Quarterly eNews Spring 2020
Welcome to our Quarterly eNews with updates from
The Peace Alliance’s Leadership Council!
Catch up on the updates in each of our Peacebuilding
Cornerstones and Advocacy efforts in 2020!
If you haven’t already, sign the Blueprint for Peace today!
It has not escaped our attention that this is an important election year. Please share this Blueprint with your elected officials and candidates, and let them know that you want them so support these policy priorities. Taking just this one action will notify your State and Federal elected officials. More than 8000 messages have been set to elected officials, so join in, add your voice and be heard!
Take a stand for Peace, and sign the Blueprint today!
Peace Alliance Hope Story Circles
Since March 21, we have been hosting a series of Hope Story Circles for our community. What began as a four week bridge to connect and guide us in the uncertain time has become an ongoing commitment to coming together to share what is real and unfolding for each of us in this moment as we tell the story of what is emerging for us, individually and collectively.
The circles take place on Saturday mornings at 9am Pacific Time. Facilitated by Terry Mason, Jelena Popovic and Liz Gannon Graydon, the circles begin with a brief meditation and a story to set the themes for the upcoming weeks. Participants then have time to reflect on the stories and the inquiry questions provided before joining breakout groups of three people to share and discuss their stories. When we return to the larger group we have time to share the small group reflection and a brief closing.
In the past few weeks our guest storytellers have included Sylvia Boorstein, Emily Wikman, James Baraz and Marc Lesser. Upcoming guests include Dot Maver and Heart Phoenix.
We hope you will be able to join us with your story of what is emerging for you in this moment that you would like to share with the wider community.
Shared by Jelena Popovic and Liz Gannon Graydon
Shelter in Peace
Be part of our Peace People Pics!
Promote Peace as you shelter in place. Flash a Peace Sign and send a pic to [email protected] – we’ll post it on Facebook and Instagram and you’ll be FAMOUS!! 🙂
That, and sending a positive message out to the world.
Peace On, Dear Ones!
Shared by Nancy Merritt and Patty LaTaille
When We All Vote
The Peace Alliance empowers civic action toward a culture of peace. Voting is a civic action and responsibility and it’s an action that’s never been more important. But the first step to voting is being registered to vote.
Some people face obstacles to registering. Some people don’t know how to register. Some people don’t think it’s important to register and vote.
We’d like to highlight an initiative that is aiming to change all of that: When We All Vote. Click here to Register to Vote, Pledge to Vote, and to Check your Registration Status now.
When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.
Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections.
In the months directly before the 2018 midterm elections, When We All Vote organized 2,500 local voter registration events across the country, engaged 200 million Americans online about the significance of voting, and texted nearly four million voters the resources to register and get out to vote.
The When We All Vote site has lots of resources and ways to take action through education, advocacy and mobilization . . . the three main tools of The Peace Alliance. Take a look at their site and see how to get involved. The time is now.
Shared by Lynn Lannon and the Board of Directors
We Are the Ancestors, This is The Hour
CA 2020 DoP Retreat
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. – Hopi Elders
The California Department of Peacebuilding group came together for our 13th annual “Sages In-Training” leadership retreat in Petaluma, CA from February 8-9, 2020. The retreat theme was “We Are the Ancestors: Visioning the World We Are Building.” We started with a message from the Hopi nation, listened, interwove the wisdom of trees and added to the web of connection the wisdom from our human family. The knowledge that we are One.
Part of the Hopi message, We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For, is “You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour … Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. This could be a good time! … All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
To read more about the retreat and the shared wisdom from the Hopi Elders, tree wisdom, Wangari Maathai wisdom and our group wisdom, see We Are the Ancestors, This is The Hour – CA 2020 DoP Retreat.
Shared by Nancy Merritt
Campaign for a Department of Peacebuilding
Monthly Calls and Actions
I am proud of the content and connecting opportunity we provide with our monthly calls and actions, and the presence and participation of our field (that’s you and folks like you!!) is a big part of what makes them so special. The monthly calls are the second Tuesday of every month, at 6pm PT / 9pm ET and all times in between and beyond. Podcast recordings of all calls (described below) can be found here. Our current legislative slate can be found here.
With the state of the world these days, our capacity to nurture internal peacefulness, peace in our more immediate relationships, and peace “out there in the world” is perhaps being uniquely challenged, and potentially inspired to strengthen and grow. The Peace Alliance has, per usual, endeavored to be a source of solidarity, information, and inspiration to fruitful action during this highly unusual period in politics and human relations.
Toward that end, our recent monthly calls and actions have consisted of the following:
On January’s call our special guest was Jhody Polk, a rising star in supporting the “moral arc of the universe” to bend toward justice. Jhody’s systems-level and up-close restorative work with incarcerated individuals and their families, as well as communities impacted by poverty and racial oppression, brings her powerful wisdom into action at the intersection of peace and justice.
In February we received expert guidance on our individual and collective peacebuilding journeys from our very own Board Chair, Terry Mason. Terry led us in visioning, sharing, and manifesting our highest goals for the world and for ourselves. Some of our focus was on our Blueprint for Peace – a powerful organizing and awareness-building tool that has been steadily producing hefty advocacy results.
