In 2004, Kit Miller, close friend and colleague, became the unofficial executive director of BayNVC, the organization that fiscally sponsored NGL between 2017 and 2022. (She played with the idea of having the title of chief celebrator, and officially was the “managing director.”) She gave me a challenge that I accepted: to find the links between NVC and the original principles of nonviolence as they arose from Gandhi. I was already reading and thinking about nonviolence at the time, and this project, which took a while and included support from Michael Nagler, a friend and major Gandhi scholar, and two of his students who found quotes and references for the article I subsequently wrote. Some years later, I found a home for the article with the Satyagraha Foundation: “Nonviolent Communication: Gandhian Principles for Everyday Living.”

Ever since doing that piece of work, nonviolence has been at the center of the work, with NVC being a branch within it (primarily the dialogue aspect) while sharing the deeper principles with all other branches of nonviolence and serving as a robust theoretical and spiritual framework for making sense of the significance and power of nonviolence. I have read some of what Gandhi wrote and some of what Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, as well as works within and about nonviolence. I have read most of the Christian part of the Bible to become acquainted with Jesus and I have read about him as I came to understand him, more and more, as an unrecognized Jewish rabbi and sage. During a conflict with a friend in which I felt the deepest connection I remember to what Jesus stood for which, at that moment, I understood as “loving no matter what,” planted a seed for what later became the Core Nonviolence Commitments, one of which is named exactly that way.

My explorations into nonviolence deepened during a visit to India in 2012 when I met Narayan Desai, the son of Gandhi’s secretary Mahdev Desai, and visited Gandhi’s room in his Ashram, Sabarmati, as well as had conversations with others in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, as well as the Barefoot College in Rajasthan that continues parts of Gandhi’s approach. Many conversations with Michael Nagler as well as reading his book Is There No Other Way? The Search for a Nonviolent Future. Becoming acquainted with Erica Chenoweth and her work gave me grounding in understanding the power of nonviolent resistance on the material plane and complemented the other dimensions of learning about nonviolence.

All of what I have learned and how it’s integrated into the NGL framework is summarized in three packets: “All-in: Fully Committing to a Life of Nonviolence,” “Embracing Nonviolence as an Orientation to Life,” and “Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past.

NGL Lineage

Nonviolent Global Liberation Community