The Courage to Refuse War: A path to promote nonviolence and social justice
Colombian youth Sebastián Patiño speaks on refusing to participate in war as a member of Conscientious Objectors’ Collective Action (ACOOC).
War and militarism impact youths’ lives, especially when they are convinced, forced, or obligated to be soldiers and fight at the front lines, in futile wars that that profit few.
Amidst obligatory military service and a four-decade armed conflict, Colombian youth are courageously resisting to be part of the war machine: An organized youth movement has emerged to exert their rights as conscientious objectors to war and not perpetuate Colombia’s cycle of violence. Sebastián Patiño is an active member of Conscientious Objectors’ Collective Action (ACOOC), a Bogotá-based group of young people promoting nonviolence and freedom of conscience.
He is coming to the United States to explore the common challenges that American youth and Colombians face and find ways to empower youth to support each other in resisting militarism through solidarity and creative action.
The Patiño speaking tour is organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the War and Peace in the Americas Working Group of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. FOR was founded by conscientious objectors to World War I in 1914, and today works with Colombian youth organizations like ACOOC that are working to break the country’s cycle of violence. The tour is part of the War and Peace Working Group and FOR’s efforts to create people-to-people ties between citizens of the United States and other nations working for peace.