What is a social movement? In class, we defined a social movement as uninstitutionalized, collective commitment, and on behalf of the cause. In my opinion, a social movement is an idea of a person or persons coming together to achieve a common change in society. Social movements seek to influence change in people and institutions. There have been plenty of social movements in the world’s history some that have succeeded and some that have failed. I chose the non-violence movement. Everywhere you look there is violence; a person cannot go a day without seeing or hearing about some violent act. Violence is deeply engrained in our culture. It is constantly talked about and glorified in our media, and our nation’s leaders resort to violence to solve conflicts. We as a people can be violent; everyone has been in a position where violence may have entered or you played a role in a violent event. Violence is not effective all it does is create a rift between you and the party you are having conflict with. The Non-Violence Project Foundation is a foundation that advocates non-violence. There statement is, ‘The Non-Violence Project Foundation, (NVP) was registered in Bagnes Valais, Switzerland in 1993. NVP is a non-profit foundation with the mission to inspire, motivate and engage young people to understand how to solve conflicts without resorting to violence. The objective is to reach out to as many schools and sport clubs around the world as possible (’  There have been many social movements which have been non-violent like the right for African-Americans to attain full rights. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was the leader of the civil rights movement used non-violence as his form of protest for change. The most important figure for non-violence was Mohandas Gandhi which led India to its independence from British rule in 1947. Gandhi and his followers protested for decades but they achieved independence. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘bed-in for peace’ and Inez Milholland Boissevain march down Pennsylvania Avenue for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The United Auto Workers union was founded in 1935 and was formed because workers in the GM plant in Flint, Michigan stopped working and held a sit-in, leading to other sit-ins across the United States and leading to the formation of the UAW. Non-violence is not just a movement to form a protest it is a movement that can be applied to everyday life. It teaches respect and understanding for others. It is a movement that not one religious group can subscribe or certain peoples but everyone coming together and forming a relationship in mutual respect and understanding.

I believe non-violence is a social movement because a person can apply this to everyday life. It can be used to solve conflicts. The NVP states its object is to teach people how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence and it starts with violence prevention programs in education. It can start with kids who teach their parents who then use these strategies in everyday life. A person is not born violent and people are not violent without some sort of conflict brewing, but if we learned to solve conflicts non-violently or in a peaceful manner in all walks of life the world would be a better place. If you do not wrong someone they have no reason to wrong you. A movement is an idea and all it takes is an idea to spark a movement of change especially in today’s culture where we can be in touch with people from all around the globe. I say a movement is an idea because it starts with somebodies idea and snow balls into a person acting on their idea and telling his friends and family who can join in and be a part of this idea he had which is no longer an idea but a movement.

The artifact I chose is the symbol for peace and non-violence and sits in sixteen different cities around the world including the United Nations building in New York.  It was designed by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd in 1980 after John Lennon died.  The symbol is of a Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. This symbol to me is powerful and a constant reminder of what has been achieved through tactics of non-violence. It shows a gun which is now unusable and useless in a world where violence is no longer needed.  I chose a picture and not a video because a picture is more subjective than a video. I can look at this symbol and it represent something to me and also a different person can look at it and come up with an entirely representation of what the symbol means to them. The picture is of a gun a tool that is very deadly and the barrel is just knotted it is not meant to be undone; it represents peace and understanding in a world that desperately needs more of it.


-Sawyer Zirbel

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