Letters from the Founders
A Letter from Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brian, Founder of Carry the Vision
On September 11, 1906 Mahatma Gandhi brought forth the light and power of nonviolence to resist legislation that would impose pass laws on the Indian community in South Africa. He inspired other great leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez and that inspiration continues to shine through time as our hope for peace. Nonviolence has demonstrated that there is another way to meet the formidable challenges we face today – a way of undeniable power with human dignity that draws upon truth to overcome lies, good to overcome evil, and love to prevail over hate.
When Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, acknowledged the launch of the Season of Nonviolence in 1998, he offered these words: And this season of nonviolence…sums up the continuing legacy of Mohandas Gandhi. It sums up what I like to think of as the passing of the torch…The torch was carried by many hands. They included Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, the principal of Morehouse College…When Dr. King entered Morehouse at the age of 15, Mays became one of the great influences in his life. And there, the torch was passed on. It was kept burning by the civil rights movement here. Who will carry it for future generations?
That is the question we all must ask – who will carry the torch for future generations? Who will light the torch of nonviolence to illumine our community and our world? I believe that as we listen deeply and respectfully to each other, as we look around us, and as we search our own hearts, we will discover many torches are lit, and the light around us has grown brighter.
A Letter from Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese,
Co-Founder of Carry the Vision Community Nonviolence Conference
Since we first began the Carry the Vision Community Nonviolence Conference in 2002, we have seen tremendous upheaval in our political, economic and social systems. We are feeling the effects in our families, our neighborhoods and the community at large. But we have made a difference too. In 2009, our county received worldwide recognition as a “Partner City” in the Parliament of Religions network because of our successes in bridging interfaith and community goals. Now, more than ever, we need to plan collectively for a future that nourishes and supports nonviolent action and promotes harmonious communities for all.
I am so proud of the fact that Santa Clara County has been at the forefront of bringing people together from diverse geographic, faith, cultural, political backgrounds through these conferences, –– to develop and implement real plans to shift the tide of violence that is so prevalent in today’s world. I am especially proud of the young people who have participated over the years and who have declared their commitment to spreading the practices and principles of nonviolence they have learned from the teachings of legendary leaders such as Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez within their own schools, faith communities and affiliated organizations. Witnessing their resolve gives me hope for the future.