(This post is shared from Nipun Mehta's Google+ article.)
Our Dharma-friends, Pancho and Adelaja practice silence every Monday, in the tradition of Gandhi. They voluntarily chose to live in East Oakland, on the border of two gangs, to rebuild a community that is listed as one of the violent neighborhood in the country. Everyday, they meditate and once a week, they meditate publicly in the parks where there have been many homicides.
Today was an especially peculiar Monday to be practicing silence. Oakland police had set up a crack down against Occupy Oakland protestors. The previous confrontation between the police and Occupy Oakland became a national poster child for violence around the country, and Pancho and Adeleja were determined to have this second showdown take a different trajectory. Nonviolent civil disodediance has changed the course of our human history, and here were two Gandhians putting their life on the line to preserve its integrity. The city was extremely nervous and spent $300,000 just to pass through this morning's transition smoothly. But alas, when they came in the early hours this morning, they encountered the force field of Pancho and Adeleja. Police would later thank the community for their cooperation, but it was Pancho and Adelaja that served as a tipping point for a bold resistance that was rooted in something far stronger than violence.
Photos below tell the rest of the story, as Pancho and Adelaja both went to jail, along with 32 other protestors. [Adelaja has since been released.]
Nipun Mehta makes a powerful case for the larger significance of two young men's peaceful attempt to defuse a tense situation.