There are at least 140 million people in the country who are impacted by the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the false narrative of Christian nationalism. The Poor People’s Campaign believes that nonviolent struggle has the power to end these injustices, shift the narrative from individual shame or blame to systemic root causes and transform our society.
This Covenant of Nonviolence draws on lessons from historic nonviolent social movements and our experiences in building this Campaign. At all our activities, events and actions, we seek to uphold the following principles:
- I will act with respect towards all. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active resistance to the interlocking injustices we face everyday. It requires presence of mind and a profound moral and spiritual commitment to ending injustice. I will maintain my presence of mind and walk with dignity in my actions.
- I will speak truth to power. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. I will confront those who disagree with our position using grace, intelligence, truth and compassion and never compromise my principles.
- I will seek to defeat injustice, not people. Nonviolence recognizes that we are all impacted by the systemic root causes of injustice. I will not humiliate my opponent, but call forth the good in them and challenge them and our society to live up to our true potential.
- I will accept the consequences of my actions for justice. Nonviolence prepares us to accept the consequences of our actions without retaliation and to not respond violently even to acts of violence.
- I will not resist arrest, use hostile language or insults, carry or use weapons or make any threats of violence.
- I will walk in love. Nonviolence resists violence of both the body and the spirit and demands that we love our neighbor. Nonviolence love is active, spontaneous, unselfish and generous, giving willingly even when it may be returned with hostility.
- I may wear a face mask for the health and safety of myself and others. However, I will not otherwise obstruct my ability to tell my story about why the PPC is important to me in a public and accessible manner.
- I believe the universe is on the side of justice. Nonviolence is rooted in the belief that justice will ultimately win against injustice. All of history is moving us in this direction.
- I am committed to a movement, not a moment. The changes we seek require long hours of work, strength, courage, creativity and commitment to an effort that is beyond any individual. Nonviolence compels us to act in community, to learn with and from others, to build fusion unity across lines of division – including race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, immigration and documentation status, gender and gender identity – and to prioritize the leadership and demands of those most impacted by the injustices we face.
In committing to these principles, I will tap into a power and soulforce that exists within each of us. I will be firmly grounded in nonviolence as a philosophy, practice, and moral and spiritual discipline. I will strive to embody the values of courage, inclusion, justice, truth and love for all that connect me to every human being.