The first day of the 12th International Nonviolence Summer Institute was an orientation day, helping us as participants begin building our own experience of what King often called the Beloved Community. We were oriented to the University of Rhode Island and the institute process we will be participating in for two weeks.
The day ended with an evening community dinner and a special film+discussion event.
The institute itself teaches the principles and methods of nonviolence. It connects with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in that we are learning the philosophy and structure of what the Civil Rights Movement in the US practiced and identifying how to utilize these to practice nonviolence in our work and life. We will spend very little time on him as a person.
Tonight gave us a chance for that. We watch one hour's worth of segments from King, a documentary produced by Tom Brokaw on his life and the movements in which he was involved. This was followed by an hour of Q&A with Rev. C.T. Vivian and Dr. Bernard Lafayette, two leaders with decades of practice of nonviolence and nonviolence education as well as two people who worked alongside Dr. King through his involvement in nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement.
As a Cincinnatian, my heart was especially happy to hear them share stories of how Fred Shuttlesworth led to their - and Dr. King's - involvement in Birmingham, AL, in 1963.