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The Path of Hope
updated 2013 version

wall of hope
(Full Text)

Nonviolent efforts to bring about peace and justice are far more numerous than most people realize. LPF's "Path of Hope" exhibit and its related activities and resources seek to honor the memory of these movements and heroes and to encourage social change efforts today.

The Path of Hope has been used by countless groups since the late 1980s. (It was called the "Wall of Hope" for most of those years). A "how to" kit has helped many classes and groups create their own Path (or Wall) of Hope and share its stories and insights widely in their schools and communities.

The Path features 140 inspiring and challenging examples of ordinary people seeking peace with justice through nonviolent means. They span the globe and every period in history, and include similar numbers of efforts for peace… racial and ethnic justice… freedom and independence… and social justice and the environment. Take a look:

1350 B.C.E.  Hebrew midwives, in the first recorded act of civil disobedience, refuse to obey Pharaoh’s order to kill all male Hebrew babies.  After years of slavery in Egypt the Hebrew people leave in the Exodus, an experience of liberation central to both Jewish and Christian views of God acting in history.

750  Amos is called from his job as a shepherd to denounce Israel and its neighbors for their social injustice, shallow religious ritual, and reliance on military might. (Amos 5, 8)

600-520  As a teenager, Jeremiah is called to be a prophet, and like Isaiah and Micah, he criticizes the injustices of the day and pleads for the Children of Israel to make the pursuit of love and justice central to their lives.

563-483  Gautama Buddha shares his insights that: “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace,” and “No one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family."

500  Lao Tzu teaches the power of compassion, simplicity, and patience, counseling that “In governing, don’t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms.  Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds on itself.” (Tao Te Ching, 30)

388 Aristophanes’ play Lysistratadepicts women stopping a war by withholding sex from their soldier-husbands.

26 C.E.  1000s of Jews protest idolatrous symbols of the Roman empire.  Threatened with death, they offer their necks to the sword and stand their ground.  Pilate removes the emblems.

1-33  Jesus lives a life of nonviolence and compassion for all without regard to age, social status, race, or gender, and is put to death for the threat he posed to the established order.


30-80  St. Paul and the apostles share the Christian vision of justice, nonviolence, and reconciliation.  As Paul writes, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed...Live in harmony with one another.  Do not repay evil for evil.  If your enemies are hungry, feed them." (Romans 12)

50-200  Pacifism is typical in early Christian communities, with members being encouraged to make a vow of nonviolence or even required to leave the military.  Church leaders opposed to killing even by governments include Arnobius, Basil the Great, Cyprian, Irenaus, Justin, Origen, and Tertullian.

340s  Roman army officer, Martin of Tours, renounces violence when he becomes a “soldier of Christ.” Martin Luther, Martin Niemoller, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are all named after him.

570-632  The prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, emphasizes:  ”Be steadfast, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice.  Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness.” (Qur’an, ch.16 v.91)

1200  St. Francis of Assisi turns his back on wealth as a youth; lives a life of nonviolence and concern for others and for all creation. Animals are often blessed in churches on his birthday.

1200s  1000s of women join Beguines, women’s communities with cooperative economic forms and leadership opportunities.

1520s  Bartolome de las Casas, a West Indian landowner and priest, is outraged by the brutality of the Spaniards toward the Indians. He writes reports and travels back to Europe to convince the king and religious leaders to treat Indians fairly.

1520s  Challenging empty religious practices of his day, Martin Luther re-emphasizes that God is revealed in the cross and in Christian love. In his final decades, Luther gives increasing emphasis to responding to the needs of the poor by the faithful.

1537  “Historic Peace Churches” opposing war for conscience sake are founded:  Mennonites, in 1537;  Society of Friends, known as Quakers, in 1652;  and the Brethren, in 1708.

1644  11 New Amsterdam African American servants file a peti-tion for freedom, the first known legal protest in the "New World."

1681  William Penn's Letter to the Delaware Indians leads to treaties that keep whites and Indians at peace for decades.

1758  John Woolman persuades the large Philadelphia Friends Meeting to condemn slave-holding by Quakers. He later writes "A Plea for the Poor," calling for an end to injustice and greed which he sees as the root of conflict.

