to Break the Cycle of Violence
Step 1: Prepare for
and take the Family Pledge of Nonviolence
1. Read the
Families Creating a Circle of Peace booklet or any of the articles written
for individuals, families, and faith communities on the Pledge. Click on
and on any of the articles listed under “Living the Pledge of
2. As a family (whatever group of people you live or
relate most closely with), study the Pledge of Nonviolence and discuss what
parts of it will be most challenging for each person. Have as many discussions
as you need until each member is ready to sign the Pledge. Children ages 6 to
10 might use the
Kids Creating Circles of Peace workbook to explore how
they can put the Pledge into practice outside the home as well.
3. If possible, find at least one other family with whom
to discuss the Pledge, or get your own faith community or other interested group
to invite other families to discuss the Pledge and how to live it.
4. Take the Pledge
as a family, hopefully with these other families, in some kind of ritual which
could include “The Pebbles of Love” and/or suggestions in
Creating a Circle of Peace. Christian families or groups might also use
“The Prayer Service on the Nonviolence of Jesus”.
Step 2: Support one another in living the Pledge
1. Post the Pledge
in a prominent place in your home, e.g., refrigerator magnet and/or a framed
Pledge, and at least once a month meet with other family members to recite the
Pledge and discuss progress in living out the Pledge and what your next step(s)
2. Find a “partner
family” or join or form a small family support group and meet regularly for a
similar review and to discuss how you might best support one another. For
specific suggestions, click on “Guidelines for Family Support Groups”
A Call to Peace: 52
Meditations on the Family Pledge of Nonviolence for regular
inspiration and suggestions for living the Pledge more fully from a faith
4. Use the
Circles of Hope, Circles of Peace process and materials (leader’s booklet
and participants’ workbook) to empower parents to work together to deal with
violence in their lives; especially helpful for low-income families.
5. Get your faith community and/or other faith
communities and groups to offer special evenings, day-long programs, and/or a
family camp on the Pledge components; the
Alternatives to Violence Kit for
Churches in English and Spanish are designed to facilitate such programs.
6. Encourage your
school to integrate the Classroom, School, or Youth Pledge of Nonviolence into
the curriculum, with the
Violence Kits for Public Schools, K-5;
Christian Education & Schools Kit, K-8; and the
Christian High School & Youth Group Planning Guide and Teachers Manual as the key resources for
Step 3: Spread the Pledge
1. Take these
resources on the Pledge to your own faith community, other faith communities,
organizations and schools with which you are connected.
2. Take the
Family Pledge to your pediatrician, internist, and/or clinic; to family
service agencies; to parent education programs; to your Head Start program or
Parent-Teacher Organization; to local gatherings around Dr. King’s birthday,
Earth Day, Children’s Sabbath; to family,
community, and county fairs, etc.
3. Take the
Prison Pledge of Nonviolence to those who work with incarcerated youth and
adults in your community. See the
Summer 2001 Newsletter – The Pledge of
Nonviolence Spreads to Prisons and the Violent Offender Program and
its booklet AMAZING GRACE: The Story of the VOP.
Step 4: Help reduce
violence in your own community.
1. To promote more
peaceful relationships within families, work to get faith communities to offer
at least one parenting program annually.
2. To counter media
write letters to the editor of your local newspaper(s) about positive hopeful
events in your community; call your local TV stations about violent programming
and excessive concern about violent events on local newscasts; to increase media
literacy, use the resources of the Center for Media Literacy (4727Wilshire
Blvd., Suite 403, Los Angeles, CA 90010; 213-931-4177; E-mail:
See also the
Newsletter – Media Violence that Affects Our Children's Lives.
3. To help counter
violence in the schools,
volunteer as a mentor; encourage your principals and/or superintendent to offer
conflict resolution and peer mediation programs in your schools. In addition to
the Alternatives to Violence Kits for Public Schools,
Christian Education &
Schools, K-8, and
Christian High Schools & Youth Groups, you might contact
Educators for Social Responsibility (www.esrnational.org;
1-800-370-2515) and the Creative Response to Conflict program (www.crc-ny.org;
845-353-1796) have excellent resources for all grade levels.
4. To counter gun
and its deadly results, you can support state and local ordinances to curb
handguns and increase safety, as well as participate in marches and other
neighborhood initiatives to take back our streets and in prayer vigils to mourn
the victims of such
violence. See Some Easy Steps You Can Take to Prevent Gun Violence (from
the Advocacy Resource Packet on Gun Violence Prevention). See also
Creating a Circle of Peace, pp. 29-32.
5. To counter the
violence of poverty,
work with local and state efforts to limit the negative impact of recent welfare
cuts, as well as look for opportunities to work with one other family struggling
6. To counter
domestic and hate violence,
challenge verbal or physical abuse, support efforts at diversity
training/curricula, volunteer at a shelter or hot-line, participate in and/or
help start dialogue groups and community projects bringing people together
across their differences, encourage faith communities to address these issues.
For more on hate
violence, see the Spring 2002 Newsletter - What Is Hate Violence?
especially 10 Ways to Stop Hate (from the Southern Poverty Law Center).
For more on domestic
violence, see the Fall 2001 Newsletter - Domestic Violence and
Steps Religious Communities Can Take to Prevent Family Violence (from the
Advocacy Resource Packet on Domestic Violence).
Step 5: Work with FAVAN collaborating organizations
promoting policy changes at the national level
(Click on Advocacy for current action
1. On the violence
read the action alerts of the Children’s Defense Fund (www.childrensdefense.org;
800-CDF-1200) and support their legislative efforts; also join Sojourners’
National Call to Renewal campaign (www.sojo.net;
2. On gun violence,
support the legislative efforts of groups like the Brady Center to Prevent Gun
3. On violence in
contact the Lion and Lamb Project (www.lionlamb.org)
for action suggestions in video games as well as TV; also the Parents Television
for action against profanity and sex as well as violence on TV.
violence in schools,
participate in the Week Without Violence sponsored each October by the YWCA (www.ywca.org;
800-992-2871) and encourage schools to use that week as a way of highlighting
efforts to introduce or strengthen conflict resolution and peer mediation
programs in schools. For a longer focus on nonviolence in schools,
participate in the annual Season for Nonviolence, January 30 – April 4 (www.agnt.org;
805-962-9492). Click on
Activities for Teaching the School and Youth Pledge of Nonviolence for
sample lesson plans and more about the Season for Nonviolence.
5. On domestic
use the resources of the Faith Trust Institute, formerly the Center for the
Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (www.faithtrustinstitute.org;
206-634-1903) to bring this issue to community groups and faith communities; for
advocacy, contact the public policy component of the Family Violence Prevention
6. On hate violence,
participate in programs/actions organized by groups like the Southern Poverty
Law Center, its 10 Ways to Stop Hate, and its TEACHING TOLERANCE magazine
See also P-FLAG (www.pflag.org);
the NAACP (www.naacp.org)
and the Anti-Defamation League (http://adl.org/adl.asp).