Nonviolence helps ease fight or flight response

Christian Bracho, professor of education, shares how to practice nonviolence through the philosophical teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday via Zoom. Bracho presented Wednesday as part of the University’s series of events for the Season of Nonviolence. / screenshot by Armida Carranza

Yulissa Chavez
Staff Writer

Christian Bracho, associate professor of education, discussed the importance of practicing nonviolence in everyday life at the third session of the Season for Nonviolence series, titled “Practicing Nonviolence,” Wednesday via Zoom.

This series highlights the assassinations of nonviolent leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. with the goal for the audience to learn about their philosophies and how they transformed the world and adopt ways to apply them in their everyday lives.

Eleven students and employees attended the virtual presentation. 

Nonviolence, Bracho explained, involves embracing the courage to speak up and respect others and oneself, and choosing compassionate actions rather than violent ones. 

“People think that nonviolence is a big thing, a massive movement that seems idealistic, whereas I think it is a lot more pragmatic and simple to practice everyday,” Bracho said.

Videos and a graph that displayed that the outcome of violence was outdone by the outcome of nonviolence were shown throughout the session. 

“I think there is a propensity to go to violence because of competition, but when we can focus on nonviolence and love it has to be more enduring and elevated,” said University Director of Multicultural Services Daniel Loera.  

Bracho touched on how the world around us, specifically the media, shapes and focuses our idea of violence. This has an impact on the innate feelings of always being in fight or flight mode compared to being in a state of being in place. 

“There’s this more foundational place in us that is about being at ease and feeling safe with others, but as soon as there is a sense of threat or fear, a response can potentially be violent,” said University Chaplain Zandra Wagoner.

In honor of Women’s History Month, a moment was dedicated to reflect on nonviolent movements. The purpose of this exercise was to realize how the stories we have been told about history lead us to intuitively think of male leaders and does not always highlight how women were not always at the forefront, but were essential to change. 

“Mahalia Jackson was the one who spurred the Dream speech and if she hadn’t said ‘Tell him about that dream’ we wouldn’t have that hookline” said University Advancement Associate Director of Development Julia Wheeler. 

The series will continue until April 4. For more information, visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity and Office of Religious and Spiritual Life’s Campus Labs. 

Yulissa Chavez can be reached at

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