Grass Valley workshop on nonviolent direct action for climate justice
Noted activist George Lakey will come to Grass Valley on Feb. 5 to offer a workshop on organizing nonviolent direct action campaigns for climate justice.
“I first saw him over a year ago, and he is the most charismatic person I’ve ever met,” said Don McCormick, co-clerk of the Grass Valley Quaker meeting, which is a sponsor of the workshop. “His work is inspiring. We are bringing him here because he can help us to be more effective in working to deal with climate change.”
Other sponsors include the Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains and Woolman at the Sierra Friends Center.
Lakey is the author of “How We Win: A Guide to Direct Action Campaigning.” For decades he has been an activist, organizer, leader, and trainer in the civil rights movement and with unions. He campaigned with ACT-UP and others in the LGBTQ community, led a cross-race, cross-class coalition, and organized Men Against Patriarchy. He was a founder of Earth Quaker Action Team — a group of Quaker environmentalists who led a campaign that stopped the practice of removing entire mountaintops as a way of mining coal in the Appalachian mountains. Lakey has led over 1,500 social change workshops on five continents. A retired Swarthmore professor, he is still active in social and environmental movements. He was arrested just three weeks ago for participating in a D.C. protest campaign urging Congress to act responsibly in the climate crisis.
Lakey stresses that a direct action campaign is not a protest. “When I look back on the one-off protests I’ve joined over the years, I don’t remember a single one that changed the policy we were protesting,” he said. He emphasizes that a nonviolent direct action campaign is different. It “typically makes a demand for one or more specific changes, identifies an opponent or ‘target’ that can respond, and generates a series of nonviolent tactics that escalate over time.” In the workshop he will show how to make direct action campaigns work. He will present activist tools that can build powerful movements that win victories, and he will also explain best practices for fostering cooperative, inclusive leadership, and unity with diversity.
The free workshop will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 5, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 246 South Church Street in Grass Valley. Copies of the book, “How We Win: A Guide to Direct Action Campaigning,” will be available for purchase and signing.
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