A New Day Shines – The Tower, March 3 2011
A piercing light is illuminating darkened corners of the world right now. It is the light of courageous and peaceful citizens overcoming injustice through the power of nonviolent activism. It is a light spoken of before in this column and it is a light that shines brighter than ever.
The powerful momentum of peaceful citizens is causing monumental paradigm shifts to occur in dozens of countries across the globe. The spark in December from Tunisia now
spreads from Egypt to India to Wisconsin.
In many of these places, the activists number not in the hundreds, nor the thousands, but in the hundreds of thousands. The demographic of who these people are is largely indefinable because so many of us at every level of society are choosing to act.
We are teachers and students, laborers and civic leaders. We are Christians, Muslims, people of every faith tradition. We are government officials standing down and community leaders stepping up. We are soldiers laying down weapons and ways of violence. We are a unified people who stand against oppression in all its evil forms.
For many, this renewed movement for justice through nonviolence is the fruits of a lifelong endeavor. For others, the movement is new and they experience growing pains. Yet, for all who participate it is proving effective in calling to account those who perpetuate crimes and placing pressure on the leaders of the world to do better.
The bullets and tear gas, the bombers and troops, cannot suppress the movements, for the people are too inspired to not resist. Now the moment arrives where we can build a better world in solidarity with our brothers and sisters on the front lines of seeking freedom. Now is the moment to end injustice and overcome hate. Now is the moment to address violence face to face with our witness to the way of peacemaking.
We can make a difference at this University with greater implications than imagined. When you see signs calling for action in the Pryz, do not turn away and walk quicker because you are uncomfortable. So are all of us who are already active. Instead, choose love and take two minutes to make a phone call, sign a letter, or commit to a prayer.
Last week on this campus alone, dozens of phone calls urging immediate action were made to the Secretary Clinton on behalf of Libya’s citizens, hundreds of flyers alerting readers to the atrocities in that country made it into the hands of community members, and Catholic University students were the largest contingent at a vigil at the State Department organized by student leaders from across the city.
Lofty as the ideals may seem, the concrete actions of millions who are actually changing the world challenge those who would deny the peoples’ strength and the power of nonviolent action. Skeptics may find solace in the failures of the few, yet I find hope in the success of the many. Complacency and ignorance no longer excuse inaction.
Failure to act, failure to support those engaged in nonviolence, failure to stand in solidarity results in a harsh rejection of the Gospel message preached by Jesus and of the common bonds we all have as members of the human family. There exists the opportunity for a revolution of love right now and we as a University community must join together with the millions in seizing it.