One of the most interesting projects I worked on altered my perceptions of the civil rights movement and tested my convictions about nonviolence as an effective form of direct action. The Coalition sought to rebut claims by gun rights activists that gun control is historically racist; and violent, armed action is the method by which African Americans obtained important rights.
While researching the Deacons for Defense and Justice (DDJ), a small movement of men that took up arms to protect their communities in southern states between 1964-1968, I learned what it must have been like to stand up to a violent mob. In this case, that mob was the Ku Klux Klan. During this time, advocates of violence were much more prevalent than I had been taught. Student groups like the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) became much more militant during the 1960s, especially after seeing the terror of the Klan in the south.
Yet I also came to understand that while it may have been necessary for some African Americans to arm themselves to protect the lives of those they loved, it really was nonviolence that gained national attention and helped thrust the civil rights movement ahead.
June 7, 2010
Former intern for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Holding Fire, Finding Peace
[If I’m reading this right she learned the same lesson she would have had I been her mentor instead of someone at an anti-gun organization. Non-violence is the way of everyday life but the ability and willingness to deliver violence in the defense of innocent life under unusual circumstances is what makes it possible to live a life of relatively free of violence.
I have to wonder how successful she was in being able to achieve the coalition’s goal to “rebut the claims by gun rights activists.” I did a search on the CSGV website for her name without getting any hits. One might conclude that means she didn’t come up with the desired answer. She appears to be a smart girl so maybe she figured things out even while interning with a well meaning but extremely misguided organization.
After spending four months with the CSGV she has now been an intern at the U.S. Department of Justice for two months. I wonder if she is an advocate for non-violence there as well. I don’t expect that would go over too well with those that have to make contact with those that regularly prey on the innocent.
One might even imagine that if she continues to learn the lessons that life has to offer at the DOJ she might next get a job, virtually next door, at NRA headquarters. She would fit right in with nearly all the NRA PR people I have met, female, smart, and blond (I said “nearly” — Danielle probably isn’t considered a blond).–Joe]