A Call to Action

by Cristina Chavez

The Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice at USF meets this moment in the history of our American democracy with initiatives that focus on nonviolence as a core methodology of social change. The Institute plays a critical role in addressing how our USF community of social justice-oriented thinkers and leaders can take nonviolent action to protect our communities at the margins, defend our democracy, and heal the world.

The Institute has inspired the USF community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members to engage in meaningful and effective dialogue and nonviolent activism. The Institute has hosted a variety of high-profile forums such as the recent virtual event with the Institute’s founding Director, Dr. Clarence B. Jones in conversation with SFPD Chief Scott and the Silk Speaker Series with Dr. Jones in conversation with NBA All-Star and social justice activist, Stephen Curry.

Furthering Peace and Justice through Nonviolence

Founded in 2018 by Dr. Clarence B. Jones and Jonathan D. Greenberg to disseminate the teachings and strategies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, 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. Its mission is to promote transformational nonviolence, the pursuit of excellence, and truth as the most effective and powerful way to confront systemic injustice, racism, and violence.

Gifts of All Sizes Support the Institute

The Institute has received generous support from corporate funders and foundations, in addition to hundreds of individual donors like Molly McCarthy ’20. “Police brutality and the marginalization of black and indigenous people of color was not a new concept for me, but I never moved to do anything about it. I looked at it as something activists were doing and I was not an activist,” says McCarthy. However, it was not until this election year, the inequities unveiled by the pandemic, and racial injustice that moved McCarthy into action and supporting the Institute with a modest, yet meaningful monthly donation.

Gifts to the Institute support nonviolence training, community outreach, interdisciplinary research, university-wide teaching, public advocacy, interfaith dialogue, and creative expression to further the theory and practice of disciplined nonviolence to achieve a more just and equitable society.

A Call to Action

As the Institute seeks to expand its programs, Greenberg shares the plan to launch the USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative in partnership with The Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition and The Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice. The USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative will engage USF students, faculty, community organizations, and clergy in a multi-faith initiative to investigate the trauma of violence and the healing power of nonviolence. This initiative embodies the values and mission of USF by bringing together USF community members and San Francisco’s diverse faith leaders and grassroots humanitarian service organizations in interdisciplinary collaborative research projects following an Ignatian learning model. 

Greenberg believes there are many paths to justice and nonviolence. With its uniquely rich history and the close personal relationship between Dr. Clarence B. Jones and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Institute seeks to cultivate a community to further the legacy of Dr. King Jr. and Kingian nonviolence among new generations of students and activists. In this spirit, the Institute hosts a webinar series, newsletter, online journal, and engages with USF students and faculty in a variety of collaborative relationships. Greenbery emphasizes what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now” – the moral responsibility we share to speak truth to power, participate in creative nonviolence to fight the three evils Dr. King identified: racism, economic inequality, and militarism – and to prevent climate catastrophe, and defend our democracy. 

Join us in support of the Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice as it continues to promote transformational nonviolence to powerfully confront and overcome injustice and system violence, contact Tina Burgelman at (415) 867-0242 or, or make a gift to the Institute as a part of Changing the World From Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco.