Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Faith In Action: Nonviolent Social Change

Materials for Activity

  • Computer with Internet access

Preparation for Activity

  • Visit The King Center website and decide which sections would be useful to share with the youth.
  • If you do not have access to a computer with Internet access, print pages from the website to share with the group.

Description of Activity

Participants identify avenues of service through The King Center.

One of the strong parallels between Hinduism and Unitarian Universalism is a commitment to nonviolent social reform. Sometimes this means nonviolent resistance of unjust laws-not doing something can be an action, too-as when Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes that would support the violence and killing of war. Sometimes nonviolent social reform involves taking action-as when Unitarian Universalist minister James Reeb marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and was beaten to death by segregationists. Nonviolent social reform is not always dangerous; it can involve raising public awareness, lobbying lawmakers to change unjust laws, or engaging in programs that directly help individuals in need.

The King Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, was created by Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, to carry forward the work of nonviolent social change. One excellent support The King Center provides is a Web-based matching service to help individuals or groups connect with programs near their homes. On the site, you can request information about organizations and volunteer opportunities in your area. You can even subscribe to a notification service that will e-mail you about new organizations or upcoming local events that need volunteers.

Talk to other Unitarian Universalist youth, friends, and/or family members about engaging in work for nonviolent social change together. Go to The King Center website and, for yourself or for your group, request information about organizations or volunteer opportunities in your area. Share the information with your group, and choose one or several opportunities to sign up for-and then go for it! You will be engaging in the continuation of a noble line of service and courageous work for social justice.

Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." What you are able to do may be small, but it will make a difference. Do not fail to do what you can.