Janell Ryan, She/They

Janell Ryan graduated Messiah University in 2020, majoring in English (writing concentration) and minoring in Psychology. Currently, Janell is the Newsletter Editor and is loving every second of it, learning new techniques and also educating herself on important issues. She is passionate about racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health education, and feminism. When she's not working, Janell can be found writing, complimenting her cat constantly, trying not to kill plants, and organizing her room for the 30th time. 

  • Introducing Jessia, OEP’s New Migrant Justice Organizer

    Written by Jessia Avila, OEP’s Migrant Justice Organizer

    My name is Jessia Avila, and I am the new On Earth Peace Migrant Justice Organizer Intern. I am studying Political Science, Marketing, and Spanish at McDaniel College, Westminster MD, to prepare for a future career in public service. It is my hope to foster support for marginalized and underrepresented peoples, promote educational advancement, and cultivate solidarity within diverse communities. As the daughter of immigrants from Colombia and Mexico, I strive to use my individual potential and global consciousness to advance the rights and human dignity of all people. For this reason, I am grateful to learn and act with an altruistic community in pursuit of migrant justice. Through productive dialogue, inter-organizational initiatives, and informed actions, we can stand in solidarity with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons both domestically and abroad. I look forward to educating myself and serving with you as we advocate for migrant communities with love, compassion, and hope.

    Before we continue this collaborative journey, I would like to pose the following question: what does migrant justice mean to you, and how can I facilitate your growth as an informed and active ally?

    You can join Jessica and the Migrant Justice Group’s new adventures here.

  • published KNV Training Completion in Blog 2020-12-16 05:39:35 -0500

    KNV Training Completion

    On Monday, December 14, twenty-nine participants completed a four-month course as part of their certification as Level One Kingian Nonviolence trainers.  The group, which hailed from five continents, learned about the Kingian philosophy and methodology which provides individuals with values and skills to help resolve problems and conflicts peacefully and organize and mobilize for social change.

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  • published OEP Fall Newsletter 2020 in Blog 2020-12-03 12:49:30 -0500

    OEP Fall Newsletter 2020

    On November 18th, OEP distributed its bi-annual newsletter. This newsletter featured as a Kingian Nonviolence resource for the OEP community. Through curated articles, interviews, and book excerpts, OEP hoped to give a guide to the community on the meaning behind Kingian Nonviolence, and how to create a local beloved community at home. You can find blog versions of the newsletter as follows:

    Introduction - KNV Origins: An Interview with David Jehnsen

    Principle 1 - Nonviolence as a Way of Life for Courageous People

    Principle 2 - The Beloved Community is a Framework for the Future

    Principle 3 - Attack Forces of Evil, Not Persons Doing Evil

    Principle 4 - Accept Suffering Without Retaliation

    Principle 5 - Avoid Internal Violence of The Spirit

    Principle 6 - The Universe is on The Side of Justice

    You can also find the full PDF version of the OEP Fall Newsletter here.

  • KNV Origins: an Interview with David Jehnsen

    an Interview with David Jehnsen

    Interviewed, Collected and Written by Matt Guynn

    Together with Bernard LaFayette Jr., David Jehnsen authored the Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation curriculum to codify what they learned from working with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other Civil Rights Movement organizers. David is a member of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio. Matt Guynn interviewed David to learn more about the roots and vision of Kingian Nonviolence. 

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  • KNV Principle 6: The Universe is on The Side of Justice

    Written by Dr. Joan May  T. Cordova 

    Believing that the universe is on the side of justice is an affirmation of faith: “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see" (1). Faith enables us to stay focused on visions for a more just world, sustained by the belief that as we join generations who’ve struggled for liberation, justice will eventually win. All who embody nonviolence must hold on to faith - not merely in a contemplative way - but to draw on faith that fuels the work of resisting unjust conditions. Listen to music pulsing in movements for justice: Buoyed by faith, people sing new lyrics boldly declaring freedom while drawing spiritual strength from voices and acts of resistance together, determined to transform institutions.  

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  • KNV Principle 5: Avoid Internal Violence of the Spirit as Well as External Physical Violence

    Written by Curtis Renee 

    The summer going into my senior year of high school I was introduced to Kingian nonviolence, as a part of a youth summer enrichment program/job.  I remember learning the principles and feeling like “ This can’t be real,” “ Only certain people can really be nonviolent.”  I had no idea what it meant to avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence.  How do you avoid violence when it is all around you?

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  • KNV Principle 2: The Beloved Community is The Framework for The Future

    Written by Matt Guynn and Dean Johnson


    Beloved Community as the framework for the future shapes how you see yourself,  your beloveds, your organizing comrades, and your opponents. It means that no matter how bad things are in the moment, you have a place to stand and imagine a different future. 

    For followers of Jesus, the term “Beloved Community” echoes with the message that we are the beloved children of God made in the image of God. Kingian Principle #2 applies that theological truth to all our current and potential relationships. What if each person had that same worth?  Faith-based pacifists can see the irreplaceable value of each human life. What if we weave that value into an active commitment to engage systems of oppression and violence? Beloved Community is a place that people experience a profound sense of belonging and worth. And it reaches beyond that circle of belonging to courageously confront harm and injustice. 

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  • KNV Principle 1: Nonviolence is a Way of Life for Courageous People

    Written by Kazu Haga

    Excerpted with permission from Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm (Parallax Press, 2020)


    “Nonviolence is for punks." "Nonviolence is weak.” "I'm not gonna be nonviolent and back down.” “I'm not gonna just sit there and let someone abuse me." These are all common things I hear in my work, and they are all rooted in a misunderstanding of nonviolence. 

    The misunderstanding lies in the difference between “non-violence" and "nonviolence.” “Non-violence” is essentially two words: “without” and “violence.” As long as I am “not being violent,” I am practicing non-hyphen-violence. Nonviolence is not about what not to do. It is about what you are going to do about violence and injustice in our own hearts, our homes, our neighborhoods, and society at large. It is about taking a proactive stand against violence and injustice. Nonviolence is about action, not inaction.

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  • KNV Principle 4: Accept Suffering Without Retaliation

    Written by Sherrilynn Bevel, PhD

    In the context of nonviolence, what does it mean to offer one’s self? To willingly relinquish privacy; personal security; to risk injury or arrest? In some circumstances, to risk death?

    Nonviolence is a rejection of the idea that violence and murder can resolve social problems. Violence is a means of trying to bend people to your will, but it does a poor job of creating real peace and a reconciled community. At best, violence aims for the submission of the opponent. Agape means advocating for the health, interests, rights, and needs of everyone, without exception to the rule. We can abandon agapic love, but this merely escalates exploitation, hatred, murder, intimidation, etc. 

    Dr. King wrote, “I realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation: either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” King chose the path of healing and educating all of the people, instead of plotting the demise of some. 

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  • KNV Principle 3: Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil

    Written by Dr. Mary Lou Finley

    Sometimes we describe this principle as ”Attack problems, not people.” I find that those are the words that more easily get through to my heart.

     When things go wrong, when we see evil or injustice being committed, we may sometimes feel like striking back at the person who is committing that injustice. Sometimes, we hear others call for “justice” against that wrongdoer---meaning punish him or her. And yet, where does that take us?  Not as far as we might think.

    Instead, we need to find a way to attack the “forces of evil” - the root causes of what has gone wrong. Otherwise,  injustice is likely to just keep rearing its head in new forms.   

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  • published OEP Joins RoundUp in Blog 2020-12-01 13:52:07 -0500

    OEP Joins RoundUp

    New! Support Our Work Just By Donating Your Change!!

    OEP has partnered with a mobile app and website that allows you to automatically donate the change from your card purchases to support our work. It's a small change for you, but a game changer for us!

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  • published Racial Justice Meetup - Dec 15 in Blog 2020-12-01 13:45:31 -0500

    Racial Justice Meetup - Dec 15

    As we continue conversations that engage and call us to action, the OEP Racial Justice team wants to finish 2020 together by re-situating ourselves in this racial justice moment. You can join us for our final  meeting of 2020, which will be held on December 15th from 7:00-8:30 PM EST.

