The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice

“It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world — it's nonviolence or nonexistence.” Martin Luther King, Jr. ("I've Been to the Mountaintop," Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968)

The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice engages in interdisciplinary research, education, advocacy, creative expression, and multimedia publication to investigate, illuminate, and advance the theory and practice of transformational nonviolence to powerfully confront and overcome injustice and systemic violence and contribute to the just resolution of communal conflict.

The institute focuses on the most urgent social problems in our communities, across the nation, and around the world. It aims to bring attention to the systemic, pervasive violence that plagues our society and world, to understand this violence as a grave public health crisis, and to work strategically to effectively address it. The goal is to be useful to students, activists, and thinkers confronting injustice and inhumanity in all forms. 

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What we do

The institute engages in the following activities to support its vision, mission, and values:

  • Convening and alliance building: Bringing together civil society and community and religious leaders in multigenerational, interracial, and interfaith dialogue to promote transformative nonviolence and truth and reconciliation processes
  • Living history documentation and dissemination: Retrieval and transmission of the living history of Dr. King’s collaborative leadership and the black freedom movement of the civil rights era, including stories, lessons, memories, documents, and records of Dr. Jones, other surviving members of Dr. King’s strategic team, and nonviolent campaign participants
  • Scholarly research, creative expression, and advocacy: Development, publication, and dissemination of scholarly research, documentation, books, essays, digital media, and other forms of creative expression
  • Community training and conflict resolution: Conducting nonviolence and conflict resolution education and training; representing organizations in public dispute negotiations and/or facilitating consensus building in pursuit of justice and peace; partnering with schools and colleges to teach and train students in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence; consulting with organizations seeking to heighten the efficacy of nonviolent campaigns
  • Engagement with the USF community: As an institute of the University of San Francisco, our primary commitment is to the dedicated pursuit of educational activities to benefit USF students, faculty, staff and all members of our community. We offer academic courses addressing fundamental issues related to our mission for USF undergraduate and graduate students, and we make nonviolence trainings, workshops, and lecture series available to USF students and community members.