Americans are shocked and dismayed by the rise in violent conflicts that have erupted over political differences across the country. With a mission of active nonviolence and peacemaking, the Sisters of St. Francis are working to bridge those divides and promote peace by hosting a conversation with nonviolence advocate, author and educator, Eli McCarthy, Ph.D.
The program, hosted by the Franciscan Peace Center, will be held on Friday, April 9, at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. The event is free, but advance registration is required.
McCarthy is a co-founder of the DC Peace Team - an organization that works to prevent conflicts from turning violent primarily through the use of unarmed civilian protection. For over a decade, he has led numerous training sessions empowering volunteers to recognize and intervene in situations at risk of erupting in violence. Most recently, they were present on the streets of Washington, DC on January 6 when a mob of violent insurgents broke into the U.S. Capitol.
According to their website, the DC Peace Team has a mission of "unleashing the power of ordinary civilians to increasingly become nonviolent people so our communities can become increasingly nonviolent and resistant to injustice, with a particular focus on scaling-up unarmed accompaniment and protection."
"One of the most transformative aspects of the virtue of nonviolence," explains McCarthy, "is that it actualizes a conciliatory love that draws enemies toward partnership and illuminates the truth of our ultimate unity and equal dignity."
McCarthy is also a professor at Georgetown University where he teaches justice and peace studies. His most recent book is called A Just Peace Ethic Primer: Building Sustainable Peace and Breaking Cycles of Violence (2020). He has also authored numerous journal articles such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Toward a More Just U.S. Society, and Will You Really Protect Us Without a Gun?: Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping in the U.S.
Previously, in the role of Director of Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Major Superiors of Men (2012-2020), McCarthy was engaged in strategic advocacy on federal policy. He has been influenced by multiple trips to Haiti working with people living in poverty as well as working with people experiencing homelessness in Boston and DC, and in monitoring the Palestinian Elections in 2006 with the Nonviolent Peaceforce. He has also led strategic nonviolent resistance campaigns on issues such as immigration.
McCarthy has also been actively involved in the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International, which is a global appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence and affirm the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church. The appeal, crafted in a consensus process, was released at the end of the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference in Rome, April 2016.
The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as a means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the Earth. The efforts of the Center are focused on the corporate public stands of the Clinton Franciscans including immigration reform, human trafficking, abolition of the death penalty, human rights and income inequality, and care for Creation. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.