Thursday, June 6, 2013

Notes from Nonviolence: Mighty Times

The end of day three at the 12th Annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute featured a film and discussion on Mighty Times: The Children's March about the nonviolent movement to integrate Birmingham, AL.

This was followed by a Q+A with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, who participated in this movement teaching nonviolent strategy to people in Birmingham while also continuing to work on the Selma Voting Rights Campaign.

An insight he offered during the discussion was about the strategy (used in Birmingham and many other locations) of filling the jails.  While some leaders - King quite notably among them - were concerned and unhappy with children being at risk for police brutality and arrest, the young people showed up during the discussion and said they were going to do it anyway.

The strategy of filling the jails intentionally overburdened the legal system and helped people confront fear - particularly the fear that the people in power had used to "keep them in line"  in terms of fear of being incarcerated.  The oppressive system worked by maintaining people's fear, so literally overburdening the legal system with people who were unafraid to be arrested for this cause broke the system in two ways.

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