Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Little More about NVC and Me

I have already talked a little about my personal journey in A Little about NVC and Me and Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence.  

I started to explore Nonviolent Communication (NVC) around 2003, and it had a profound effect on me.  

Go here for the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2019.   And go here for information on how you can submit your blog post. If you have ever given empathy to, or received empathy from, someone, at home or at work, or in any context, please blog about it and share your experiences with the world. 

As I have said before, Violence Begins at Home.  I grew up in a family in which I experienced an enormous amount of verbal violence on a daily basis, as well as some physical violence.  My mother was (and is) severely mentally  ill, and never received any treatment for her condition, which was, and remains, undiagnosed.  

I was subjected to constant, daily bullying and undermining for many years.  Nobody helped me or supported me, apart from my piano teacher, who was very kind.  But other than her, the people around me gave me the message that I did not matter.  I did not count.  My feelings and needs did not count. 

I carried these internal messages for many years.  When we receive the same messages repeatedly - be they positive or negative messages - we internalise them.  That is the way the human mind works.  And, as we live in a racist society, we are subjected to daily negative, racist messages, and we internalise them.  This is why we experience so much self-hatred, and why we find it so difficult to work together and to trust each other.  

I am unravelling my self-hatred and replacing it with self-love, but I still have work to do in this area.  Of all the methods I use, and share with my students, NVC has had the most profound effect on me.  NVC is based on EMPATHY. 

As I said in Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence, our self-talk continues to affect us.  

Children and young people who are exposed to violence in the home are more likely to become involved with violence outside the home.  And, as part of the legacy of slavery, our families often use violence - both physical and verbal violence.  I am sure my mother was profoundly affected by the racism she experienced on a daily basis when she was a young person. 

Of course, violence affects every community.  But my community - the global African community - is my priority.  

In order to address the violence affecting the young people in our communities, we, as adults, first need to address our own patterns of behaviour - including our self-talk. 

The violence affecting our young people has to stop.  This has to stop.  If you agree, comment "Yes!" below.  

Please share this with your networks.  And please submit your blog post to the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2019.  


Monday, August 05, 2019

Black History: How Sammy Davis, Jr. Desegregated Vegas


It's not very well known that Sammy Davis, Jr. single-handedly de-segregated Las Vegas. I saw a documentary about this a few years ago.

I am dropping Black history all over my neighbourhood in South London at the moment. I walked into Holland & Barrett one day and this song was playing. It sounded like Sammy to me.  So I told this story to a couple of the younger members of staff.

Back in the 1950s and '60s, Sammy Davis, Jr. was known as one of the world's top entertainers. He could sing, he could dance, he could act. In many ways, Michael Jackson was similar to Davis. Sammy starred in the original Ocean's Eleven, along with other members of the Rat Pack.

Naturally, the hotel-casinos wanted Davis to perform for them. Every week, they sent him telegrams begging him to come and perform. They always offered him a beautiful, luxurious trailer in which to stay.

I asked them, “Why did Sammy not accept the offers?”. They couldn't answer the question. So I told them:

He wanted to be able to stay in the hotel, not in a trailer out back. The white performers, such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, stayed in the hotel. As their Rat Pack co-star, Davis wanted equal treatment.

They then asked me, “Why couldn't he stay in the hotels?”.

So I explained: Because of racism. That's how segregation worked.

I continued: This went on for weeks and weeks, months and months, until one day, one of the hotel-casinos finally caved. They said, “okay, you can stay in the hotel”. Sammy responded by saying, “I have to be able to eat in the restaurant and play at the tables if I want to”. “Okay, Sammy, whatever you want. Just come and perform here”.

But Sammy had more demands. “My band members must be allowed to stay in the hotel, eat in the restaurant and play at the tables if they want to”. “Okay, Sammy, whatever you say”.

And that's how Sammy Davis Jr. personally de-segregated Las Vegas. Similarly, Michael Jackson de-segregated MTV.  

If you want to know the truth about Black history, go here for some ofmy Black history blogs.

Please leave your comments below and please share this with your networks. Thanks.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

A Little about NVC and Me

As you will know if you read and listen to my blog posts, I am the founder of the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence.  We hold the Blogging Carnival every year as part of the Week of Nonviolence with Black Women for Positive Change.  

I am passionate about Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  I have published many blog posts about NVC and interviewed a number of NVC practitioners.  You can read some of my most recent blog posts here

I first came across NVC in or around 2003, when I read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.  This book really changed my life and changed me as a person.  I subsequently attended several NVC trainings, and now I lead workshops in the community. 

We are experiencing an upsurge of murder and other violence in the UK, and this is touching my neighbourhood in South London, as well as many other places.  Both gun crime and knife crime are on the increase, and this particularly affects our own Black youth.  Obviously, I am very upset about this, and I am sure you are, too. 

NVC is a practical solution.  We can end violence though using NVC skills.  We keep telling each other the situation is terrible, it's awful.  In every conversation I have with people around my local area, and across London, we always say it's terrible, it's horrible.  But that's not enough.  We need to end the violence.  We need to have the skills to do this.  

NVC has had a powerful effect on me as a person.  I blogged about this in Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence, and I shall blog more about this.  But for now, I am blogging about the violence all around us, the bullying in our schools, the violent behaviour of our Black youth.  NVC offers a solution.  It's often about prevention.  And EMPATHY is at the heart of NVC.  Ending violence starts with ourselves - with us, with you and me.  It starts with the inner work we need to do.  

The violence affecting our young people has to stop.  This has to stop.  If you agree, comment "Yes!" below.  And please share this with your networks.  Thanks.  

See also:  Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence.