FCNV: A Lamp Has Been Lit

FCNV: A Lamp Has Been Lit
Fresno Center For Nonviolence Dedicated to Peace & Social Justice

BY ANGELA PRICE AND JOSHUA SHURLEY

As we celebrate three decades of service to the Central Valley by the Fresno Center for Nonviolence (FCNV, or the Center), our mission of fostering peace requires sustained support from you, our beloved community.

When the FCNV opened its doors in 1992, largely as a response to the first Gulf War, its purpose was to stimulate changes that reduce violence at all levels—local, national and global. Several groups that met monthly agreed to form a coalition of sorts, steeped in the principles of nonviolence. They pledged financial support to sustain the existence of a peace center for the next six months.

That was 31 years ago, and today the Center continues to keep its doors open. Although the Center’s future is uncertain amid a world increasingly characterized by uncertain times, its important work as a base of support for Fresno’s peace and social justice community continues.

It is hard to assess the impact the Center has had on the community since its foundation, but one of the more consequential impacts has been providing a meeting space for many progressive groups and others that require a physical space (so long as they do not contravene our commitment to peace). Over the past three decades, our modest space in the Tower District has seen our work flourish in the face of many challenges.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent turbulence of the Iraq War, the Center helped guide the birth of new groups such as Peace Fresno, whose antiwar voices have become a fixture in Fresno, providing an invaluable voice in resisting the culture of militaristic violence that has become all too common in our society.

In addition, the Center has assisted many like-minded organizations that provide important information and resources to the community in great depth. These groups include the local chapters of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Citizens Climate Lobby and Veterans for Peace, just to name a few, as well as local meditation, self-help and 12-step groups. Such groups have called the Center home and in some cases benefited from fiscal sponsorship by the Center.

The Center’s annual anniversary events and the distribution of our Way of Peace Awards have recognized countless activists for their tireless efforts in fostering peace and social justice in the Central Valley. It now hosts a monthly radio show on KFCF 88.1 FM (Stir It Up, the second Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m.) with guests on various important and current topics.

The FCNV has brought in many important speakers over the years, such as Robert Fisk, David Barsamian, John LaForge and Bill McKibben. More recently, during the shutdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center’s work took a significant hit, as community engagement (and monetary donations) saw a noticeable decline.

It is important that readers understand that the base of support long offered by the Center remains a valued resource and its board of directors wishes to assure Central Valley residents that its programs and mission are intact and evolving to meet the diverse needs of our community—whether that is empowering LGBTQ+ youth, resisting police violence, supporting justice for our indigenous sisters and brothers, addressing the climate crisis or standing up to the hate that is too often directed at those most marginalized in our society.

The core belief of the FCNV is that the relationship between these issues and achieving real change requires understanding and adherence to the principles of nonviolence. The Center is governed by a board to maintain its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and has no paid staff except for a small stipend to maintain routine administrative and facilities maintenance duties.

The Center’s major source of funding comes from community donations, and it receives no corporate money or assistance from private companies. In this way, the FCNV continues to represent an independent and authentic commitment to peace at all levels—local, national and global.

The FCNV is located at 1584 North Van Ness Avenue in Fresno’s Tower District, at the intersection of Van Ness and McKinley avenues, and can be reached at 559-237-3223. Its motto, “A lamp has been lit,” remains a clarion call to those dedicated to act in the interests of peace to join together in solidarity and demonstrate a nonviolent alternative to the status quo.

Before leaving this earth, the late Richard Stone (a much beloved founding member of the FCNV) wrote that “our progressive community has grown from being a voice in the Fresno wilderness to having established a substantial base and visibility.” The Center’s board echoes these words of pride in what they have accomplished and welcomes you to be a part of the Center’s ongoing work.

Consider donating financially to help the FCNV keep the path of nonviolence well-lit in the months and years to come. We have our work cut out for us and are eternally grateful for your continued support.

*****

Angela Price is a founding board member of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence and has until recently been its president and development director. Her leadership in all aspects of the Center’s operation has been an invaluable asset to the pursuit of peace and justice in our community.

Joshua Shurley is a peace activist and local educator and currently serves as a board member and secretary of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence. Contact him at joshuashurley@gmail.com.

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