Together Over Violence
We picked our theme Together Over Violence because community is our core agency value and collaboration is our strategy. We do not work alone and we do not change the world alone. We can’t pursue our mission of being free from interpersonal violence by ourselves. No one can. And we can’t realize our vision of a world without violence on our own. We can only do it together. We can only do it through connection and community. That’s one of the reasons why we host this event every year - to bring all of us together.
At the 44th Annual Humanitarian Awards, 460 people stood connected BECAUSE of VIOLENCE, each one experienced violence personally or knew someone. This is the very paradigm shift that we need to make. Instead, we must come together, no longer BECAUSE of violence, we must come together OVER violence. The room stood together, making a pledge and commitment that we will stay in community over violence - that we will be together over violence - and that after that night, we wouldn’t forget.
What does it mean to be together over violence in a time of such divisiveness? It calls for nothing short of continuing to transform our culture. To create as Martin Luther King envisioned... “a beloved community”. We want equality, equity, opportunity. We know that inequality is a root of violence. But is that all we want? Are we placing the bar too low? We should want more than equality. We want a beloved community. And that requires "a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives." Imagine a community with people who are harmed, allowed to heal, no longer shamed or blamed. Imagine that same community, where those who have harmed, are reconciled with accountability and an opportunity to also heal. To my mind, all justice should be restorative.
POV’s vision of a beloved community is a world without violence. Where no child is abused, no wife battered, no friend raped. A world without terror, without threats, without wounds from intentional actions. Where the strong provide for the vulnerable, where the vulnerable become empowered, where every kind of family is safe and secure, and girls and boys and women and men have a fair and equal chance at the pursuit of happiness in a tolerant and talented society.