At Blackburn Center, we condemn violence in all of its forms. In more than forty years of serving Westmoreland County, we have seen the real and lasting effects of violence on individuals, families and the community as a whole. We know that violence is never the answer to any problem facing us, whether it be a disagreement in a personal relationship, a political dispute, or any other type of argument. Violence does not solve problems; it only creates more violence.
While violence can take many forms, at its core, it refers to intentionally inflicting pain on another person. It can include anything from physically hitting someone to sexually assaulting them to murder to types of emotional violence, such as bullying, stalking and harassment. At Blackburn Center, we are opposed to all forms of violence.
Being committed to nonviolence means that we object to violence as a matter of principle. It means that even if you may have the reason, means, courage and physical and emotional strength to be violent, you choose to not engage in violence.
We believe that nonviolence is an incredibly powerful way of bringing about change. Consider the Civil Rights Movement, when activists chose the path of nonviolence during student sit-in protests. Four Black students in Greensboro, North Carolina decided to sit at the segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s, starting a sit-in movement that spread to restaurants across the South. By choosing to not engage in violent activity — and instead remaining committed to nonviolent forms of protest — the students were able to bring about change, as the Woolworth’s lunch counters were integrated by the summer of that year. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so aptly stated, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a sword that heals. [It] cuts without wounding and ennobles the man that wields it.”
The use of nonviolent solutions for solving problems — whether it is a national problem such as the rise of white supremacy, or a problem in your own home, like behavioral issues with a child — can take more initial time and effort than reacting with violence. But because violence does not actually fix the problem — and only breeds more violence — it is far more productive and less damaging to focus on nonviolent solutions to problems as a first resort.
At Blackburn Center, we offer help to all victims of violence and crime. From our 24 hour hotline (1-888-832-2272 or 724-836-1122) to our emergency shelter to counseling and therapy and more, we are here for anyone whose life has been impacted by violence. All of our services are confidential, and are available free of charge. We also provide a number of services to the community, so that we can work together to end the violence. Committing to nonviolence is just one step that we can all take to make a difference in Westmoreland County and our country!