How Change is Created

A few days after posting my most recent blog, on Colin Kaepernick (“The Last Shall be First”), was, coincidentally, an interview in the Harvard Gazette on why civil resistance works. (Link below.) The interview was with Professor Erica Chenoweth, who has long studied the question of why nonviolence is more effective a strategy of change than violence.

Chenoweth named four elements key to a successful nonviolent campaign:

  1. Participation that is large and diverse. Kaepernick? Check.
  2. Some elites who are supportive at least some of the time. Kaepernick? Check.
  3. Variation in the methods of protest. Kaepernick? Check.
  4. Resistance that stays sturdy and sustained. Kaepernick? Check.

The success of Kaepernick’s protest is not a slam dunk. But the silence of his gesture continues to ring in our ears. His protest continues to hover over football. And his supporters continue to remain as steadfast as furious. For all the Super Bowl hoopla, many Americans refused to watch, such as film director Ava DuVernay, who accused the National Football League of “racist treatment” of Kaepernick.  

Stay tuned. Football season is over. But this story is not.      

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