewable sources by 2025, up from 28.8% in 2020, the state planning agency said on Wednesday in a new “five-year plan” for the renewable sector. Read more>>
Harnessing the Power of the Sun To Become Sovereign Again: An Indigenous solar energy project combats fossil fuels and paves the way for a financially vibrant economy. Read more>>
Activists Camp At City Hall To Protest Homeless Encampment Evictions: Community organizers in Keene, New Hampshire, pitched tents in Central Square Park outside of Keene City Hall for an overnight protest on the evening of May 21 to draw attention to an impending eviction of a homeless encampment behind the local Aldi and Kohls. Read more>>
Protesting Davos, Millionaires Call Out Inequality: The World Economic Forum annually draws our globe’s wealthiest to a ritzy compound high up in the Alps, where they earnestly ponder the issues they feel matter most. But this year’s forum had something different: millionaires who came to protest, not to ponder, their outrage fueled by a new Oxfam report that powerfully illustrates the stark inequality of the pandemic years. Read more>>
Teachers At The Blue Man Group’s ‘Progressive’ School Strike: In its long-running off-Broadway show, the Blue Man Group is known for offering up innovative performance art through creative uses of paint, food and drums. But when it comes to dealing with its workers, the popular theater troupe sticks to the same-old union busting strategies routinely used by corporate employers like Amazon and Starbucks. In the face of these anti-labor tactics, teachers at the Blue School — an independent private school in Manhattan founded by the Blue Man Group — held a one-day walkout on Tuesday to demand that management recognize their union. Read more>>
“No Justice, No Tacos”: SEIU Local 32BJ held a rally and march yesterday in support of Chipotle workers seeking unionization, reliable scheduling and a raise in pay to $20 dollars an hour. Read more>>
Farm And Construction Equipment Workers Strike In Iowa And Wisconsin: Eleven hundred workers who manufacture agricultural and construction equipment for CNH Industrial in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin, have been on strike since May 2. At the core of the strike is the company’s three-tier pay system. Read more>>
Migrants Stranded In Mexico Perform Opera To Dramatize Their Experiences: Dozens of migrants performed an opera in the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Saturday aimed at dramatizing the struggles of those who seek to reach the United States. Featuring baroque music and urban dance, the opera depicts the story of a 15-year-old Guatemalan teenager who fled north, along with her mother, to escape gang violence in her country. Read more>>
An Anti-Immigration Media Machine – Study Tracks White Supremacist Talking Points Online: Watch this short news clip with Shauna Siggelkow, Hassan Ahmad, and Alicia Menendez discussing a new report by Define America that tracked the impact, tactics, and reach of anti-immigration narratives on YouTube — and tools to fight back. Read more>>
‘Shut Down This War Machine’ – Peace Activists Block Entrances to Major Weapons Fair in Canada: More than a hundred anti-war campaigners traveled to Ottawa on Wednesday to protest outside of the E.Y. Center, where they obstructed access to the opening of CANSEC, North America’s largest weapons and “defense industry” convention. Read more>>
“Queremos Vivir” – The Workers Who Wouldn’t Die for the Pentagon: Forced to work amidst the pandemic, Maquiladora workers in the border city of Mexicali went on strike. They caused Gulfstream — a U.S. aerospace company with several active contracts with the Department of Defense— to shutter for nearly a month. Though it was temporary, workers saw the closure of a prime Pentagon supplier as a victory. Read more>>
New Site Allows Users To Crank Call Russian Bureaucrats To Protest War In Ukraine: A group of hacktivists from across the world released the site WasteRussianTime.today. They designed the site to be as easy to use as possible, and you don’t even have to come up with some quippy “refrigerator running” joke to supposedly spoof two Russian officials. A simple click and Captcha test supposedly connects two phone lines to confuse, distract, and annoy those on the line. Read more>>
How Unions Are Backing BDS: The AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and the Oregon Education Association passed resolutions against Israeli apartheid. The passing of these resolutions comes after multiple investigations revealed a shocking record of human rights abuses committed by governments around the world using NSO’s controversial Pegasus spyware. Read more>>
Using A Board Game To Plan For A Changing Planet: The hapū of Tangoio Marae have a serious decision to make about this place that is so central to their community, and one of their decision-making tools is unorthodox: a board game. Called Marae-opoly, the Māori community designed the game in partnership with researchers from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, or NIWA, with the explicit goal of helping the hapū decide how to manage the flood risk to their marae. Read more>>
Palestinian Uses Drone To Fly Palestinian Flag Over Israel’s Nationalist “Flag March”: Palestinians yesterday flew a drone carrying the Palestinian flag over occupied East Jerusalem, where thousands of Israeli settlers held a provocative march in the Old City. Locals reported that the flag was raised using a “small drone from a distance, just before the Israeli forces began chasing the Palestinian man who was controlling the drone.” Read more>>
