History and Origins of The Season for Nonviolence

The year 2007 represents the 10th anniversary of the Season for Nonviolence. In 1998, Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of M.K. Gandhi, observed that 1998 represented the 50th and 30th anniversaries, respectively, of the assassinations of M.K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so he proposed observing the 64 days between January 30 and April 4 as a “Season for Nonviolence.”

Help came from the Association for Global New Thought to develop an educational, media and grassroots campaign dedicated to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practices as a way to transform, heal and empower lives and communities.

In 1998, the 64-day “Season” (from Jan 30-April 4) was launched nationally with opening ceremonies at the United Nations. Task forces in 115 U.S. cities in 40 states and 10 countries initiated a powerful grassroots campaign to bring to life the spirit and practice of nonviolence as a powerful way to heal, transform and empower individuals and communities.

Over 350 major peace organizations, religious, business, arts and learning institutions have elected themselves as official co-sponsors of the Season for Nonviolence. Fifty percent of our U.S. governors and many mayors issued official proclamations for the 64-day period, and over 300 unique events were developed and carried out at the local level during the Season.

Every year since then the Season has grown, with task forces continuing to grow in new communities. The 1999 Season was again launched nationally at the UN and in 2000 it was simultaneously launched at the UN and with an all-day Youth seminar in Littleton, CO focusing on violence in schools. This was attended by over 400 youths from all over the country, especially schools that have been affected by violence.

The national 2000 closing ceremonies were held at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where a week-long calendar of events culminated in the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel on the grounds.