COVID-19 has not only caused a pandemic across the world, it has also brought to the surface feelings of anxiety, fear, mistrust and anger. Anger can be easily directed towards people in political position and those within our community. As organizers, activists, and nonviolent practitioners how do we give ourselves the space needed to honor and feel those feelings without unleashing it on the people around us?
Starting by honoring those feelings prepares us to channel our indignation into powerful nonviolent organizing. The third principle of MLK’s philosophy of nonviolence is to “Attack Forces of Evil, not Persons Doing Evil.” This principle guides us in remembering “Nonviolence Seeks to Defeat Injustice, Not People.” Please join us in exploring this principle and how it can strengthen (y)our own work and community. Come prepared to share your ideas and engage in meaningful exploration with other participants.
- Inventory our feelings in this moment, and practice peeling back the onion from persons to issues/injustices
- Identify tools to help focus ourselves and our comrades
- Ground ourselves in Kingian Nonviolence disciplines
- Build relationships
Curtis Renee is an aspiring healer and chef, a reiki practitioner, and a lifelong Nonviolence (positive peace) activist from Detroit, Michigan. Curtis' Social Justice passions encompass Black liberation, Black & Palestinian solidarity, feminism, and queer activism.
As a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Detroit Co-Lead Curtis focuses on keeping the organization in alignment with its mission and vision, as well as in harmony with the broader BLM region and network. For the past 15+ years Curtis has had experience in developing, creating, and implementing programs in line with the larger vision of profit and nonprofit organizations (Leaps & Bounds Family Services, Urban Leadership Specialist, Feedom Freedom Growers, and Detroit Area Restorative Justice Center). During this time Curtis has also had the honor of developing and launching collective organizations that center the safety, support and voices of women, women of color, lesbian, queer and trans identities (Fender Bender Detroit and Healing by Choice!). As a member of those collectives she held multiple lead and support roles in fundraising, event planning, volunteer coordination, project development and implementation, and facilitation. Weaved throughout Curtis' commitments to the work are the values of transformation, safety, and connection.
“I am a Living Record of every Black body that has been tried to be erased. Of every stolen and enslaved African. Of every black body that sought freedom and traveled the Underground Railroad. Of each Black body that migrated from the south to Detroit. Of every black person that has dared to be unapologetic and reimagine, create, and take hold of our destiny. I am a Living Record of black beauty, creativity, genius, love, resilience, royalty, strength, and excellence.” - Curtis Renee
Matt Guynn is director of church and community organizing with On Earth Peace, and a member of the online training team of Training for Change, where he works with national and international social change movement groups. Matt is a Beloved-Community-oriented organizer and leadership development facilitator who brings a deep commitment to eliciting the wisdom of the groups he works with. Matt has served on the coordinating committee for the Oregon Poor People’s Campaign since 2018, helping develop the state-wide organizing model and core DNA. As a member of the fulltime Corps of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Matt served as an unarmed bodyguard in Chiapas, Mexico, and co-coordinating trainings in the United States.
Since 2013, he has worked with and coordinated a team offering online education in Kingian Nonviolence. He is a member of the Kingian Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, which organizes trainings and works for the renewal and continuity of the Kingian legacy. Matt co-edited Resist, Organize, Transform: An Introduction to Nonviolence and Activism (2020) with JoanMay Cordova, Dean Johnson, and Regina Shands Stoltzfus. He attended Manchester University, later earning an MA in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in Theology from Bethany Theological Seminary. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Sarah Kinsel and sons Daniel and Owen. He is an active gardener who studies Welsh mythology and spirituality and homeschools his kids in the time of COVID-19.