1765-75  American colonists conduct 3 nonviolent resistance campaigns against British rule;  they result in a condition of independence by 1775, a year before war is declared in 1776.

1780  Quakers start the first antislavery society in the U.S.

1840s  The Underground Railroad helps slaves escape to the northern U.S. or Canada led by “conductors” such as Harriet Tubman who led 19 groups to safety, despite her epilepsy and her own vulnerability as an escaped slave.

1846  Henry David Thoreau is jailed for refusing to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American War.  He writes a powerful essay, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” which influences Tolstoy, Gandhi, and generations of peacemakers.

1848  Lucretia Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organize the first women's rights convention.

1850  Hungarian patriots engage in nonviolent resistance to Austrian rule;  eventually regain self-governance for Hungary.

1854  Elihu Burritt advocates organized civil disobedience -- not just individual belief and activity -- to end the power of govern- ments to make war.

1867  2000 Chinese workers hired to build railroads in Western United States organize a week-long strike protesting inhumane and racist conditions.

1871  1000 women in Paris block cannons and stand between Prussian and Parisian troops, preventing war.

1873  Women celebrate the first "Mother's Day," originally a peace holiday as proposed by Julia Ward Howe.

1870s, 80s  Parihaka the largest Maori settlement in New Zea-land becomes the center of a major campaign of nonviolent resistance to European confiscation of land, e.g. soldiers were greeted by rows of skipping and singing children.  Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi are key leaders in the effort.

1891  Ida B. Wells starts her lifelong anti-lynching campaign by setting up a newspaper, the Memphis Free Speech, to draw attention to brutal lynch mob murders of African Americans.

1898-02  Thousands protest the brutal Spanish-American War;  leaders include Mark Twain, author of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The War Prayer and more on the folly of war.

1900s  Beginning as early as the 1700s, the U.S. labor movement strives to secure economic justice, workers' dignity, and better working conditions.  Among nonviolent methods used are strikes, picket lines, and worker organizing.

1901-05  Finns nonviolently resist Russian oppression, forcing them to repeal a law imposing a military draft.

1905  Mohandas Gandhi begins his first major nonviolent resistance campaign in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1909  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is formed to fight prejudice and discrimination;  W.E.B.duBois, Ida B. Wells, and Mary Terrell are among the founding members.

1914  As World War I begins the Fellowship of Reconciliation is founded by a German pastor and an English Quaker, pledg-ing "to keep the bonds of Christian love unbroken across the frontier." It becomes the world’s largest peace & justice group.

1914-1918  Conscientious objectors to World War I number more than 4,000 in the United States.  Although torture and brutality are common in prison and several men die, by their courage they make non-participation in war as a matter of conscience easier for future conscientious objectors.

1919-47  Mohandas Gandhi leads the struggle for Indian independence from British rule through nonviolent means such as the 1930 "Salt March" across India to the ocean where Gandhi and countless protesters gather salt in violation of British law, publicly evading oppressive British taxes.

Badshah Khan, a leader of the Pathans, a people with a strong warrior tradition, organizes a "nonviolent army," numbering as many as 100,000 people, to oppose British rule and resolve conflicts. He explodes three myths: that nonviolence can be followed only by those who are gentle; that it cannot work against ruthless repression; and that it has no place in Islam.

1920  After 75 years of struggle, the U.S. women’s suffrage movement achieves a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

1923  20,000 women silk workers in Shanghai, China go on strike demanding a 10-hour work day.

1923  French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr valley is ended after noncooperation by German citizens makes the occupation too costly, both economically and politically, despite severe repression.

1927  The Filipino Federation of Labor, the League of United Latin American Citizens (1928), and the Japanese American Citizens League (1930), are organized in the face of rising discrimination in U.S. society.

1930s  Toyohiko Kagawa leads a movement in Japan to help the poor and to oppose growing militarism.

1933  The Catholic Worker is founded in NY by Dorothy Day, a reporter, and Peter Maurin, a self-taught French peasant.  The movement and the Catholic Worker newspaper emphasize hospitality to the poor, pacifism, and voluntary poverty. Catholic Worker houses are established in dozens of cities in the U.S., and several farms are organized as well.

1934  20,000 U.S. students hold a one-day anti-war strike.

