social changeIn the Spotlight:
Social Change

Personally, I heard Marshall repeatedly speak of his vision and desire to see NVC as a form of social change (for examples, see the two interviews I conducted with him for The Cleveland Free Times and The Sun magazine). He also repeatedly referenced books such as Walter Wink's The Powers that Be and Rianne Eisler's, The Chalice and the Blade, both of which concern power in human society, how it has shifted over thousands of years, and how (in the case of Wink's book) civil disobedience is a nonviolent challenge of power and its "habits" and structures.

For Marshall, I believe the compelling question for him was: How can all people and all beings' needs matter and be held with care? As part of this (as illustrated by the book references above), he questioned and even challenged hierarchal structures, power over, and societal norms and expectations where power resided (his referring–with his characteristic humor—to corporations as "gangs" is one example of this). "Power-over" is a "label" or term that Marshall used repeatedly. This is what I see "privilege" referencing: "power-over" patterns on a societal level in how we relate to each other and all life.

That he decided to call the practice he developed "Nonviolent Communication" and saw NVC as a direct extension of Gandhi's principles, is the ultimate example of his views and intentions. I don't think I need to remind anyone that Gandhi was focused on civil disobedience, a radical way of practicing compassion to challenge power and power-over. Marshall saw NVC as an extension of these principles. In effect, NVC is Rosenberg's "experiment" in direct action every day, in each conversation and interaction.

—Dian Killian

It's not enough that we believe that if we purify the self, energy will radiate to take care of things. I agree... it's simply not enough. I remember 15 years ago thanking Marshall for creating this wonderful tool for personal growth and transformation. I remember his response, "I want NVC to be used for social change." I still vividly remember that conversation .. and how awkward I felt that I didn't quite grasp the vision he had. I still don't know if I do, but I feel much closer to it now though than I ever have.

—Rachelle Lamb

From Awareness to Action: Creating Bridges Across Differences (2019, session 1)

Beginner Skill Level • Video • 36 minutes
Beginner Skill Level
36 minutes

With humility, tenderness, and courage, Roxy challenges your perspectives and encourages you to open your heart and mind. Roxy uses concrete examples and visual tools to illustrate complex concepts.

This session is free for all to enjoy during July.

Empathic, Powerful Responses To COVID-19 Inequities

Advanced Skill Level • Article • Read time: 15 - 23 minutes
Advanced Skill Level
Read time: 15 - 23 minutes
The existing unequal risks and impacts people of certain race, class and identities face in society is magnified in these strenuous times -- especially with things such as illness, financial well being, discrimination, attacks, and death. As responsive NVC practitioners we can stand in solidarity with those who are differentially impacted. Read on for this, and additional ways to spot common pitfalls of doing so.

10 Things White People Can Do to Work for Racial Justice

All Skill Levels • Article • Read time:7 - 11 minutes
All Skill Levels
Read time:7 - 11 minutes
It’s essential to give ourselves time to grapple with the complex feelings surrounding the brutality of state-sanctioned racism and violence. But if all we do is reflect and attend to our emotions we fail to show up, where and when it counts. So let's not perpetuate the violence by standing idly. Instead, here's ten things you can do to move into concrete action to address the continued, untenable, and horrific violence of racism. A list of resources is included.

How can Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Be Helpful in These Transformative Times?

All Skill Levels • Article • Read time: 23 - 34 minutes
All Skill Levels
Read time: 23 - 34 minutes
Amidst racial violence, there are things that NVC can offer. And there are places where NVC culture needs to be more vigilant. Here are examples of where, amidst incredible loss and pain, "allies" and communities commonly (and often unknowingly) create false equivalences, minimization and re-injure those who've been historically marginalized -- even when they offer empathy, or aim to stay "safe". Read on to cultivate greater understanding and ways to respond differently.

Viewing Needs Through an Equity Lens

Intermediate Skill Level • Article • Read time: 4 - 6 minutes
Intermediate Skill Level
Read time: 4 - 6 minutes
"All humans share the same needs" -- tragically, this idea can hide the reality that some people with less power in society have needs that go unmet to a greater extent, much longer, and with more dire consequences. Often, when the marginalized bring up experiences related to their membership in a certain group, their pain isn't acknowledged, and focus shifts to the listener's discomfort. The concept of universal human needs can be used to silence and minimize their pain. Read on for how to proceed.

Leadership Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement

All Skill Levels • Article • Read time: 6 - 9 minutes
All Skill Levels
Read time: 6 - 9 minutes
When we have few external resources (money, time, health connections, etc), we can still empower ourselves and one another.  We can strengthen our internal resources, inspire people to join our cause, build solidarity, and influence others who have external resources to support us and our causes.

Neither Rioting Nor Colluding: Powerful Speaking to Create Social Change

Intermediate Skill Level • Audio • 01:09 hours:minutes
Intermediate Skill Level
01:09 hours:minutes
Listen to Roxy Manning explore the barriers to speaking authentically as powerful voices for change, and practice these needed conversations about the ongoing violence in the streets of America.

Apart and Together: Responding to Opportunity in Extreme Times

All Skill Levels • Article • Read time: 12 - 18 minutes
All Skill Levels
Read time: 12 - 18 minutes
This pandemic is an immense opportunity, and a dire catastrophe in the making. It's a crisis within many planetary crisis's -- during which, our habits as individuals, and as a collective, are challenged because they don't work. And we are pushed to respond freshly and join forces in ways that seemed impossible before. Read on for more about this first in a series of articles.

Why Can't People Just Live Peacefully With Each Other?

Intermediate Skill Levels • Article • Read time: 8 - 12 minutes
Intermediate Skill Levels
Read time: 8 - 12 minutes
Perhaps human violence persists because we believe that violence is inevitable and there's nothing we can do about it -— even though there is notable evidence that this is likely not true. Read on for some research and theory on how cultures evolve to be collaborative or violent. Plus, learn benefits of collaboration and downsides to force, punishment, and control. These provide implications for how we might move towards a culture of more peace.

NVC Conversations About Privilege and Power-Over

All Skill Levels • Article • Read time: 9 - 14 minutes
All Skill Levels
Read time: 9 - 14 minutes

Some people in the NVC community consider the words "privilege" and "power" triggering and/or evaluative. From this perspective, how can the concepts of "privilege" and "power" be considered part of the NVC teaching?  This writing piece examines the power and privilege debate.  It also discusses what the author sees as Marshall Rosenberg and Gandhi's stance on the subject...

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