Attending a Peace Alliance conference is one of the most wonderful and magical experiences one can have. To be in a space filled with hundreds of like-minded people working towards non-violence and a peaceful world is truly nourishing for the soul. To work together for peace and harmony on this planet only builds our own spiritual capitol. It is very exciting to learn from highly esteemed speakers, trainers and leaders, then go to the capitol to educate our legislators on our legislative priorities is a truly rewarding experience that is a lifelong highlight.
~ Jerliyn Stapleton, LA area, California
I was so surprised the first time I walked the corridors of our House and Senate. I had no idea we could get this close to our representatives until I was actually there.Their doors were open and everyone was welcoming and gracious. It was the first time I really understood the importance of my voice and a single vote, and that my efforts matter and make a difference!
At the conference I learned the ins and outs of lobbying, something I never understood or thought I would do. The whole experience was inspiring and educational on so many levels. I wish everyone could experience for themselves what happens at the heart of our nation’s capitol. See you all at the next conference!
~ Emily Wikman, California
We each remember those pivotal moments in life, the ones that stick with you forever. I can remember walking down the corridor of the Rayburn Building in DC, I was among a small group of Californians who had just met with our Representative for the first time. I was thrilled, humbled and in awe of our power to build rapport and inform the political process. The event was clearly a peak experience for me and one that shifted my identity.
I invite you to join us in Washington this fall to have your own special experience, to meet others who share common passions, walk the halls of Congress, learn more about our Five Cornerstones of peacebuilding from experts in each field. We can promise you a full, rich experience of citizen advocacy at its best!
~ Judy Addicott Kimmel, Mill Valley, California
The Peace Alliance national conferences provide inspiration, education, companionship – but perhaps most important, a direct line to participate in the democratic process. Having never been involved in politics, my uncertainty was set aside by the seminars, speakers and fellow advocates. Walking the halls of Congress, groups of 2, 3 or many more entering offices of our elected officials and sharing our feelings backed by solid information was empowering and humbling at the same time. The experience from the national conferences has taught me that each one of us actually can make a difference – and it is something I look forward to with great excitement each and every time.
~ Terry Mason, California
If you want to learn more about peacebuilding, meet like-minded individuals who are working to create a culture of peace and be energized by the possibilities of being the peace, the Peace Alliance conference is for you. I have attended several Peace Alliance conferences in the past and have been so inspired that, in non-conference years, I have gone back to Washington, DC to lobby on my own and with a few other peacebuilders.
~ Nancy Merritt, California
I live in a small town in New Mexico. It’s fairly good sized by New Mexico standards but small by national standards.
In February of 2007, I attended the National Peace Alliance conference in Washington D.C. I had only been to Washington one other time, when I was ten years old. I don’t remember much about that trip.
I remember every nuance of my ’07 visit. People that were there often used the word “Empowered.” There is no better word to describe the absolute liberating experience of that conference.
I knew how government was supposed to work but like most Americans I was pretty pessimistic about how it really worked. I never felt that contacting my elected representatives would do any good. They were rich and powerful Washington leaders, after all. Me, I’m… well, a regular working class citizen.
After three days at the conference I was confident enough to talk with my elected officials. Yes, I was empowered. Since then I have become on a first name basis with all of them. I even ran for state senate last year. The revelation of my power and responsibility as a citizen of America was the gift that the ’07 conference gave me. Thank you.
~ Christopher Aquino, New Mexico
When I thought about going to the 2007 national conference, my first question was “What will I get out of it?” It costs money, physical stress, and time to travel across the country; I wanted it to be worthwhile.
When I changed the question to “What do I have to bring to it?” my level of enthusiasm immediately made it possible to register and book my flight. I connected with my deepest passion for a peaceful, nonviolent world which comes from my life experience of its opposite. I visualized myself bringing my candle of hope to join with others in this magnificent bonfire, and bringing some of that fire home with me to share with others.
My experience exceeded my expectations. I was lifted out of my ordinary, plodding, problem-solving analysis into a visionary synthesis of where we stand as a unified body in service to humanity. Some of that vision began before I left home, when I received all the funds necessary to cover my expenses as the result of an e-mail appeal to my friends and relatives. I was not traveling for myself any more.
I shared a room with four other men, and we ate together, walked together into the halls of Congress, stayed up late at night talking together. I found a deepening and lasting bond of brotherhood that now spans half-way around the globe. Some of us will meet again in 2009, and the reunion will be like family.
The most exciting part of the 2007 conference for me was returning to the hotel after spending all day walking from Congressional office to office. I was feeling tremendously satisfied that our delegation had been heard with respect and that I was newly empowered as a participant in a nonviolent revolution without anger.
~ David Hazen, Oregon
I had been encouraged to attend the last national conference in 2007 by my State Coordinator. I baulked and resisted, not believing that I had a place or a role to serve in Washington , DC . Although I was committed as an educator to working toward Peace, I had no desire to get so close to politics!
The incredible line-up of speakers, with a depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the necessary consciousness shift (which underscored my interest in the campaign) won me over. I committed to attend.
Once in DC, I was struck by the privilege and duty to speak my truth. Attending the conference with so many like-minded citizens from across the states was inspiring in itself but the philosophy of the “leadership” of The Peace Alliance, along with the presenters, practiced so gracefully the art of “shared responsibility, shared leadership” that I felt an integral, important and equal participant. (The old notion of hierarchical power was absent, fully dispelling my personal feelings of Washington inadequacy.) We were honored, listened to, educated, inspired, rallied then impelled to go to the Capitol to speak our Peace. The excitement and inspiration of being a part of this organization has nurtured me since the last convention and beckons me to the next.
I realize that we must knock at the doors of the structure that is in place in order for them to eventually swing wide open to the change. I continue, as I have been encouraged by The Peace Alliance, to share this deep seated belief as only I can; as a simple, caring citizen, educator/artist from New Hampshire.
~ Jan Mercuri Grossman, New Hampshire
An overcrowded Jail lead me to attend the 2007 Peace Alliance conference in Washington, DC.
My community was/is faced with jail overcrowding and I was asked to sit on a commission to address the issue. What an education! Subsequently, I learned a platform of The Peace Alliance addresses the issue with sensible rationale and that was the button that prompted me to attend.
The leaders of the conference provided guidance for each state delegation in lobbying members of Congress and I had the opportunity to speak about reforming the Justice System with members of Congress from Idaho. What an exciting opportunity. The planning and organization of the conference was excellent and extremely effective, guiding each of us to have an opportunity to speak on the issues we were most concerned with.
I’m looking forward to the 2009 conference. You, I, We are the change we have been waiting for!
~ Shirley Thagard, Idaho