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  • published World AIDS Day in Blog 2020-12-01 13:43:22 -0500

    World AIDS Day

    Written by Sylar Rella, OEP’s Gender Justice Organizer Intern

    On December 1st of each year, the world comes together to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS: to remember and honor the overwhelming amount of lives lost from AIDS, and to provide visibility and support for those living with HIV today. Although the AIDS pandemic was from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, the virus itself never went away. Language was and continues to be a powerful tool in widespread erasure of the mass death and loss that occurred in that time--primarily that of the queer community, BIPOC, and those living in poverty. ACT UP, an organization dedicated to fighting for the visibility and rights of those living with HIV and dying of AIDS, coined the phrase “Silence = Death”; this sentiment is still incredibly relevant today, not just with HIV/AIDS, but with all kinds of marginalized voices and bodies that are routinely and systemically overlooked or dismissed. 

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  • published Youth Group Grant Recipients in Blog 2020-12-01 13:40:59 -0500

    Youth Group Grant Recipients

    Congratulations to our first two groups of grant recipients for our Community Engagement Grants for Youth Groups. 

    OEP’s Community Engagement Grants for Youth Groups pose as a new initiative within OEP to give back to our local communities. Through these grants, we hope to encourage community engagement and growth, and develop a better, more beautiful world than the one we came into.

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  • Keep Awake: A Call for Preach Palestine

    “Until the people in Palestine are free, none of us are free...The world must stand boldly...Do as Jesus did...He stood up and he was radical against the oppression of the Jewish and the Palestinian people. So I admonish you today to wake up, to wake up, to wake up.”

    These are the words of Reverend Erica Williams, a preacher, activist, and community leader and 2016 graduate of The Howard University School of Divinity. She serves as one of the lead organizers for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

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  • published OEP on Travel in Blog 2020-11-18 11:55:57 -0500

    OEP on Travel

    OEP staff currently plans to not schedule any national or international travel for at least the first six months of 2021. 

    It is clear at this point that the COVID-19 pandemic will remain a substantial presence through that time (unless the virus happens to mutate in such a way that it starts to fade on its own like SARS-CoV-1 did, which the science indicates to be an unlikely event).

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  • published Preach Palestine Approaches in Blog 2020-11-18 11:50:53 -0500

    Preach Palestine Approaches

    "For too long, churches have shied away from talking about Palestine from the pulpit, but we know that for our faith to be truly alive, we must preach good news to the poor and freedom to the oppressed (Luke 4:18). Sunday, November 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the first week of Advent, when Christians around the world focus on Bethlehem, Palestine. It is also International Day of Solidarity for the Palestinian People. 

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  • Trans Day of Remembrance (vs Trans Day of Visibility)

    By Skylar Rella, OEP’s Gender Justice Organizer Intern

    Photo Credit: https://www.joincake.com/blog/candlelight-vigil/

    I’ve heard many ask, “Why are there two days for trans people? What’s the difference?”--and it isn’t just people outside the trans community who seem to have this confusion. There are lots of trans people, too, who regard TDOR (Trans Day of Remembrance) and TDOV (Trans Day of Visibility) as synonymous. I’ll admit as a young trans person, I used to think of the two days as basically the same thing. These days were two times to be extra vocal about my transness, and many young trans people I encounter believe this same thing. I’m not here to try to make some argument that either day should not be used to be more vocal about being trans. However, I’ve personally come to feel very strongly about the distinction between these annual observances. After losing trans people in my own life, having intimate ties to trans death has added extra weight to TDOR that I had not felt prior to these losses. 

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  • published OEP Gives Thanks 2020 in Blog 2020-11-18 11:41:10 -0500

    OEP Gives Thanks 2020

    With the current state of the world, OEP wants to focus on the positive and let our communities know what we at OEP are thankful for this November. Regardless of our individual placement around the world, OEP is thankful to join together as a collective with you and help the world become the better place we know it can be. From all of us to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving.

    We would love to share some of the things our staff, interns, and board are thankful for this year.


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  • Internship Highlight: Our Favorites!

    As the semi-weekly internship highlights turn towards highlighting our OEP organizers, we thought this would be a great time to highlight what some of the OEP intern’s value most!

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