By Walker Bristol
Merging activism for peace and social justice with a statement of religious-inspired values demonstrates how bridges can be built between secular humanists and religious communities—the “gaps” that can be “challenged.” Friends for a Non-Violent World (FNVW), our current Challenge the Gap beneficiary, draws inspiration from the Quaker lifestyle to engage in direct action and support efforts for a more peaceful world.
The Russian Art Museum, which serves as a “symbolic consulate” on U.S. shores to the Russian government, was the site of an FNVW demonstration demanding that the Russian government stop selling weapons to the Syrian government, currently in the midst of a horrific civil war. You can get involved, too: a petition is being formed to inspire the Russian embassy to persuade its government to reconsider propagating the violence in Syria. From FNVW: “Please click here and fill in the blanks to sign the petition. Please note that the web tool we are using looks like you are signing up for an event. Unfortunately, at this time, this is the only tool we have in place to use to gather electronic signatures for the petition.”
Most recently, the organization received a $7,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to produce a series of one-hour documentary videos telling the stories of ten peace and justice activists in Minnesota. Such a campaign will certainly draw further attention to the work that groups like FNVW are doing to build a better world. You can keep up with their progress on the FNVW website.
And for those in the Minneapolis area, FNVW will be hosting a Holiday Fair December 8 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can sign up to donate food or volunteer by visiting their VolunteerSpot page.
The FBB Challenge the Gap initiative highlights how, in our complex and interconnected world, building coalitions based in shared goals with those who hold differing worldviews can bring real, inspiring change. And Friends for a Non-Violent World is our ally in the humanist service to peace.