Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Opening Session

Summer of Peace 2015 > Community Peacebuilding > Nonviolence
Broadcast on August 07, 2015
With Rev. James Lawson

Rev. James Lawson, civil rights leader and longtime organizer, delivers a rousing keynote speech at the Campaign Nonviolence National Conference, drawing from Gandhi’s historical struggles, his own strategic work in the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary studies in the field of nonviolent civil resistance. Rev. Lawson also relates personal stories of his journey to nonviolence and his organizing work through eight decades of social justice struggles. Invigorating, challenging, and inspiring, this renowned speaker and educator offers a relevant and specific message to Campaign Nonviolence and everyone working for peace, justice, and the environment.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Panel Discussion: Working to End War, Poverty and Environmental Destruction, Building a New Culture of Peace and Nonviolence.

Summer of Peace 2015 > Community Peacebuilding > Nonviolence
Broadcast on August 08, 2015
With Rev. James Lawson & Kathy Kelly & Medea Benjamin & Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. & Sister Joan Brown

Kathy Kelly shares haunting stories of her visits to Afghanistan and the work of resolving to abolition war. Medea Benjamin, Code Pink, connects police brutality, the militarization of the police, the wars overseas, and the employment of veterans suffering from PTSD in our police department. Sister Joan Brown follows with a heartfelt description of climate change and the ensuing political, social, economic, and environmental pressures as a crisis of the soul. Lastly, Rev James Lawson speaks on the United States as an empire and the importance of creating a culture that is not upside down … but upside right! The Q & A contains many questions for the panelists on a broad range of topics.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Panel Discussion: Nuclear Weapons, Los Alamos and Nonviolence

Summer of Peace 2015 > Community Peacebuilding > Nonviolence
Broadcast on August 08, 2015
With Rev. James Lawson & Marian Naranjo & Beata Tsosie-Peña & Bud Ryan & Jay Coghlan & James Doyle

Jay Coughlan, NukeWatch New Mexico, lays out the startling facts on the current state of the United States nuclear arsenal and current modernization plans which are leading to what some people are calling the “Second Nuclear Age”. Bud Ryan, filmmaker of The Forgotten Bomb, relates the personal story of traveling to Hiroshima with his Japanese-American wife, and the galvanizing effect the trip had on him. Marian Naranjo, founder and director of Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE), and a potter and organizer from Santa Clara Pueblo, opened with a prayer and asked everyone to remember whose homelands the conference was taking place on. Marian also asked all participants to take action with the pueblo, including writing letters to tribal officials. Beata Tsosie-Peña from Santa Clara Pueblo offered remarks and a beautiful, evocative, and eye-opening poem. The panel concluded with Rev James Lawson’s clear eloquence on his personal experience of the atomic bomb as a high schooler in 1945. Rev. Lawson went on to discuss the connections of nuclear weapons to many forms of injustice and domination perpetrated by the United States.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Closing Panel: Going Forward to Build a New Movement of Nonviolence

Summer of Peace 2015 > Community Peacebuilding > Nonviolence
Broadcast on August 08, 2015
With John Dear & Rev. James Lawson & Kathy Kelly & Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. & Medea Benjamin & Ken Butigan

In the final closing panel of the Campaign Nonviolence National Conference, Father John Dear began the discussion by explaining the three ways to practice nonviolence and how the imagination is pivotal in creating a nonviolent world. Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence shared her personal reflections and some challenging questions on what the practice of nonviolence looks like in our lives. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink spoke powerfully on how the United States could use the practice of peace and nonviolence to repair our relationships around the world, and also the importance of the Iran Deal. Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Center described the strengths and challenges of moral outrage in our practice of making change. Pace e Bene Director Ken Butigan introduced the concept of the pilgrimage to describe the journey of Campaign Nonviolence for both the movement and the participants. Rev. James Lawson finished the evening with comments on his labor organizing experiences, the importance of face-to-face, one-on-one strategies of working with one’s local community, and his personal recommendations for Campaign Nonviolence as it moves forward.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima Ashley Pond, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Summer of Peace 2015
Broadcast on August 06, 2015
With John Dear & Roshi Joan Halifax & Rev. James Lawson

