Violence Cannot Overcome Nonviolence

“We cannot let violence overcome nonviolence.”

Those words spoken by Diane Nash, who then was a 23 year old student at Fisk University, still echos today and without diminishment. Nash originally made her statement in a sober resolve as she explained to a government official that the Freedom Riders traveling from Nashville to Birmingham would not be turning back.

Whatever the prejudice, whatever the “anti” expression, experience, or exposure WE CANNOT LET VIOLENCE OVERCOME NONVIOLENCE.

The issue at hand is freedom and freedom for all, but it is so much more than being free of restraint. It is about autonomy — for every individual and for our community. It is respecting the rights and the responsibilities that ever individual has been apportioned. It is supporting self-reflection, self-evaluation, and self-determination.

Resiliency for an individual recovering from trauma requires integration of all parts of the brain and the body, then the individual can begin enjoying the security and support that come integrative relationships. It works the same in reverse.

Resiliency for a community recovering from generations of trauma and toxic stresses requires integration of all of its members (a community’s brain trust), then the community can begin enjoying the security and support from each individual.

Without each other we are not whole.

As members of our shared community, we cannot let violence overcome nonviolence; we cannot let chaos overcome order; we cannot let reactive interests overcome responsive intentions; we cannot let former trespasses overcome future trust and transparency. You and I cannot let discord — whatever it’s label or legislative spin — overcome harmony.

My 60 years have taught me this. I define myself. No one else. I can be the me I choose to be.

I am defined by my character of being human with other human beings.

I am defined by the caliber of my intentionality to improve my intelligence and integrity.

I am defined by the complexion of my level of transparency and my living in trust.

To be autonomous is to be strong, as Diane Nash and all of the Freedom Riders showed us, as shown by anyone who has humbly stood to make a stand for what is right, just, and good.

In strength, courage flourishes and fear is foiled. To say “I shall not be moved,” means “I will not turn back.”

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