Quarterly eNews Summer 2021

Welcome to our Quarterly eNews with updates from
The Peace Alliance!
 
 
Upcoming Events
  • 2nd and 4th Saturday Hope Story Circles 9:00am PT / 12 noon ET and all times between and beyond
  • Second Tuesday, National Action Call, 6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET
  • Third Wednesday, Department of Peacebuilding call, 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET
 
Check the Calendar of Events on the website for connection information for everything!
 
 
 
Message from our Managing Director
 
Re-Imagining in pursuit of Peace!
 
Welcome to our quarterly eNewsletter!
 
I have been reflecting a lot on the concept of re-imagining. We find ourselves in a moment of shift where manifesting how we want our society to behave, with regard to systems that support and defend those among us who need the most help, is within our grasp. How can we re-imagine this “New normal”??

 
At the Peace Alliance, we are having these deep conversations about how justice for everyone, especially Black, Brown, and Indiginous people, will transform this country into a space where peace can be felt by all. We must have the courage to admit when systems are not working, and the wisdom to include voices from all intersections of society as we re-imagine how this new space will come into being. 
 
Just a short time ago, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the first US Department of Peace bill, introduced on July 11, 2001. While some may be frustrated by how long evolution can take, we are feeling a deep sense of renewed vigor because we know that a cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding will be the infrastructure we need to take the energy of this moment for re-birth and expand it into a functional system where all new policies around equity, balance, and repair can flourish. 
 
Won’t you partner with me on this journey? Please check out all that we are doing at The Peace Alliance, reflected in this eNewsletter and go to peacealliance.org to explore how you can be a part of this movement for re-imagining. 
 
It’s going to take all of us… Peace
 
Dee Tate
Managing Director
 
 
Department of Peacebuilding 20th Anniversary:
Commemorate and Advocate Forward!
 
This year is the 20th Anniversary of Department of Peace (DoP) legislation in Congress.  On July 11, 2001, then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D,OH) introduced the first modern-era DoP bill which he sponsored in every Congress through 2011.  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D,CA) has introduced Department of Peacebuilding legislation in every Congress since 2013.  The DoP Campaign has been a part of this historic effort.  
 

Commemorating
We highlighted the DoP and peacebuilding with a series of calls/events:
  • July 10, 2021 – Peace Alliance Hope Story:  Focusing on the DoP Campaign
  • July 11, 2021 – “Department of Peacebuilding – Federal & Local” commemoration with Dennis Kucinich, Peace Alliance founders and current DoP Campaign advocates.  Dennis is a candidate for the mayor of Cleveland on the platform of creating a Civic Peace Department. 
  • July 21, 2021 – DoP Campaign Call on “Working for Peace To End Times of War” with Louis Ensel from the Biosophical Institute (BI) discussing its advocacy for a Secretary of Peace in 1930 – 1960 and more.
 
Advocating Forward
September is a month of peace and celebration of International Day of Peace (Sept. 21).  It is also the month when we AMPLIFY our advocacy with members of Congress to promote DoP legislation (HR 1111).
 
  • Advocacy Days Series:  Reimagining a Department of Peacebuilding. SAVE THE DATES for Wednesday evening inspirational panel discussions (1st  four Wednesdays in September).
  • Virtual Congressional Meetings.  Help us set up meetings with members of Congress or their staffers to take place in late September.  Start the process of scheduling virtual meetings now or in August/ early September.  Please email [email protected] if you plan to contact your representative (or another member of Congress) so we can track potential and confirmed meetings and invite participants.  This is fun and empowering – and other DoP advocates will be right there with you to plan and attend these Zoom meetings.
 
“Peace is made of peace.” – Thich Naht Hahn
 
Nancy Merritt
Department of Peacebuilding Lead
 
 
 
 
Reimagining Justice
 
re·im·ag·ine
/ˌrēiˈmajən/
 
verb
reimagine : reinterpret (an event, work of art, etc.) imaginatively; rethink
 
 
In Googling “reimagining the criminal justice system”, I came away encouraged and excited to share initiatives in the US currently addressing much-needed social and criminal justice reform.

 
 
“Today, there is widespread, bipartisan recognition that current incarceration levels are too high. And with high recidivism rates, few people agree that our criminal justice system is effective. But the growing momentum to reduce the number of people behind bars also provides a parallel—and as yet underutilized—opportunity to reexamine the purpose and goals of incarceration, and the values that underlie its use.
  • Reimagining Prison, an 18-month initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice, represents this critical next step in the national conversation on criminal justice reform, so that when we use incarceration, it delivers better results for society. 
  • Reimagining Prison enlists justice system stakeholders, those who run our prisons and jails, people who have been incarcerated, victims, policymakers, and the general public in this conversation. It highlights promising practices, institutions, and systems—including international examples that have very different approaches to incarceration, with safer and more humane outcomes.”
 
