Dr. King's Six Steps to Nonviolent Social Change
Step 1: Gather Information

Learn all you can about the problems you see in your community through the media, social and civil organizations, and by talking to the people involved. Also learn what the people who disagree with you are thinking about this situation.


Step 2: Educate Others
Armed with your new knowledge, help those around you, such as your neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers, better understand the problem you are addressing. Build a team of people devoted to finding solutions, define your goals and develop a plan of action together. 


Step 3 Remain Committed
You will face many obstacles and challenges as you and your colleagues try to create change. Continue to encourage and inspire one another along the journey.


Step 4: Negotiate
Talk with both sides. Go to the people who are in trouble or are hurt by the problem you are trying to solve. Also go to those people who are contributing to the problem. Use intelligence and humor as you present your plan and find common ground to benefit the greater good.


Step 5: Take Direct Action
This step is often used wh en negotiation fails to produce results, or when people need to draw broader attention to a problem. It can include many kinds of tactics including peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing, boycotts, petitions, or rent strikes.


Step 6: Reconcile
Agree to disagree with some people's actions or some groups' policies. Show all involved the benefits of changing, not what they will give up by changing. Keep all actions and negotiations peaceful and constructive.
 

* Adapted from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

Dr. King's Six Principles of Nonviolence

Principle One

Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people

 

Principle Two

Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding

 

Principle Three

Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people

 

Principle Four

Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform

 

Principle Five

Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate

 

Principle Six

Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice

 

* derived from "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence", Stride Toward Freedom. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  1958

© 2021 by Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence

250 Bryant Avenue  White Plains, NY 10605

www.mlkwestchester.org

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