Hundreds converged at the birthplace of atomic bomb, Los Alamos, to meditate, march, and renew the commitment to peace, nonviolence, and nuclear disarmament. Father John Dear offered opening remarks and the traditional Christian sackcloth and ashes ritual of repentance from violence and nuclear weapons. A long line of marchers processed peacefully along Trinity Drive to the gates of Los Alamos National Laboratory, sitting in Buddhist meditation led by Roshi Joan Halifax of Upaya Zen Center. Upon returning to Ashley Pond, the original location of the laboratory, powerful words of wisdom were shared by Father John Dear, Ken Butigan of Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence, Rev. James Lawson, and Roshi Joan Halifax. Japanese calligrapher Kazuaki Tanahashi spoke to the “workers of Los Alamos” in an impassioned plea to turn their skills to peaceful tasks. Kazuaki Tanahashi also created the giant banner that provided powerful counterpoint to the 70,000 Peace Cranes folded by groups around the world.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference - Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima Ashley Pond, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Summer of Peace 2015 > Community Peacebuilding > Nonviolence
Broadcast on August 09, 2015
With John Dear & Rev. James Lawson & Kathy Kelly & Medea Benjamin & Beata Tsosie-Peña & Ken Butigan

Nearly three hundred citizens from across the country and local New Mexico communities gathered at the birthplace of atomic bomb, Los Alamos, to meditate, march, and renew the commitment to peace, nonviolence, and nuclear disarmament. Father John Dear led the traditional Christian sackcloth and ashes ritual of repentance from violence and nuclear weapons. The line of marchers processed along Trinity Drive with signs and banners. They sat along the busy road in silent contemplation and vigil as they demonstrated for nuclear disarmament. Then, the citizens marched back to Ashley Pond, where speakers delivered remarks underneath the swaying strings of 70,000 Cranes for Peace folded by people from around the world. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Beata Tsosie-Peña from Santa Clara Pueblo, Ken Butigan of Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence, and Rev. James Lawson.

Rev. James Lawson

An American activist and university professor

Martin Luther King, Jr. once called his friend and colleague Rev. James Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Civil Rights leader James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1928. His father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, and Lawson received his local preacher’s license in 1947, the year he graduated from high school. While in college, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which first exposed him to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman.

In 1950, Lawson became a draft resister and was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for refusing the Korean War draft. He spent fourteen months in federal prison (1951-1952). In 1953, he sailed for India where he taught at Hislop College in Nagpur, India. There he met with many of Gandhi’s colleagues, including Prime Minister Nehru. While in India, Lawson eagerly read of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the emerging nonviolent resistance movement back in the United States.

When he returned to the United States in 1956, he enrolled in Oberlin School of Theology in Ohio. He met Dr. King in 1957, and decided to move to Nashville where he served as Southern secretary of the FOR. He enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School and began holding seminars to train volunteers in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. Drawing on the example of Jesus’ suffering and nonviolent resistance, he taught growing numbers of black and white students how to organize sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent action to confront the immorality of segregation. His workshops led to the Nashville sit-in movement and desegregation campaign.

Initially, Lawson had to convince other African Americans that nonviolence was “deeply rooted in the spirituality of Jesus [and] the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” For Lawson, the civil rights protests were not just a political movement. “It was a moment in history when God saw fit to call America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto his path of righteousness.” John Lewis calls him “the architect of the nonviolent movement in America.”

James Lawson helped coordinate the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966, found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and served as director of nonviolent education for SCLC. While working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a major role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968.

In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church, his base for the next thirty years. He hosted a weekly call-in show, “Lawson Live,” where he discussed social and human rights issues affecting minority communities. For many decades, he has spoken out against racism, and challenged U.S. military involvement throughout the world. He has worked extensively with Janitors for Justice and other unions in Los Angeles, and continues to teach and offer workshops in active nonviolence to this day. He has taught at Harvard, USC, UCLA, Claremont and Vanderbilt. He is featured in the film, “A Force More Powerful.” He and his wife Dorothy live in Los Angeles, CA.