1933-1934  A group of pastors including Martin Niemoller -- a veteran of the German Navy in World War I -- forms the "Pastor's Emergency League."  It support pastors who are part-Jewish or lose their salaries because of the Nazis.

1934  An official convention of Lutheran and other delegates unanimously passes the Barmen Declaration asserting the gospel's independence of Nazi authority.  It helped create the Confessing Church which, despite its limitations, historians consider the most effective anti-Nazi movement in Germany.

1940-45  Finland saves all but six of its Jewish citizens from Nazi death camps through nonmilitary means.

    6,500 of 7000 Danish Jews escape to Sweden, most of the rest are hidden, aided by the people and tips from within the German occupation force.

    A rail worker strike in Holland almost shuts down traffic from Nov. 1944 until liberation in May 1945 despite great privation to the people -- as is portrayed in the Diary of Anne Frank.

    Public resistance in Norway undermines Nazi plans; e.g., teachers refuse to teach Nazi propaganda.  Romania at first persecutes Jews, then refuses to give up any to death camps.

    Thousands of Bulgarians march, hide Jews, and protest anti-Jewish measures.  Bishop Kiril threatens to lead civil disobedience and lie down on the tracks in front of trains.  All Bulgarian Jews are saved from Nazi death camps. 

    After the war, German generals admit their complete inability to cope with such nonviolent strategies.

1941  Lutheran Peace Fellowship is founded to provide educa-tion, advocacy, and worship resources as well as workshops, support for fellowship, and a place to explore faith responses to issues of peace and justice.  Its first major project is helping sustain Lutheran conscientious objectors in work camps.

1942  German students form the White Rose resistance move- ment against the Nazi regime and distribute thousands of leaflets which expose the nature of the Nazis and its treatment of Jews and urge “obstruction of the war machine by passive resistance,” including sabotage.  Several of its leaders are arrested and beheaded by the Nazis in 1943.

1943  Lutheran youth leader, pastor, and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is jailed for his efforts on behalf of German Jews, including escorting Jews across the border to freedom.  He refuses an offer of safety in the U.S. in 1935 in order to lead an underground seminary and work in the resistance.  He spends two years in a concentration camp and is hanged by the Nazis in 1945 after he is linked to a plot against Hitler.

1944  Central American dictators Jorge Ubico (Guatemala) and Maximiliano Martinez (El Salvador) are ousted by nonviolent civilian revolts and general strikes. From 1931 to 1961, civil strikes cause 11 Latin American presidents to leave office.

1945  Claude Eatherly pilots the plane that drops the first atomic bomb used in wartime.  He later comes to regret his involvement in the bombing of Hiroshima and speaks widely about the horrors of modern weapons and war.

1945  The United Nations is founded to resolve disputes that can result in war. The UN has developed programs on human rights, arms control, the environment, hunger & development, peace-keeping, indigenous peoples, refugees, children, women, etc.

1950s  Community leaders including students in the Basque region of Spain begin a cooperative factory.  It grows into a network of 170 worker-owned-and-operated cooperatives called Mondragon, with 21,000 well-paying jobs, a bank, a chain of stores, and technical schools.  They develop many creative democratic processes emulated elsewhere.

1955  500,000 women in Indonesia demonstrate for women's rights on International Women's Day.

1955  Rosa Parks is arrested after refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus where blacks were required to ride.  The black community launches the Montgomery bus boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After a year of creativity in coping with the hardship that ensues, the boycott succeeds, revitalizing the U.S. civil rights struggle.

1957  Despite large white protests and threats to their lives, Daisy Bates, Elizabeth Eckford, and seven other young students become the first African Americans to attend the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

1958  Ken Caulkin, a founder of the Student Peace Union, is run down by a truck and seriously injured in a protest against the first Atlas missile base being built in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

1959  The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) .llis organized by Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker and other black leaders.  It becomes the most influential African American civil rights organization.

1959  Septima Clark sets up Freedom Schools all over the South to teach black history and to train African Americans as voters and community leaders.

1960  Four black students “sit in” at a Woolworth lunch counter to protest the rule that only whites can eat there.  With considerable support from the black community, the campaign expands to a boycott and succeeds. The nonviolent tactic of "sit-ins" spreads in campaigns to desegregate restrooms, movie theaters, restaurants, and libraries.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is formed to mobilize young people and connect black & white youth using nonviolent direct action methods like “sit-ins.”

