Fasting Clemson Professor Presents Nonviolence Workshop

Carolina Peace Resource Center local chapter the Upstate Peace Network held a Nonviolent Resistance Workshop on Tuesday Feb 7th at the Hughes Library in Greenville, SC featuring Clemson professor Todd May, author of many books including one on nonviolence informed by decades of participation in nonviolent movements.  The event was a model

of coalition building: Upstate for Equality, Greenville Black Lives Matter, Piedmont Humanists, and From the Ground Up were among organizations co-sponsoring the event. The library meeting room filled quickly. Event organizer Max Burgess with the Upstate Peace Network gave brief introductory remarks, then Greenville Black Lives Matter presented a short slideshow of women in the civil rights movement. An energetic thin bald white man, smartly dressed and with glasses, Todd May then took the floor, warming the crowd with self-deprecating humor about his New York Jewish roots.

Dr. May conveyed his personal enthusiasm for speaking on the topic of nonviolence, but that enthusiasm became electric when he explained that he along with two others in attendance were on Day 2 of the #FastAgainstSilence, a public fast on the Clemson campus calling on the campus administration to speak out against the Trump travel ban.

Dr. May explained his presentation was geared more toward grassroots organizing, nonviolent direct action training requiring much more time. He handed out a sheet with grassroots organizing principles which we then discussed; another hand out covered nonviolent civil disobedience. After a short discussion, we numbered off and broke up into small groups to develop a hypothetical plan on how we would get the Greenville City Council to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Each group shared their plan and the entire group commented on strengths and challenges for each plan. At end, the meeting room was a hive of conversations as we chaotically packed up the chairs. The Upstate Peace Network garnered many contacts and much good will from the event, building bridges that will carry forward movements for peace & justice in the Upstate.

POST SCRIPT: The #FastAgainstSilence garnered much attention during the 6 days of fast; the three fasters setting up a prominent presence on Clemson’s campus. Nevertheless, Clemson’s administration remains silent on the issue of the travel ban despite having 115 students on campus affected. Read more: http://www.chronicle.com/article/3-Professors-Are-Fasting-to/239133

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