And in March we took a deep dive into the restorative justice movement among First Nations in Canada, and were informed and inspired by attorney Leslie De Meulles – who is an active consultant to several of these tribes in their leading-edge cultural-political evolution.
And just recently, for our April call, our special guest was Kit Miller, Director of the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. This was a powerful look at nonviolence, racial justice, and movement-building in the era of Corona Virus.
Shared by Dan Kahn, National Field Coordinator
Colorado Prisoners Sewing Masks
As one of the esteemed Peace Alliance’s monthly Action Call speakers, Senator Pete Lee (D-CO) continues to be a powerful voice for those enmeshed in the United States penal system. With a strong focus and consistent action towards humanizing the justice system, he shares his thoughts through a FaceBook post on inmate contribution and compassion during the pandemic crisis; “Despite being paid wages that are barely worthy of the title, incarcerated individuals are helping to protect their fellows and the DOC staff. Those behind bars are no less capable of empathy or productivity than we are, and I am as proud as I am unsurprised that so many have essentially volunteered to help.”
Curious as to the extent of the prisoner participation in curbing the COVID 19 crisis, I went exploring.
According to The Denver Post, “For less than a dollar an hour, Colorado prisoners are sewing more than 4,500 masks a day for Department of Corrections staff and inmates. Inmates working through Colorado Correctional Industries started making the masks in late March, about a week before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the use of masks in everyday life. By April 15, prisoners had produced 14,297 masks for corrections staff and 19,107 masks for inmates, according to the department.”
Interesting. Social media can be an instrument of peace promotion, even if the situation is unjust, as it can illuminate a pathway to a more informed and conscious world that may lead to positive change. Each story shared may elicit understanding and empathy for the human condition that is shared by us all, for those who are free, and those who are incarcerated. I believe that these humanizing approaches serve to remind us that we are all in this together – more cooperation and compassion can create peace.
Shared by Patty LaTaille, Humanizing Justice Systems Lead
SNV 2020 – Peace & Nonviolence As The New Normal
On April 4,2020, Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We believe nonviolence should be our new normal.”
Throughout Season for Nonviolence (SNV) 2020, Department of Peacebuilding supporters celebrated nonviolence as we also contacted members of Congress seeking their co-sponsorship of legislation to create a cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding (DoP/ HR 1111). SNV is the beginning of our annual cycle of actions to promote peacebuilding and to create a Department of Peacebuilding. While SNV is officially the 64-day period between the commemorative dates of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King (1/30 – 4/4), as one DoP advocate said, “Celebrating a season is not enough.” We urge all to continue contacting Congress about cosponsoring DoP legislation beyond SNV.
We honored the lives of nonviolence practitioners and their messages, including:
- Dr. Martin Luther King – Getting to the Mountaintop & A Dream for Our Children
- Congressman John Lewis – Building a Nation at Peace with Itself
- Eleanor Roosevelt – Working for Peace
- Mahatma Gandhi – Your Life Is Your Message
SNV advocates contacted members of Congress, a list of ‘20 Members of Congress for 2020’ (SNV 20 for 2020) and approximately 80 Congress Members in total. This included a few hundred emails and phone calls.
“No matter what is going on, never give up, develop the heart … Be compassionate not just to your friends, but to everyone …. Work for peace in your heart and in the world. Work for peace. And I say again never give up no matter what is happening. No matter what is going on around you, never give up,” said the Dalai Lama.
Read more messages of nonviolence at SNV 2020 – Peace & Nonviolence as the New Normal.
Shared by Nancy Merritt
A Message of Hope
We are living in uncertain times, in uncharted waters and experiencing life in new ways that we could never have imagined. Many of us have friends or family members who have become ill, or we have lost to Covid-19. Even more of us have friends or family members who are working in our hospitals, or grocery stores, or other essential services during this fragile time. For those of us who live alone, we haven’t experienced physical contact in many weeks — and we humans treasure our hugs with those we care about, and this kind of isolation is especially difficult.
As a society, we have turned to alternative means to connect, and to conduct business as unusual in whatever ways that we can. Personally, I had a birthday last week and invited many in the various chapters of my life spanning over time to join me in a virtual party online — and it was delightful, in its own way. I couldn’t have ever gathered that particular group of people together physically, as there is such geographic distance. There was joy in seeing the faces of those that I feel close to, and delight to see them raise a glass to celebrate my birthday — a very un-classic BYOB party.
We will move beyond this moment. I’ve heard it referred to as a re-set, a time to pause, reflect, and find new ways to be, to interact, and find lessons to learn. I find peace in that framing, and believe that we will move forward with new awareness and new wisdom on many levels. As each day brings new hope and new experience, I wish you love even in unexpected ways, gentleness to ourselves and to others, and peace in this time. May we all be kind to one another, move through it together, and come out of it stronger beyond our imaginings.
Shared by Terry Mason on behalf of the Peace Alliance
About the Peace Alliance
The Peace Alliance empowers civic action toward a culture of peace.
Who We Are:
We are an alliance of organizers and advocates taking the work of
peacebuilding from the margins of society into the
center of national discourse and policy priorities.
We champion a comprehensive, collaborative approach
to peace and peacebuilding.