Violence & injustice seem to dominate world affairs. But each year since World War II, dozens of important victories have been won in the world-wide struggle for sovereignty, justice, equity & a sustainable peace by people working together in the spirit of nonviolence. These accomplishments are less widely publicized than wars & other wholesale violations of human rights; but no less important. Some are the result of popular demand as reflected in democratic legislation, judicial review or executive decree; others, from the mobilization of ordinary people to make demands known through nonviolent lobbying, education, boycotts, strikes, & demonstrations.
It's important to keep an eye on successes in the nonviolent struggle for a better world, wherever they occur. We can do our own work for peace & justice better if we celebrate & draw strength from the struggles & achievements of others, & are active in solidarity with those who struggle elsewhere. That way all can be refreshed, & spurred on to other victories.
Some important victories in the nonviolent struggle for peace, justice & a better world since 1945 (please suggest others for posting to firstname.lastname@example.org).
1946 - United Nations established in San Francisco. Adopts resolution to outlaw use of the atomic bomb. UNICEF founded to assist children of countries devastated by World War II. Nuremberg Trials establish principle that individuals are responsible for their actions even if ordered by superiors.
1947 - American Friends Service Committee receives Nobel Peace Prize. India achieves independence.
1948 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed & ratified. US Armed Forces desegregated. Burma achieves
1949 - Geneva Convention signed.
1950 - India's Constitution makes her a republic, & the largest democracy in the world.
1953 - US Immigration & Naturalization Act passed.
1954 - US Supreme Court decides against school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education.
1955 - Clean Air Act passed.
1956 - Montgomery, AL buses desegregated following boycott by Black riders. US Supreme Court finds segregation in public transportation unconstitutional.
1957 - Central High School in Little Rock admits Black students. Southern Christian Leadership Conference formed.
1959 - International treaty for peaceful scientific exploration of Antarctica.
1961 - Freedom Rides achieve desegregation of interstate transit in US. Great Britain bans death penalty.
1962 - Pres. Kennedy by Executive Order forbids racial discrimination in public housing.
1963 - US, UK & USSR sign treaty banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere. US Supreme Court strikes down rules requiring prayer & Bible verses in public schools.
1964 - Zambia achieves independence.
1965 - US Voting Rights Act passed. Berkeley Free Speech Movement holds first legal rally. UK bans cigarette advertising from commercial TV.
1966 - Endangered Species Preservation Act passed.
1967 - Aboriginal Australians granted citizenship & counting in census. US Air Quality Act passed. US Supreme Court strikes down state laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage.
1968 - US Civil Rights Act passed.
1969 - Greenpeace founded.
1970 - US Environmental Protection Agency established.
1971 - US bans use of DDT. US voting age lowered to 18.
1972 - Equal Rights Amendment to Constitution, intended to outlaw all forms of gender bias, passed overwhelmingly in Congress (but never ratified by 15 states). US Supreme Court rules that death penalty is cruel & unusual punishment (decision reversed in 1976).
1973 - Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade makes abortion safe & legal in US. American Psychiatric Association reverses definition of homosexuality as mental illness.
1974 - Freedom of Information Act passed.
1977 - Pres. Carter pardons Vietnam War draft resisters. Pres. Anwar Sadat of Egypt makes peace with Israel.
1978 - Spain adopts first democratic constitution.
1982 - San Francisco becomes first US city to ban sale & possession of handguns.
1983 - Witness for Peace formed to confront covert US military intervention in Nicaragua. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday designated as federal holiday in US.
1984 - Infant Formula Action Coalition wins settlement with Nestlé after 7-yr. boycott.
1985 - Demonstrations bring down Marcos dictatorship in Philippines.
1987 - Reagan & Gorbachev sign first treaty to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. ACT-UP founded to address AIDS crisis in US.
1989 - In response to nonviolent uprisings, discredited Communist leaders abdicate in East Germany, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary & Bulgaria. Berlin Wall torn down.
1991 - Independence for Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia. Eleven former Soviet republics form commonwealth. Repeal of Apartheid laws in South Africa. North & South Korea initiate process for peaceful reunification.
1992 - UN monitored independence for Namibia. Three US TV networks set standards to reduce violence in broadcasting.
1993 - Federal judge in LA finds Pentagon's discrimination against homosexuals unconstitutional because "based on cultural myths & false stereotypes."
1994 - Apartheid voted out in South Africa; Nelson Mandela elected President. Peace agreement ends Guatemalan civil war. Agreement to dismantle nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
1996 - UK Ploughshares Four acquitted of criminal damages to fighter jet sold for use in genocidal war against East Timor.
1997 - International treaty abolishing land mines.
1998 - MoveOn.org established.
2000 - Gov. Ryan of Illinois, convinced that innocent people are sometimes sentenced to death, imposes moratorium on executions.
2004 - Innocence Protection Act passed in US.