Working for peace & justice through nonviolence since 1915.
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Strategic nonviolent movements are one of the most potent forces in the world. They oust dictators, change policy and realize the hopes of communities. For over 100 years FOR has strengthened the movements that reshape society through our work in Black Lives Matter, training in Nonviolent Civil Disobedience, training in Jail Support and Fiscal Sponsorship.
Relationships established through strong communities are the glue of our work. We ground ourselves in relationships of accountability and a spirituality that spans faith traditions. We help build communities that reflect our vision of Beloved Community through our Chapters, Networks & Affiliates, Interreligious Engagement & Understanding, Intentional Communities and Retreats for Movement Leaders & Activists.
We see nonviolence as a way of life, a moral commitment, and a social tool. As a branch of IFOR's international network we work with partners around the world to end militarism in all of its forms, working through the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, United Nations Advocacy, Demilitarizing Communities, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, Anti-drone Initiatives and #GiveRefugeesRest.
I write to you from New York City, to which I traveled 2,000 miles to join five other FOR global leaders at the first-ever United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS).
This UN summit has deep personal meaning for me because my family bears the scars of the terrible misconception that policing and the stigmatization of addiction can cure a societal illness.
My father — whose heroin addiction had almost entirely removed him from my life — was severely maimed during a botched FBI raid in search of a suspected drug kingpin. The incident marked the first time that I viewed my father as a victim rather than a criminal and inspired my inquest of the drug war.
What I discovered is a massive narrative of criminal injustice in our society as our government's "war on drugs" has effectively criminalized instead of medicalized peoples' addictions.
Now, through the Fellowship of Reconciliation, I am honored to be a part of a multi-faith community addressing the issues of global drug policy in pursuit of a collectively dignifying way forward.
As FOR Executive Director Rev. Kristin Stoneking writes in a faith-based response to drug policy:
“Criminalization in a retributive justice paradigm will never lead to an eradication of the global drug problem… addiction calls for a response of compassion rather than criminalization.”
Our international delegation to UNGASS includes Kristin, myself, the International FOR's International Coordinator Rev. Lucas Johnson, American Friends Service Committee's Wage Peace Coordinator John Lindsay-Poland, Chile SERPAJ (Servicio Paz y Justicia) Regional Director Carlos Martinez, and Meet the Middle East Director Iman Jodeh. We believe this global event provides an opportunity to spark a new era of humane solutions to the drug crisis.
Partnering with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a network of black faith leaders committed to justice, we have co-produced “Ending the Harm Unleashes the Power of Transformation” (PDF download). The framework of this interfaith resource is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence," which called for a revolution of values: away from consumption and toward humanity.
Putting people at the center of global drug policy — through what I propose as a Virtue Ethics theoretic approach — will result in more societies that never give up on human potential and are therefore more restorative than punitive in drug measures and crime reduction. It will mean addressing the crimogenic and bankrupt conditions of the poorest neighborhoods, created by people in power, that produce drug crime in the first place.
Friends, this is a historic moment. We are eager to share this special UNGASS experience with you. Follow FOR on Twitter for live updates.
Director of Campaigns and Strategy
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Photos: Families who lost loved ones to the drug war protesting at the U.N. courtesy of Drug Policy Alliance; FOR's international delegation from left to right: Anthony Grimes, Rev. Lucas Johnson, Gretchen Honnold, Carlos Martinez, John Lindsay-Poland, Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Dr. Iva Carruthers (SDPC), and Iman Jodeh.
We focus on building movements and peace networks by acting as a resource hub for activists, organizers and communities. Through our network of chapters and affiliates we connect movements at the grassroots level.
We provide workshops, educational resources, strategic consulting, and speaking engagements for diverse audiences. We run young adult leadership development programs and nonviolent direct action trainings for front line movements.
We're part of a global Fellowship growing a vibrant, creative, international and intergenerational peace and justice movement. More than 70,000 consituents in the US participate in our base-building work. Join us!
For over 100 years FOR members have led the strategic application of nonviolence to political and social change movements worldwide. We honor and count among our number Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, Thich Nhat Hanh, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Muriel Lester, Sulak Sivaraksa, James Lawson, Jean and Hildegard Goss-Mayr, Andre and Magda Trocme and many more.
FOR recognizes individuals and organizations who make exceptional contributions to peace, justice and reconciliation. We honor unsung grassroots activists with the Local Hero Award, US justice leaders with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and international peacemakers with the Pfeffer Peace Award.
Since 1918 FOR has produced publications and a national journal to shape and reflect learning on the power of nonviolent social change. Since 1934 that award-winning journal has appeared under the title Fellowship, now issued twice yearly in summer and winter. FOR's national newsletter, Witness, is produced in spring and fall and provides highlights of campaigns and projects led by grassroots FOR chapters and affiliates.