The Chico Peace & Justice Center works for social change through education, community building, and direct action, and is dedicated to ending violent conflict among nations and individuals.
The importance and power of non-violence
In the early 1980s, the three CPJC founders and others agreed that Chico needed a center where people could meet to organize for change. They envisioned a place where people could come together to access information about peace and justice issues and educate each other on non-violent philosophy and action. The Chico Peace & Justice Center opened its doors in 1982 on Walnut Street and incorporated on September 13th, 1983.
Over the years the Center has actively organized to address issues that include nuclear weapons, U.S. militarism, war tax resistance, poverty, hunger, violence, military youth recruitment, racism, sexism, LGBTQ rights, minority and immigrant rights, gun control, the death penalty, Central American and Mexican violence related to U.S. policies, and U.S. military intervention in other countries.
The guiding principle for the Center’s work on all of these issues is a belief in the importance and power of non-violence, both as a moral value and as a tool to effect positive change. Since its inception, the Center has initiated numerous conflict resolution and violence prevention programs in the community, working almost exclusively with volunteers.
CPJC operates under the umbrella of the Chico Peace Endeavor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which has been working for nonviolent change since 1960. During the tense Cold War years of the early 1960s, the U.S. military began construction of Titan missile silos and bunkers to house nuclear warheads on Keefer Road in northeast Chico. Alarmed by this development, Chico resident Wilhelmina Taggart made weekly visits to the base to pray. Florence McLane and Helen Kinnee joined in Willa’s efforts. Eventually the missiles were removed. Together, these three women established the Chico Peace Endeavor and began holding weekly peace vigils in downtown Chico. Over sixty-five years later, the Vigil still takes place at the corner of 3rd and Main, every Saturday from 12:30-1:30
The Wheel of Integral Nonviolence
CPJC has adopted a Wheel of Integral Nonviolence as a description of our guiding principles and commitments. This holistic model provides a map for our journey as an organization, helping us discern where our energy and resources can best be put to use, which causes and approaches we ought to commit ourselves, and which groups and projects we will team up with along the way.
The 10 Spokes on the Wheel are:
- Heart Unity: Forging connection and understanding across lines of race, religion, class, etc.
- Manual Labor toward self-reliance and simplicity
- Spiritual practice and fellowship
- Political Witness: Nonviolent action, engagement, and resistance
- Walking with the Poor: Service and mutual empowerment
- Building and nurturing community and interdependence
- Ecological Awareness and Responsibility: Honoring the unity of creation
- Health and Wholeness
- Withdrawing Support from the Violent Systems and Institutions: Building and nurturing nonviolent alternatives
- Right Sharing and Stewardship of Wealth and Resources