 
“The roots of mass incarceration in the United States lie in policies and practices that result in jail for millions of individuals charged with but not convicted of any crime and lengthy jail or prison sentences for those who are convicted. These policies and practices are the results of 50 years of efforts at criminal justice reform in response to the “War on Crime” and the “War on Drugs” that began in the 1970s—intended to improve public safety, curb drug abuse, and address perceived inequities in the justice system, these reforms also had unintended consequences that exacerbated disparities.
 
As the United States grapples with yet another iteration of calls for social and racial justice following multiple deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, the time is ripe to develop and implement deep structural reforms that will increase fairness and ensure proportionate punishment without sacrificing public safety.”  
 
 
Square One is considering the fundamental issues of justice: poverty and racial inequality, violence and safety, criminalization and punishment, and a reexamination of traditional responses to crime. By looking in new places for more effective responses, we ask the question: if we could start at “square one,” how would justice policy be different?
 
It’s time to consider a fundamental reevaluation of justice policy and practice in this country.
Let’s reimagine how we create justice for all – especially in neighborhoods that suffer from injustice and that deserve public safety that works. The good news? The left, the right, and everyone in between agree we need this to happen – and now is the time.
 
 
 
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals impacted by the justice system faced nearly insurmountable barriers to accessing quality employment, education, physical and mental health supports, and more. As the nation responds to the public health crisis, it is more important than ever to advance economic justice for them and their communities. Without targeted actions, these barriers will only further preclude those impacted by the criminal justice system from accessing opportunity.
 
“In 2019, CLASP convened over 60 national, state, and local advocates, public systems leaders, policymakers, youth and young adults and other partners from a wide range of disciplines. These stakeholders bridged economic and criminal justice reform with an intentional focus on those who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system.”
 
Patty LaTaille
Humanizing the Justice Systems Lead
 
 
Another World is Possible 
 
“Transformed realities require transformed imaginations.” –Walter Brueggemann
 
Believing you cannot change a current circumstance, be it personal or political, engenders hopelessness. Think of something you believe will not change and imagine the change you want to see. Most of us imagine something we think is possible. Reimagine what you imagined. Reach further into your imagination and pull forth a grand impossible vision. 

 
We are attracted to dreams that hold expansive visions because we want to spend our precious time, not on something small, but on a grand idea. Malala Yousafzai has a mission that imagines all women and children educated, not just those in her village or her country. She wants to educate the world. Would you be as inspired if her vision was less magnificent?
 
Greta Thunberg challenges world leaders to take immediate action to mitigate climate change. Since age 15, she raised awareness with decision makers. She believes and intends to succeed. Would you be as moved if her vision was not as courageous and bold?
 
In the children’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, the tortoise believed he could win the race against the hare. Do you remember how the hare ridiculed the tortoise for thinking he could win? Have you been ridiculed for believing in something others think will never happen? The moral of this tale is slow and steady wins the race. No matter how much ridicule may come your way, keep moving forward. For example, we just celebrated 20 years of holding the vision for a cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this will never happen. I remind myself, slow and steady wins the race.
 
The Peace Alliance has a vision as expansive and inspirational as Malala’s and Greta’s. We want to eliminate violence in our families, our communities, our country, and the world. We want generosity, empathy, compassion and interdependence to guide us. We want to deconstruct social constructs such as racism, sexism, genderism etc. We want an end to the most egregious form of violence – war. 
 
We are deeply connected to each other. If we truly held beloved every human being, every animal, every plant and tree, every stream, river and ocean –  the world would not allow violence in any form to continue.
 
It feels like a tangled mess of a puzzle. A billion pieces with no straight edges. But each of us has a piece of the puzzle. We can do this. I’ve decided I can’t work on everything, but I can do my part. I can devote myself to what inspires me and calls forth my highest self. 
 
Devotion requires love,  loyalty, courage and enthusiasm. Choose your community and devote yourself. Choose visions as grand as Malala’s and Greta’s. If you are reading this, I hope it is because you have chosen us, and are devoting yourself to the world we are reimagining. To quote Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
 
Kathy L. Kidd 
National Field Coordinator
 
 
 
 
IMAGINE.  THEN RE-IMAGINE.
Twenty years ago, Representative (D,OH) Dennis Kucinich introduced a transformative bill to create a Department of Peace(building) in the United States government to cultivate a culture of peace.
 

We began the journey of imagining… imagining a world where our children would study war only as a relic of the past.  Imagining a world where people do not harm each other or the Earth.  Imagining a world where all are cherished and thrive.  
 
The Department of Peacebuilding was — and is — a framework to make such a world our reality.  We continue to learn about listening, hearing, seeing, mindfulness, restorative practices, forgiveness, healing, connecting and being.  That we are One.
 
“Imagine the stories we will tell, the institutions we will build, and the lives we will lead when we affirm that every person is a person.  Imagine the world we will birth when we see no stranger.” – Valarie Kaur
 
Then re-imagine.  And create that world.
 
Nancy Merritt
Department of Peacebuilding Lead
 
 

About The Peace Alliance

Mission:

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.

www.peacealliance.org

 
 
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