The NYC Walk for Nonviolence

WHEN: Sunday, April 8th from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

WHERE: 12 miles through Manhattan, beginning at Battery            

Park in view of the Statue of Liberty and ending at Riverside Church, site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam”

speech on April 4, 1967.


WHY: 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968, King was killed by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis. We walk to honor his memory, and that of the many individuals, peoples, and movements before and after him who have embraced nonviolence – not only as a tactic for social change but as a foundational principle for life. We walk to express our own commitment to nonviolence as a daily practice and our rejection of all forms of violence and discrimination, within our own lives and in the world around us.

HOW: Join us as we walk through the streets of Manhattan, passing by some key nonviolence landmarks of our city. We will stop at some points to reflect, do a ceremony, sing a song, or listen to an inspiring reading. People are invited to walk the full route or join us for part of the walk.

THE POWER OF NONVIOLENCE:  King’s work can be seen as part of a profound tradition, going back more than 2,500 years to the Jainists and Buddhists, that prioritizes the ethical, psychological and spiritual implications of nonviolence over its more practical applications. More recent proponents of this perspective have included Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Silo, and in this city figures such as Abraham Heschel and Dorothy Day. They have seen the rejection of all forms of violence as not just a moral issue but as essential to the evolutionary development of the human being. Gandhi’s maxim “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and AJ Muste’s “There is no way to peace; peace is the way” reflect this attitude.

Today, we live in a world where the examples of violence and discrimination (physical, racial, sexual, economic, psychological) are clear and ever-present and even justified in the name of “right.” Our systems (political, economy, social) are based upon revenge and marginalization. Yet our history -- and indeed, our daily lives -- are full of examples of people who have made choices that reject violence and instead affirm life, affirm liberty, and affirm the value of each human being -- people for whom nonviolence is the path to personal, social and spiritual transformation. Join us on April 8 as we celebrate them.

Co-sponsored by: The Community for Human Development; Pangea East; Communities of Silo’s Message (NYC); Pax Christi Metro; Southern Poverty Law Center on Campus (Columbia University chapter); Pressenza, Code Pink: Women for Peace, Movimiento por la Paz en Colombia  (list in formation)