1961 Young black and white Freedom Riders protest discrimi- nation on buses.  A bus is burned in Alabama, riders are attacked in Birmingham, and protesters spend 40 to 60 days in jail in Jackson, Mississippi.  In six months, the U.S. bans racial segregation on buses, trains, and transport facilities.

1963 Limited nuclear test ban treaty is signed by Pres. Kennedy after six years of demonstrations by peace groups and growing concern about health hazards of nuclear testing.

1961  Amnesty International is founded to document and protest torture and capital punishment.  It gains a million mem-bers by 1980, with many high school and college chapters.

1963 The March on Washington is the largest demonstration to date bringing over 250,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial.  Martin Luther King, Jr. offers his “I Have a Dream” speech.

1964  The Freedom Summer project recruits 700 young people to help register voters in Mississippi.  Though three volunteers – Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney – disappear as training begins and are later found murdered, almost all of the volunteers continue their work.

1964-73  Draft card burning marks growing resistance to the U.S. war in Vietnam;  millions of people join in demonstrations, draft counseling, tax resistance, civil disobedience, street theatre, and other forms of protest.

1964  500,000 pupils stay home from school in New York City to protest racial segregation.

1965  United Farm Workers union launches a grape boycott led by Ceasar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to permit farm-workers to organize for decent pay and conditions.  They had not been allowed to form unions like other workers.  Many 1000s of people, schools, and churches support the boycott.

1965  Violence of police against nonviolent civil rights marchers in Selma, AL alerts millions of whites to voting rights injustices.  That and the enthusiasm and activism of many African Ameri-cans -- like Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper who simply wanted to vote – push Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.

1968  Philip and Dan Berrigan and seven other Catholic priests and lay people destroy 378 files  in the Catonsville, Maryland draft board and await arrest.  The protest sparks dozens of similar acts of civil disobedience; and forms the basis of Dan's eloquent drama, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine.

1965 The growing Liberation Theology movement in Latin America emphasizes solidarity with the poor and oppressed; Helder Camara, Gustavo Gutierrez, Juan Segundo, Jon Sobrino, and later Elsa Tamez are among its leaders.

1969  Greenpeace adopts nonviolent direct action methods to dramatize its message to protect the environment.  Its creative tactics included sailing boats into nuclear testing and whaling areas and hanging banners from bridges.

1970  The National Guard kills four students at Kent State Univ. sparking protests at thousands of colleges.  Over a million people join Vietnam protests for the first time.  A few days later, 2 African American students are killed at Jackson State College.

1970  The first Earth Day is held in cities around the United States to focus public attention on environmental issues.

1971  At 90, Jeanette Rankin leads 8000 women on an anti-Vietnam War march to the Pentagon.  1000 veterans protest the war; many throwing their medals onto the Capitol steps.

1972 Trail of Broken Treaties march occupies Bureau of Indian Affairs in Wash, DC to dramatize Native American needs.

1973  Art Simon, a Lutheran pastor in NY City, founds Bread for the World to educate and organize on hunger issues and soon has 45,000 members. It lobbies Congress to pass the Right to Food Resolution, the Africa Relief & Recovery Act, etc.

1975  Groups defending indigenous peoples’ rights organized around the world to protest logging, stealing of their land, and other abuses. 1000 such groups are formed by the mid-1980s.

1976  Habitat for Humanity is founded by Millard and Linda Fuller to build houses for low-income people with help from volunteers. Habitat has helped build or repair 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world.

1976  60,000 join Peace People demonstrations in Belfast and Dublin.  Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts at nonviolent reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

1977  "Mothers of the Plaza" buy a newspaper ad in Argentina to publish mothers’ names and pictures of 230 "disappeared" – people kidnapped, tortured, and/or killed by the military.

1977  The Nestle boycott leads to a UN World Health Organization agreement restricting promotion and sale of infant formula in poor countries. Infant formula is less healthy than breast-feeding due to its high cost and a lack of clean water in many parts of low-income countries. 

1979  A Gay Rights March draws over 100,000 demonstrators to Wash., DC to protest discrimination against homosexuals.

1980  Adolfo Perez Esquivel receives the Nobel Peace Prize for the work of Servicio Paz y Justicia; which he founded to intervene on behalf of human rights victims in Latin America.

