Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
Nonviolent Activism is the Key to Changing Our World
A Book for Our Times to Introduce Students to Nonviolent Movements in Our Country and the World
What better time is the current time in our country to introduce students to great movements in our history that have been perfect examples of nonviolent activism? Todd Hasak-Lowy's We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changed the World is a well-written account of movements throughout our country's history that did not resort to violent means and were successful calls to action to change a variety of issues in all kinds of places. True power does not depend on violence.
Hasak-Lowy includes historical figures like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and several women such as Greta Thunberg and Alice Paul who were instrumental in changing issues without using violence in their work. He invites readers to consider how nonviolent activists take up activities such as strikes, boycotts, and some amount of breaking laws without using guns. People and organizations should be willing to challenge issues and mobilize without taking up arms. Challening power does not have to involve weapons. He states in his introduction that his reason for writing this book is that "I believe that nonviolence-even more effective than it is peaceful-is a better way to fight. Indeed, it may well be the best way to fix our broken world."
Accounts of Gandi's life and his movement for independence, Alice Paul and her movment to achieve voting rights for women, and Martin Luther King's encouragement of nonviolent activties to achieve racial inequality are just a few of the history-making nonviolent movements that were successful in our world. Some lesser known movements that did not use violence in their work to achieve goals are included with details.
A comprehensive section of Notes from each chapter is included in the book. A comprehensive bibliography is also included for students to use for further study of all of these nonviolent movements. Hasak-Lowy writes that reading about these past nonviolent successes can provide a "blueprint for today, and more and more activists will come to see nonviolence's boundless potential to transform their communities, countries, and our world as a whole."
We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World is on target for our times that we are living in. It was published by Abrams Books for Young Readers and has an ISBN of 978-1-4197-4111-1. It is recommended for ages 12-16.
Authentic Photos of Movements by Activists Help Tell the History
Bring We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World Into Your Classroom for Interesting Lessons
Teachers who teach government, social studies, and history classes will want to include Todd Hasak-Lowy's highly relevant accounts of historical nonviolent movements that have changed the United States and the world into their classroom for a wealth of interesting activties for their students.
*Assign We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World as a book to be read as a whole or divide the chapters into easily read sections for one study at a time.
*Give students the opportunity to choose one of the movements/causes from the book to present a project to their classmates.
*Engage students in discussions to contribute their ideas about using nonviolent means to achieve a goal.
*Use the chapter about Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate Martin Luther King Day by learning about his encouragement of nonviolent means to achieve a goal.
*Use the chapter about Greta Thunberg to engage students in the current movement to deal with climate change. Present the opportunity for students to study climate change and the activities that could be carried out to meet the challenge of helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming in our world today.
*Take a class poll of the challenges in our country and the world that we currently face that using nonviolence could make a difference in changing instead of the violent means that some are using now. Engage students in a discussion of the violence that they are seeing in current events now. Allow students to voice their feelings about these events.
© 2021 Cindy Hewitt