Walking Tours Get Radical With Peoples Histories: Instead of kings, plutocrats, and generals, a new kind of historical walking tour focuses on the people they repressed, and tells a more complete story. Read more>>
Creative Climate Justice Hub Launches: The Creative Climate Justice Hub is for artists and cultural practitioners who want to understand the systemic causes of the climate crisis, how it intersects with issues of social, economic and environmental injustice and how arts and culture is responding creatively. Read more>>
How Amazon and Starbucks Workers Are Upending the Organizing Rules: Workers are leading. Unions should support them or get out of the way. “The checklist that staff organizers have — get a list, identify leaders, make sure the organizing committee is diverse and represents all departments and classifications — these workers are coming to us and they have already done all of that. I haven’t had four successful worker-generated organizing campaigns in my entire career and we just had four in four months.” Read more>>
Pro-Athletes Can Amplify Social Justice Movements – If They Follow Through: Athletes who take a stand for social justice are, for the most part, swimming upstream against very strong currents. They face conservative league ownership and the hyper-conservative corporate megastructure (which is also a license to print money) that has grown around professional sports. Much of the public pushback against athlete activism comes from conservative fans. Read more>>
Reducing Pernicious Polarization – A Comparative Historical Analysis of Depolarization: This working paper by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace examines the conditions under which perniciously polarized countries have successfully depolarized for a sustainable period of time. Read more>>
Third Harmony Film Creators Release Special Features On Nonviolence: In our first Special Feature for the Third Harmony, Tiffany Tool describes the challenges and necessity of moving from the ‘old story’ to the ‘new story.’ Watch it here>>
Renewing The Lineage Of Nonviolent Movement: Erica Chenoweth’s new book is the user manual we need for the long and difficult struggle ahead of us. Read more>>
Strategy Charts & Power Maps – A User Guide: Check out these useful guides to create strategies for labor organizing and other social movement campaigns. These tools ask us to think deeply about how we are building the power of disruption to win. Read more>>
Illuminating Our Paths To Abolition: Lewis Webb, national coordinator of AFSC’s Healing Justice Network, will explore the history of slavery morphing into the carceral state, identify and consider abolition strategies, and help us chart our paths to healing and restoration. (June 6) Learn more>>
Plan And Join Local Public Actions To Ban Nukes: On Tuesday June 7, join the Nuclear Ban Treaty’s campaign to raise media awareness in the US. In conjunction with a statement, the group is calling for public actions. You could read the Statement at a local legislative office, nuclear site, federal building, or otherwise meaningful location that connects the nuclear ban treaty to your own context. (June 7) Learn more>>
“No Way To Treat A Child Campaign” Webinar: Please join our monthly webinar from AFSC and Defense for Children International – Palestine on advocacy for Palestinian rights. Get updates on violations to Palestinian children’s human rights and learn how you can help sustain long-term advocacy to protect Palestinian children. (June 14) Learn more>>
Free Film Viewing And Discussion Of INVISIBLE HAND: If corporations have rights, why not Nature? From Executive Producer Mark Ruffalo comes the world’s first documentary film on the Rights of Nature movement, a “paradigm shifting, plot-twisting, eye-opening” story about the Rights of Nature movement and current global battle between capitalism and democracy where the fight for our survival is at stake. (June 12) Learn more>>
24-Hr Peace Wave’s Rolling Rally For Ukraine: 24-hour rolling rally live streaming from 2 p.m. in Iceland on June 25 moving west around the globe to 4 p.m. in Ukraine on June 26. Jump on! (June 25-26) Learn more>>
2-Hr Introduction To Kingian Nonviolence: Join trainers for a short webinar covering the four pillars of Kingian Nonviolence, an initial introduction to the six steps and principles, and the social dynamics of Kingian Nonviolence. (June 27) Learn more>>
Artful Activism With Backbone Campaign: Explore ways that creativity can be integrated into your activism to grow your group, mobilize your community, earn media attention, and build power for a society that honors humans, community, nature, and our obligations to future generations as sacred. You will learn how to make giant banners, do light projections, and much more. (June 30) Learn more>>
Nonviolence Toward Earth: Acting upon the climate crisis is a growing urgency and OUR responsibility. Now, more than ever, we need to practice Nonviolence Toward Earth. This 6-week course with Merwyn De Mello and Rivera Sun will explore the many dimensions of how we can both practice nonviolence toward the Earth and join nonviolent actions on behalf of the planet. Read more>>
We’re a small (er, tiny) team with a big impact.
Keep us caffeinated and churning out great stories.