Voices of our Community

Sep302014

Nonviolence and the Umbrella Revolution

Image via Slate - Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

by LaTasha Smith, Director of Communications

Featured image via Slate - Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Nonviolent demonstrators gather in Hong Kong's Central financial district in support of pro-democracy reform. The demonstrations are in response to recent restrictions placed on voting reform and electoral guidelines by the Chinese legistation. The Beijing-backed Hong Kong government has responded to protests by despersing tear gas and pepper spray -- forcing demonstrators to raise umbrellas as a shield to the chemicals.

Photo credit: BBC World News #hkclassboycott http://t.co/Yu63ZkEE7u

This symbolic response by demonstrators has sparked overwhelmng social media support in the movement that is now known as the "Umbrella Revolution". The social media response is helping to fuel efforts by grass roots groups in Hong Kong, who are working to force Hong Kong and Chinese officials to re-evaluate decisions around pro-democracy and voting reform.

The ripple effect of momentum this movement has caused, echoes that of the ideals of grass roots engagement and nonviolent social action that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so passionately promoted as necessary to help bring people up from the pits of prejudice and inequality. These principles of Dr. King have been utilized as a foundation for many contemporary social movements around the world. The Center for Civil and Human rights now features an exhibition entitled, “Nonviolence and Peacemaking during The Civil Rights Movement,” in the Voice to the Voiceless Gallery. The exhibition hightlights Dr. King's philosophy on nonviolence through his handwritten speeches, personal papers and artifacts. Learn more about the exhibition here, and visit The Center to gain an in-depth look at the man behind the movement and the bridge between the American Civil Rights Movement and Global Human Rights Movements of today.

Read this article, to learn more about the "Umbrella Movement" and the efforts of nonviolent demonstrators in Hong Kong.

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