Each moment we teach people how to treat us. If we succumb to their bad behavior, we send them the wrong message.

Recently, I watched several films featuring means of non-violent resistance that resulted in change. These include:

Rosenstrasse: This is a true story of German resistance, which caused the release of Jewish spouses imprisoned in a collection center. The refusal of these women to dissipate prompted the release of the prisoners.

We Were Warriors: A small group of Fisk students galvanized a city into both resisting segregation and boycotting local businesses. Their cause gained national attention and served as a catalyst for change across the country. The secret to their success was gaining sympathy and involvement of a large number of people.

Poland: We’ve Caught God by the Arm: chronicles the struggle of Lech Walesa to win union representation and workers’ rights by initiating nationwide strikes.

Tank Man [Frontline series]: showcases a heroic individual who impeded China’s war machine following the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Bullying is such a problem because [to date] we haven’t named the counter movement designed to impede its advancement. We as a society haven’t formulated an offensive in which brutishness would backfire and incivility is actionable. The anti-bullying movement hasn’t coalesced because it’s not framed in the proper context – that of resistance against injustice. What we need is an uprising that serves as a powerful counter example with which to identify.

To combat incivility within your personal sphere, try the following methods of resistance:

  • Refuse to participate in bullying, and refuse to be a bystander
  • Demand respect when you’ve been bullied or demeaned
  • Post a positive comment when you see someone has been cyber smeared
  • Practice persistence, courage, and the willingness to take a stand
  • Stand your ground and stick to your guns when pressured to be uncivil
  • Become a State Coordinator for The Healthy Workplace Bill 
  • Exercise moral leadership in the case of injustice directed at non-violent protests
  • Engage in civil disobedience designed to enact positive change

What we need is a freedom movement within firms to reclaim dignity – the organizational spring.

What we’re ultimately resisting is oppression of the human spirit.

People make the mistake of trying to settle an issue one on one, when they should be sharing their message on a much larger stage. Bernard Lafayette explains “the war of non-violence uses different weapons, and its objective is to win people over.” From We Were Warriors:

“You cannot wait some for someone else to do it, for government to do it…you must make it happen by your own efforts and action and vision.”

Compliments of aldrin_muya via Flickr

Nonviolent refusal to cooperate with injustice is the way to defeat it (Mahatmas Gandhi).

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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