1980  Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador is murdered while celebrating mass.  He had come to identify with the poor, and to urge soldiers not to participate in violence.

1980 The Solidarity movement is founded in Poland.  Severely repressed by the government, it is widely declared dead by many Western experts. In 1989 it wins every available seat in Parliament and now governs the nation; yet it committed not a single violent act despite the killing of 100 of its members.

1980s  Witness for Peace sends thousands of Americans to Nicaragua in a “shield of love” to help stop violence by U.S.- backed "contra" guerrillas... 300 churches offer “Sanctuary” to protect Central American refugees from deportation… 80,000 sign a "Pledge of Resistance” to commit civil disobedience if the U.S. invades, which helps avert such military action.  

1981  Protests against U.S. cruise missiles based at Greenham Common in England begin. At its peak, 8,000 women live in tents outside the base, demonstrating and committing civil disobedience. One protest: 30,000 women encircle the base.

1982  750,000 people gather in NY for the largest disarmament protest in U.S. history. A wide variety of nonviolent methods are used in the 1980s from demonstrations to peace quilts, nuclear freeze petitions to street theatre.  37,000 people are arrested for civil disobedience protesting the nuclear threat. 

University Peace Studies programs grow from two colleges in 1972 to over 300 in every part of the country by 1987.

1982  Sister Helen Prejean becomes a pen pal to a prisoner on death row. She later writes a powerful and moving memoir, Dead Man Walking, which is made into an award-winning film.

1984  The book I, Rigobertu Menchu details the struggle of Guatemalan women in the face of the U.S.-supported military government that killed and tortured more than 100,000 people.  She receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

1984  Linda Stout, a tenant farmer's daughter, creates Piedmont Peace Project to organize rural poor for jobs, services, peace, and low-income empowerment; she later writes Bridging the Class Divide about her experience.

1986 The nonviolent People Power in the Philippines brings down the oppressive Marcos dictatorship.  After a long period of protests, demonstrations of tens of thousands of people prevent a military response from succeeding.  It inspires movements in Asia, South Africa and Eastern Europe.

1986  The Palestinian Intifada, – or "resistance" – to Israeli military occupation begins.  Contrary to many government and media reports, it used mostly nonviolent means.  

1987  Mother's Day draws 3,000 to Nevada Test Site to protest preparations for nuclear war; the U.S. exploded 1,000 nuclear devices from 1945-1990, more than all other nations combined.

1988  Black and white church leaders in South Africa unite to condemn apartheid in an Emergency Convocation and call churches to active nonviolent resistance.

1988  Well-known Palestinian nonviolent activist Mubarak Awad is expelled from Israel, despite pleas from President Reagan and the U.S. ambassador who says, "You need more Awads in Jerusalem, not fewer."

1989  Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany all win freedom from Soviet control by nonviolent means.  Nonviolent independence movements within the Soviet Union are launched in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Moldavia, and the Ukraine

1989  Romanian secret police attempt to arrest Rev. Laszlo Tokes;  his parishioners jam the streets, light candles, and refuse to move.  The crowd grows to 50,000 in the city center.  Violent suppression by the government sparks the revolution that overthrows the dictator Ceausescu.

1989  The Chinese government crushes a nonviolent student protest at Tiananmen Square but not before images are televised around the world such as an unarmed young man stopping a column of tanks.

1989  Student protests lead 20% of U.S. universities to fully withdraw investments from corporations with ties to South Africa;  almost 60% support the divestment campaign.

1990  Disabled demonstrators at the U.S. Capitol building demand passage of a bill guaranteeing their civil rights.  60 people crawl out of their wheelchairs and up the Capitol steps.

1990  King Birendra of Nepal yields to protests that topple his government, grants multi-party democracy, a parliamentary system, and freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly….

1990s  Lutheran Bishop Medardo Ernesto Gomez is a leader in rebuilding El Salvador after its bloody civil war. "Sister Parish" links with churches in the U.S. are important sources of support in Central America, and help educate U.S. citizens.

