Civil Rights and Liberties: Examining Peaceful Protest and the Principles of Nonviolence

Your civil rights and liberties are intended to protect you against discrimination or injustice committed against you because of your RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ETHNICITY, GENDER, DISABILITY, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.


What is the difference between a civil liberty and your civil rights?

  • Civil liberties are protections against government actions, protecting freedoms.
  • Civil rights refer to positive actions of government should take to create equal conditions for all Americans.

In order for us to truly see change, people must develop empathy and take action which is NOT BASED IN SELF-INTEREST. What does this mean? It means that we need to fight for the rights of others when we receive no personal benefit.

The Southern Poverty Law Center gives us a road map for fighting hate at the community level. There are things we can ALL do:

  1. Act
  2. Unite
  3. Support the Victims
  4. Do your homework
  5. Create an alternative
  6. Speak up
  7. Lobby Leaders
  8. Look long-term
  9. Teach tolerance


As we engage in peaceful protest, me must understand the principles of Nonviolent Resistance

  • Nonviolent resistance is the practice of achieving goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, *satyagraha, and other methods, without using violence.

*Coined by Mahatma Gandhi: Satya means TRUTH Agraha means INSISTENCE… translates to “An Insistence on Truth”


Martin Luther King Jr. developed a list of six facts to help people understand non-violent resistance and join with him in his vision:

  1. Not for cowards, not an acceptance of evil: quiet physically but not spiritually
  2. The goal is NOT to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win him over to understand new ways to create cooperation and community
  3. The non-violent resister attacks the forces of evil NOT the people engaged in the evil “Defeat the injustice not the unjust”
  4. The non-violent resister accepts suffering without retaliation, accepts violence, but never commits it.
  5. The non-violent resister learns to love the opponent with unconditional love: “Cut off the chain of hate”
  6. Based on the belief that the universe is “just” moving us towards wholeness and peace.

This requires the belief that change is possible, and that personal sacrifice is probable.

One thought on “Civil Rights and Liberties: Examining Peaceful Protest and the Principles of Nonviolence

  1. Pingback: Group Project: Peaceful Protest March | One Sweet Run

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