In less than 24 hours after the midterm elections:
- Trump fired Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a man who wrote a 2017 op-ed that said Mueller’s investigation was “going too far.”
- Trump revoked CNN Reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass for questioning the president’s characterization of a migrant caravan of roughly 4,000 Central American immigrants who are walking through Mexico to claim asylum in the U.S.
- 13 people are dead after a mass shooting at a bar in California.
I went to bed worried and woke up crying. Today, this feels insurmountable, but we cannot give up. Trump’s actions yesterday were a diversion from the positive gains made during the midterms, and I won’t give him airtime because I want to focus on what we can do to address gun violence in America. This may be the most important post I’ve written about nonviolent action, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it and share it with people who might work with us to make change.
Method 13: Deputations
Method 13 in the Methods of Nonviolent Action is called “Deputations,” a critical step to making widespread change. Similar to a delegation, a deputation is a group of people organized around a social concern who engage in specific actions to make change.
A brilliant example of this comes from the year 2000, when a group of Christian and Muslim Liberian women joined together to protest against the outbreak of Liberia’s second civil war. In reaction to the conflict, social worker Leymah Gbowee brought the women from her church together to protest the war. Within the first week, 2,500 women staged protests on the lawn of the local fish market. Every day, President Charles Taylor’s motorcade passed the women as they joined hands, sang and danced for peace.
Like the Greek play Lysistrata, the women decided to hold a sex strike, denying their partners intimacy until the war had ended.
Seeing that men were the perpetrators of the violence, the Liberian women felt that if they were to withhold sex, their partners would also pray for peace and support an end to the war.
The women named themselves the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace and issued a position statement on the crisis. The women stayed outside the political realm for fear of persecution, stating that their goal was simply that of peace. (Read a brief case study here.)
Over the next two years, the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace group worked with the government to bring about democratic elections. They registered voters and set up polling stations, and on November 23, 2005, the Liberian people elected their country’s first female president, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
It is estimated that between 3,300,000 – 4,600,000 of us participated in the Women’s March, and up to 5 million worldwide.
Imagine what could happen if 1.1 million of us – 3.5% of the U.S. population – worked together until the gun laws are changed to protect our children and friends from being killed in schools, in places of worship, in places of celebration? What would it take?
There are delegations working to enforce stricter gun control in every state. Support them in whatever way you can. Share, donate, join.
Don’t give up the fight.
photo credit: Greg MacVean