California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) activists practiced peace and joined a Peace Walk on Oct. 27. The violence in the Middle East did spark this event’s organization, but cultivating peace is something that each individual can benefit from.
At least 15 students and faculty members gathered in front of Heron Hall and walked toward the Otter Student Union (OSU); each step was intended to be an act of breathing peace into the world.
The method practiced is a form of nonviolent protest in which participants are encouraged to walk very slowly, acknowledging pain and suffering in one step, and releasing it with peace in the next.
The walk was organized by psychology Professor Shannon Snapp, and participants were encouraged to wear white, the international color for peace. “I learned this practice from Thich Nhat Hanh… he used it to resist the Vietnam War which he was a huge proponent against,” said Snapp prior to beginning the walk.
Snapp added, “People all over the world use this practice, not just during times of war, violence and conflict, but also in our everyday lives. [The practice] is about practicing peace in ourselves and watering the seeds of peace in ourselves. It’s much more powerful if we collectively do it.”
Psychology Lecturer Michelle Long attended the walk and said, “I was really inspired by Shannon’s intention and her bravery in offering [the walk]. It was such a fresh and brilliant take on focusing on peace [by] walking together; that really was moving to me.”
Most of the attendees were staff members, with the psychology department making up most (if not all) of the group.
One professor who teaches “social psychology and social justice,” and “psychology of liberation and healing,” Christine Rosales, offered her approach to peace.
“I do not believe that there can be peace without justice. I went to the peace walk with my ‘Free Palestine’ banner and although that may not be perceived as ‘peaceful’ to some, I am grateful to [Professor] Snapp for providing space for what peace means to me.”
According to Snapp, the CSUMB community should be interested in this issue because “it affects every part of our humanity when we see extreme conflict that leads to this kind of violence. We start to understand that we’re all connected, then one person’s suffering, wherever it exists in the world, impacts [everyone].”