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Violence is Not the Way to Change the World

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

On January 6, 2021, President Trump's "Rally to Save America" lost control and turned into a full-scale riot. New York Times reports that many of the rioters were associated with a neofascist group known as the Proud Boys. These rioters were able to break into Capitol and sit in Senate chambers in what appeared to be an attempt to interrupt the election of president-elect Joe Biden.

The rioters believed their actions to be right and true. They believed they were serving a higher purpose, but in reality, when you resort to violence, not only do you hurt yourself and those around you, you hurt your cause.

Senators who supported opposing Electoral College votes before the riots, changed their stances afterward. Not only that, these actions made President Trump lose credibility. He also lost voice with multiple social media platforms and lost many of his supporters.

We should always endeavor for peaceful solutions. Buddha says "you cannot stop hatred with hatred." In that same vein, you cannot encourage change with violence. When you resort toward violence you are presenting the worst of yourself to the world. In order to make change to laws in the country, it is most important to bring your best self and your most peaceful self.

We have many examples throughout history where peaceful protests have inspired change. Most notably to me, as an African-American born in the 60s, is the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr., gave his "I Have A Dream" speech. The March on Washington inspired over 200,000 people to march for civil rights, and it motivated John F. Kennedy to draft important civil rights legislation.

Valentine's Day Campaign believes that peace and love can foster change. That is why we are asking you for Valentine's Day to send Valentines to your legislators with the names of those loss or injured due to police violence. We think that messages of love go a long way toward encouraging legislature into making the best choices for the people they serve.

Other important aspects are persistence, advocacy and education. On Friday, January 15th, 2020, we are hosting Ringing in a New Era of Accountability: What Can You Do to Hold the New Administration Accountable? This panel, hosted by the Valentine’s Day Campaign will bring together specialists to discuss ways in which organizations, grassroots organizers, and the general public can work to hold the new administration accountable. Panelists include: Fatema Dada of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Emma Pederson of Communities United Against Police Brutality, and Eliza Orlins, candidate for Manhattan District Attorney.

The rioters were operating under the belief that the Election was stolen from them. Their representatives exhausted every opportunity available, such that these rioters likely thought the only means available is violence. Before resorting to violence, the rioters should have looked logically and reasonably at their case and figured out why their cause did not prevail. Sometimes the time is not your time, or maybe you have to admit that your cause is not the best cause for those it affects.

Valentine's Day Campaign is a campaign sponsored by Peace Economy Project.

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