Home 6 Steps to NV Change

Dr. King's Six Steps to Nonviolent Social Change

Step 1: Gather Information

Learn all you can about the problems you see in your community through the media, social and civil organizations, and by talking to the people involved. Also learn what the people who disagree with you are thinking about this situation.

Step 2: Educate Others

Armed with your new knowledge, help those around you, such as your neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers, better understand the problem you are addressing. Build a team of people devoted to finding solutions, define your goals and develop a plan of action together.

Step 3 Remain Committed

You will face many obstacles and challenges as you and your colleagues try to create change. Continue to encourage and inspire one another along the journey.

Step 4: Negotiate

Talk with both sides. Go to the people who are in trouble or are hurt by the problem you are trying to solve. Also go to those people who are contributing to the problem. Use intelligence and humor as you present your plan and find common ground to benefit the greater good.

Step 5: Take Direct Action

This step is often used wh en negotiation fails to produce results, or when people need to draw broader attention to a problem. It can include many kinds of tactics including peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing, boycotts, petitions, or rent strikes.

Step 6: Reconcile

Agree to disagree with some people's actions or some groups' policies. Show all involved the benefits of changing, not what they will give up by changing. Keep all actions and negotiations peaceful and constructive.

* Adapted from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"