1990-91  People in 20 U.S. cities protest buildup to war on Iraq which polls show most Americans oppose. Over 2000 young soldiers seek conscientious objector status.  After the war, support grows for a Code of Conduct to end U.S. arms sales to dictators who repress their people and threaten neighbors.

1991  Tens of thousands of Russian demonstrators surround the Moscow White House (their parliament building) to protect Pres. Boris Yeltsin from a coup that fails despite command of four million soldiers and thousands of tanks and aircraft.

1992  Demonstrations and educational events around the world turn the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus to the New World into a classroom on the plight of native peoples and the effects of colonialism.

1992  60,000 people attend an anti-war rock concert in Belgrade, Serbia to protest war in the former Yugoslavia. In Stara Moravica, a solidarity action is held in support of 83 youth who refuse to serve in the military.  Even under Serbian shelling in Sarajevo, nonviolent protests take place daily. 

1994  Nelson Mandela is elected the first black President of South Africa, just four years after he is released from jail.

1995  The Million Man March by African Americans in Wash-ington, DC highlights constructive efforts of black men and challenges them to fight racism and injustice on returning to their communities back home.

1995  The human rights activist in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, is released from six years of detention;  her political party had won an overwhelming victory in 1989 but wasn’t allowed to take office.  She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

1996  Unmet needs of children is the focus of the Stand for Children march in Wash., DC led by Marion Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund and local advocacy groups.

1998-99  Thousands of churches, schools, and groups pass resolutions endorsing the Nobel Appeal for Peace “For the Children of the World.”  The UN designates 2001-2010 as the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence.  Over 74 million people sign a pledge of nonviolence by 2001!

1999  50,000 people participate in WTO protests in Seattle during World Trade Organization meetings. LPF youth hand out 8,500 flyers calling for justice for poor and working people, basic changes in World Trade, and nonviolence in the protests.

2002  Protests escalate against the Israeli Wall separating Jewish and Palestinian areas often putting barriers between Palestinians and their land, jobs, relatives, and neighbors.

    Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old U.S. peace activist, is killed by an American-made bulldozer in Gaza while nonviolently protesting the destruction of the homes of Palestinians.

2003  In March alone, 6 million people across the globe protest U.S. plans to launch a war on Iraq that violates morality and international law, promoted by reasons that prove inaccurate like a major new threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

2005  In a mass participation fast, concerned Americans express their remorse and penitence for the failure of their elected officials in Congress to follow up with effective action on their declaration of genocide in the Sudan.

2006  On May 1, over 1,500,000 people take part in the largest immigrant rights protest in U.S. history.  May Day, which for 60 years has been a celebration of the contributions of working people around the world, becomes an annual event to push for comprehensive immigration reform.  

2007  In just a decade, citizen lobbying leads to the cancelation of more than $120 billion of debt owed by developing countries in what came to be called the Jubilee movement.  Since 1986, the world’s 66 poorest countries paid $230 billion in debt service, more than they received from donor countries in that time. 

2008  Chinese troops and security forces use gunfire to quell protests in Tibet, led mostly by young Buddhists monks. The largely nonviolent demonstrations against Chinese rule of Tibet, with leadership from the Dalai Lama, occur just weeks before the Summer Olympics begin in China. 

2008  Nuclear disarmament goes mainstream as former “cold warriors” Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn call for complete elimination of nuclear weapons in the Wall Street Journal. They’re supported by 70% of living former U.S. secretaries of defense and state and national security advisors, as well as leaders from around the world.

2009  4 million Americans, many of them youth, join the ONE Campaign, Bread for the World, and other groups to fight extreme poverty, esp. in Africa, and to hold world leaders of 191 countries accountable for their 1999 commitments to cut extreme poverty and hunger in half by the year 2015, and for support of the seven other Millennium Development Goals

2009  The Obama administration takes office with a federal budget that spends $686 billion on the military but less than $20 billion each on diplomacy and development.  Citizen groups advocate major changes in a budget that spends so little on nonviolent approaches to conflict and on underlying causes of conflict.

2009  Millions of people from all walks of life take to the streets to protest the elections in Iran for what they regard as inaccurate or even fraudulent handling of ballot results.

Dec. 2010  Protests in Tunisia attract widespread support and lead to the fall of the government. They spark a wave of protest from Algeria to Yemen, focusing on jobs, political freedom, and government repression and corruption.  Before long these protests are referred to as “The Arab Spring."

