Today, our second day in Selma, we did our nonviolence training. We started by getting to know each other better through group exercises and discussion of different cultures, values, and the importance of community. We learned about nonviolence and its six principles: 1) nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people, 2) the beloved community is the framework for the future, 3) attack forces of evil, not the persons doing evil, 4) accept suffering without retaliation, for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal, 5) avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external, physical violence, and 6) the universe is on the side of justice. The first principle resonated with me the most because it teaches that nonviolence does not mean passivity or cowardice, but is actually an active resistance to injustice. It takes a lot of inner, mental strength to confront injustice and not react with violence. To me, real courage is having love for all people, even your opponents, while still standing up for what you believe is right (like Dr. King did). Nonviolence teaches us to attack unjust institutions and systems, not the individuals who carry out the injustices that results from these institutions.
The trip so far has been incredibly eye-opening. I have met so many wonderful, brave, and kind people here that are standing up for what they know is right. I have also loved getting to know everyone in our ASB group from Wake Tech. We have a very open-minded group and have learned a lot from each other and the other program leaders. I am very grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to the rest of the week!