Speaker cites three actions to reach level of nonviolence

The idea to make Tiffin the 51st nonviolent city started a little over a year ago. Friday marked the kick off of the Nonviolent Tiffin campaign with an art exhibit and blessing from the co-founder.

John Dear, author and internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence, spoke as the keynote speaker for the Nonviolent Tiffin inaugural event.

“It is fantastic what you all are doing, trying to make Tiffin a peaceful city and haven for nonviolence,” Dear said.

Dear said the idea of the Nonviolent Cities campaign began about five years ago with Carbondale, Illinois.

“They wanted a vision of what their community could be,” Dear said. “That is why your vision is so important.”

Coming to talk today, Dear said he thought a lot about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

“Martin said the choice is not between being violent or nonviolent, it is between being nonviolent or not existing,” he said.

Dear said today there is an epidemic of violence.

“What you all are doing is so important,” Dear said. “You have so much power. You can be the light to one another. Be the people Martin wanted you to be.”

Dear said nonviolence is the vision of the heart, to see all human beings as sisters and brothers, who are all equal with the earth and other living creatures.

Dear said there are three actions one must do simultaneously to reach the level of nonviolence — be nonviolent to ourselves, practice interpersonal nonviolence to everyone and everything, and be involved in the movement of nonviolence.

“This is the only way change can happen,” Dear said. “Not being involved is not nonviolence. Your silence is your complicity.”

Dear said he encourages those in the audience to speak up and talk to their families and communities about living a life of nonviolence.

“Help them to see what their world can be,” Dear said. “Keep at it, a new world is coming.”

The art exhibit, “Do You See Me,” brought art pieces from community members, students and those recovering from addiction.