On Diane Nash and Agapic Energy

From University of Tennessee-Martin’s The Pacer, February 27, 2013

Inevitably, Nash felt that she had to help bring about change. She had talked around and learned of the fight of Gandhi, “Hold onto Truth.” He waged war against his enemies without violence; rather, he and his followers utilized energy produced by love to bring about social change.

Consequentially, Nash derived her own term, “Agapic Energy,” from the Latin word “agape,”meaning, “love for humankind.” She explained that “Agapic Energy” refers to energy or power produced by love of humankind, and such was essentially the driving force behind her fight for equality.

There were two principles of Agapic Energy that she wanted the audience to understand, the first one being, “people are never the enemy.” She suggested that the enemy was not the people but rather racism and social inequality themselves were the enemies.

“If you can accept that, then you can love and respect [them] at the same time you attack the action,” Nash said.

She then wanted the audience to understand the second principle: “Oppression always requires the cooperation of the oppressed. … The day black people decided there would be no more segregated buses in Montgomery, there were no more segregated buses in Montgomery.”

Nash’s experience with the Civil Rights struggle allowed her to also give the audience a clear vision of the six steps involved in bringing about social change by way of utilizing Agapic Energy: investigation, education, negotiation, demonstration, resistance and, finally, taking steps to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.