Statement on The Denver Protests

Friends and Allies,

When I was 10 years old, I took a vow of pacifism. I have lived a life of strict nonviolence, argued for it in personal settings, and even preached on the subject from religious pulpits. As a student, I read Dr. King, studied Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha, and was then introduced to Tolstoy, Buber, Norman Thomas, and other champions of pacifism. If there is one thing I’ve learned from a lifelong dedication to the mission, it’s this:

Never ask for nonviolence from the oppressed, those with less power. Demand it from the powerful. They are the ones who use violence every day to maintain a status quo of class oppression, chauvinism, and of course, racism.

I support the protesters in Denver. All of them. Whether they march peacefully or react out of the rage and helplessness of the situation, I support them. The cycle of violence begins from a place of power, and only the powerful should be held responsible.

We must demand that the Denver Police Department cease their violence against the protesters and bystanders. We must demand that Mayor Michael Hancock cease his use of the DPD as a militia against the people. We must demand that Governor Jared Polis and members of the Colorado General Assembly take the necessary action to drastically reform our police AND prison system. That is the only way to inspire nonviolence in Colorado or anywhere.

A lot of protesters have been jailed unjustly and can’t afford bail. If you can, please send some money over to the Colorado Freedom Fund to get them out. We need to love and support each other. As W. H. Auden said: 

“We must love one another or die.”

In love and solidarity,

Amitai