We seek a world in which human conflict at all levels can be resolved without resorting to violence and in which social justice can be realized.
The Ashland Center for Nonviolence began as an ad hoc group of individuals who wanted to challenge the willingness of American society to resort to violence. ACN instead poses the question, "What else can we do?"
The Center’s programming is dedicated to progressive personal and social change. By providing programs for children, families, professionals and individuals in our community, we work to create a culture of justice and peace.
It considers issues, both historical and contemporary, related to nonviolence. By linking people to information about nonviolence and to activities exploring and promoting nonviolence, it serves as a resource center for people exploring nonviolence.
The programming joins together different groups within the community—judges, educators, lawyers, parents and students—to help them function collectively.
We believe we can build a culture of justice and peace in a world filled with injustice and violence. We know we will not eliminate injustice and violence, but we believe we can transform the ways that we think about them and respond to them.
We know that all such transformation begins with ourselves. We attempt to link the ways we think about ourselves and our communities with the ways we think about the world.
An understanding of peace helps people discover options, enhance skills and make choices that lead to self-sufficiency and positive community involvement.
The Use of Force and Violence.
The violence is sometimes personal and sometimes institutionalized, but when Americans individually or collectively become angry or frustrated, we seem to prefer the instant gratification of lashing out. We often explain that we use violence only as a last resort, but it seems as if we get to the last resort very quickly. Then we justify that violence by saying things like, "I had no other choice" and "What else could I do?"
The members of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence want to find other choices. They want to help people discover what other alternatives they may pursue.
Of course, conflict is inevitable. Tensions will continue to exist between individuals, communities and nations--that is part of being human in this world. But tension and conflict do not always need to lead to violence.
Passivity is Not Nonviolence.
People who oppose violence are often accused of being passive. The extent of American thinking seems to be, "Well, you can't expect us to sit back and do nothing!" We often lock ourselves into "either/or" thinking. We are told that we must lash out to prove that we are strong and in control, or otherwise we are wimps for doing nothing.
Effective alternatives to violence involve confronting hurt, anger and frustration in ways that create peace instead of creating or increasing violence.
We are Not Pacifist, But Skeptical.
The Ashland Center for Nonviolence is not a pacifist organization. However, members are profoundly skeptical about the need for violence and the effectiveness of such force. They believe that there are other responses to be explored and other paths to be followed. These other responses will produce more long-lasting and positive results than grabbing a stick so we can beat sense into someone, whether it is in the home, community or world.
The Center for Nonviolence is committed to finding choices when there seem to be none, as well as answering the seemingly unanswerable question, "What else can we do?"