The bulldozer driver was cleared, cries: “I didn’t see him.” These words echoed over and over again to describe the tragedy at a school construction site in April of 1964, when Reverend Bruce Klunder was killed under the treads of a bulldozer as he protested against school segregation. The Cleveland, Ohio minister of just 3 years lost his life through a nonviolent protest. The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper describe the episode as a lawless use of force initiated by civil rights groups attempting to stop construction of a school building, the location of which they opposed. The non-violent protest was characterized as being militant on both sides; the civil rights group versus the city administration of Cleveland, Ohio. In hind sight, this incident was a precursor to the race riots of 1966 and 1968 that erupted in the city and across America. Non-violence turned to violence.
What happened in the next years in Cleveland, Ohio and around the country could have been predicted by the words of Martin Luther King, ” The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiples it.” –M.L.K.
“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.”—Mother Teresa, The Joy of Living: A Guide to Daily Living
Why has man continued his struggled with the concept of non-violence? At the root of man’s humanity are seven deadly sins: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth. Pride is the worst of the sins, as man has an excessive belief in his own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.
Personally, my pride has been between confidence and arrogance at times, especially in younger years when seeking control over my life was important. Since then, wisdom learned has brought the Serenity Prayer and a better sense of peace of mind. Having faith in your higher power will ease your worry and your anxiety about your life. Surrendering to my higher power and finding faith with my positive acts has created a new life and new perspective for me.
Are you ready?
Has your life become unmanageable? Are you ready to make a decision to change? Do you believe in your higher power? Non violence can become a reality in our personal lives if we are willing to eliminate pride by surrendering it to our higher power? Testifying, it is and will continue to be a beautiful journey seeing and knowing that humility offers many gifts that defy any words to describe it. We all have a beautiful inner self, may you grow and prosper in your life, as you are blessed with the gifts of peace and harmony.
P.S. My first teaching assignment in 1969 was at the very school mentioned above, Stephen E. Howe.
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