Sunday, April 27, 2008

Structural Violence

Here's a link to a great article from the Tribune by Jamie Kelvin, whose wife, Patricia Evans, was assaulted in 1988 while jogging along Lake Michigan. She is white and her assailant, who was never captured, was African American. Jamie says members of the media who interviewed him expected him to be vengeful and seek "restorative violence". Instead, Jamie moved in the opposite direction and began a quest to understand men who fit the profile of Patricia's attacker. He began planting gardens with residents of the Robert Taylor and Stateway Garden homes and was soon doing lots of justice and advocacy work. Here's a quote from the article.
"There are large violent acts, I have written elsewhere, but no large healing acts. The work of healing is a matter of small acts of attention and care sustained over time. Is this perhaps among the things Dr. King tried to teach us by his insistence on nonviolence in theory and practice? A commitment to nonviolence constantly forces you back to the bedrock realization that structures of inequality and exclusion are enforced by particular blows to particular bodies inflicted by particular hands. And it challenges you to seize the occasions for resisting violence that are all around you. In mysterious ways, more by grace than design, it too has the power to rearrange your molecules—to make you more whole, less afraid, more alive to human possibilities."

No comments: