The Dos and Don'ts of a Nonviolent Sit-In Movement

Season 6 Episode 608
Aired on 01/15/2017 | CC tv-pg
U.S. Rep. John Lewis has devoted his life to fighting for social justice. He has led nonviolent protest marches, organized sit-ins and trained legions of activists on how to react when the confrontations from these demonstrations become heated.

"We had what we called the dos and don'ts of the sit-in movement: If someone pushes you, don't push back. If someone curses you, do not curse," Rep. Lewis says. "You wanted to project that it was something that the community could rally around and support."

Rep. Lewis also points out that a nonviolent demonstration isn't always as passive as it may sound. "Nonviolence is not the absence of violence," he says. "It is the presence of justice. It is the presence of bringing the dirt and the filth from under the rug, out of the corners, into the open light so that we can deal with it. To help convince people who may be standing on the sideline, or who may be watching, that this is the right thing to do."