Jan. 2011  Large protests and acts of civil disobedience in Egypt capture world attention.  Demonstrations in Tahrir Square often number over 100,000 and lead to a long-term occupation.  They force the fall of the Mubarak government in late February.

Major uprisings occur in Bahrain, Syria, and elsewhere.  Many protest leaders had participated in nonviolence workshops and studied translations of analyses by Gene Sharp and others, as well as an FOR comic book on the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

2011  Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in NY City protest the large inequalities of wealth, income and access to services in the U.S., as well as rampant corporate corruption, greed and unwarranted influence over government.  The protest sparks “Occupy” activities and movements in 1000 U.S. communities and in 900 cities around the world.  The protests utilize many nonviolent tactics under such slogans as, "we are the 99%."

2012  The shootings of 20 first graders and 6 teachers in Newtown, Connecticut spark the largest organizing efforts in years for gun control, e.g. to expand background checks, limit the size of bullet magazines, and end assault weapon sales….

dove of peace

For Reflection and Discussion

Which of these stories are new to you?  Which are familiar, perhaps in new ways?  Which are especially encouraging?
What will we add to the story of justice and peace, of compassion and nonviolence in these challenging times?

What might help us join the long tradition of positive social change?  How can we support one another in exploring and taking on meaningful involvement?

Printer friendly pdf version of the Path of Hope

Using the Path of Hope With Classes and Youth Groups

About the Path of Hope and its Creation

Another online version of the Path of Hope is titled
"The Great Peace March"on the web site of the San Antonio Peace Center

Spanish version: español El Sendero de la Esperanza
Eventos y movimientos a favor de la justicia y la paz a través de la historia.

Especially useful Sources of Information relating to the Path of Hope include:Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, A Force More Powerful;  Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resist-ance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict;  Robert Cooney and Helen Michalowski, The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the U.S.;Mary Ann Luke, ed., Pilgrims and Seekers; Staughton and Alice Lynd, eds., Nonviolence in America; 
ECCP, IFOR, People Building Peace: Stories from Around the World;  Pam McAllister, You Can't Kill the Spiritand This River of Courage;  Michael True, To Construct Peace; and Justice Seekers, Peace Makers;  Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, Cloud of Witnesses;  Kathryn Watterston, Not By the Sword;Juan Williams, Eyes on the Prize;  Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers and The Powers That Be;  Stephen Zunes, Nonviolent Social Movements.
Global Nonviolent Action Databasecovers 100s of campaigns from 190 countries and is fully searchable by issue and geography:   PJRC, Social Movements guide.

The Path of Hope grew out of numerous conversations and workshops with young people, many of whom felt discouraged by the priorities and heroes of our culture.  Beginning in 1988, students chose most of the 120 stories and 400 photos and drawings for what was at first, the “Wall of Hope.” It seeks to dramatically illustrate the creativity and effectiveness of nonviolent responses to violence and injustice throughout history and around the globe.
The exhibit has traveled across the U.S. and Canada to over 600 schools, conferences, churches, groups, and events attended by over 180,000 people.  These have included the Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship conference in Canada, and annual meetings of the major peace education groups, the Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA), and Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (COPRED).
A notable exhibit arena has been ELCA Youth Gatherings where it has inspired tens of thousands of young people. Hundreds of classes and groups have used our free “how to” kit to create their own Path of Hope, and/or a dozen activities for exploring the potential of nonviolent social change.
The Path and its activities and resources were developed by Lutheran Peace Fellowship (see below) and the Peace & Justice Resource Center (Wall of Hope:  Both share the exhibit and other resources freely with other groups.  The San Antonio PeaceCenter has exhibited widely their own version of the Path of Hope, posting it with graphics on their website under the name, “The Great Peace March.”  They have also developed a creative “Mexican bingo game” activity based on the Path (see:
We’d love to hear your reactions to the Path of Hope – and your ideas for additions, updates, and especially, action.  We welcome your partnership in sharing the gifts of justice, peace, and welcoming community in our troubled world.
For other Path of Hope and nonviolence resources, and to connect with the community of peacemakers that is LPF, please contact us at the info at the bottom of this page.

Top Ten List
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