Teaching Peace

Spring 2019 Quarterly eNews

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!
Spring is in the air!
Upcoming Events:  
  • April 28, 2019The Redemption Project with Van Jones premieres on CNN, 9pm ET / PT.
  • May 8 – 14, 2019Mother’s Day Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie Action! Visit the offices of your Congressperson and Senators, and deliver a pie with a sliver removed, representing the small piece of the budgetary pie that we recommend be dedicated for Peace, to save money and lives!
  • May 14, 2019, Second Tuesday of every month – National Monthly interactive call, Guest Speaker Lynn Lee of National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). Register here!
  • Second Monday of every month – California Department of Peacebuilding call. Join monthly CA Dept. of Peacebuilding calls at 7:30 pm PT, call 1-712-775-7031, code 719-062-520#.  All are welcome!
  • Third Wednesday of every month – National Department of Peacebuilding call. Join monthly Department of Peacebuilding Campaign calls at 5 pm PT, 1-929-436-2866, meeting ID 464 735 321. All are welcome!

Teaching Peace In Schools – Peace is Possible!

The Peace Alliance Teaching Peace in Schools cornerstone has been involved in exciting collaborations, advocacy, and has participated in numerous events since the beginning of the year.

In February, The Peace Alliance was an affiliate partner for the online international Mindful Kids Peace Summit. The idea for this summit came from a 14 year old student, Adam Avin, who was concerned about the violence in the world, and he wanted to help kids learn to live in health and wellness, and peace and positivity, so that they can grow up to live healthier and happier lives. The Summit is the first of its kind geared to tweens and teens and their teachers and parents. It gathered over 50 leaders from the field of peacebuilding, mindfulness, nonviolent communication, and social-emotional learning sharing different techniques in how to navigate through and process emotions and stress. Adam shared his vision, learnings from the summit and future directions at our National Monthly call in April. To learn more about the summit, access the recordings and resources please go to mindfulkidspeacesummit.com

In March, we joined with Races for Peace and participated in their incredible educational Peace is Possible workshop with students attending Saturday school program in Montgomery County, Maryland. Peace is Possible workshops are unique K-8 literacy peacebuilding workshops where students participate in peacebuilding activities through fun group learning, age-appropriate breakout sessions, critical thinking activities, peace crafts and are challenged to engage in compassionate action within their community. If you are interested in supporting their work, they are currently seeking partners to help spread the word, provide information, and/or take a more active role in planning and executing this initiative. 

We are looking forward to continue supporting, collaborating and participating in your peacebuilding work in schools. If you or someone you know practices and teaches peacebuilding in schools and would like to share it with us to inspire others please contact [email protected]

Much peace and joy!

Shared by Jelena Popovic
Teaching Peace in Schools Lead


Sages Through the Ages
CA DOP 2019 Retreat: Peacebuilding is in our DNA

The CA Department of Peacebuilding (DoP) Council of Sages (In-Training) gathered for its 12th annual retreat on February 9-10, 2019 in Petaluma, CA as a supportive community to explore and reflect on The Real Story: Peacebuilding Is in Our DNA.”

At a CA DoP retreat a few years ago, we came across a quote from Thich Naht Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk: “America is suffering greatly. The destiny of a nation is too great to leave to politicians alone. We need people who can listen with their whole heart, who can listen as a human being and not just as a politician … I propose that the people of the United States form a Council of Sages who can listen deeply to people who feel they are victims of discrimination, exploitation, and social injustice.”

Since then, we have thought of ourselves as a Council of Sages (In Training).

The retreat was about nurturing our beloved community, knowing that peacebuilding is in our DNA and creating circles of sharing. “As we went around the circle for the many rounds of sharing, we had a common heart beat and it seemed that we were like family,” said Stephanie Thomas.

We built an altar in the center, starting with the earth and sky center pieces, the four direction ribbons of red/ yellow/ black/ white, milkweed plants, and butterflies. Radiating from that were our DNA strands designating groups with whom we each have an affinity, individual altar items, a blue circle of names calling in those who could not be there physically, then ourselves.

We told our individual and collective stories through music, art, narrative, laughter, reflection, connection, good food, watching the “Singing Revolution” movie, and sometimes pulling from our “basket of wisdom” inspirational quotes. Laurie Marshall guided us in creating a “Singing Tree” mural. We talked about the Department of Peacebuilding, political strategies and future goals.

We sowed seeds of peacebuilding and, as Maggi Koren said, we left feeling “our circle is truly a sacred space amid the turmoil of our times.”

For more details, see Sages Through the Ages – CA DoP 2019 Retreat:Peacebuilding in Our DNA

Shared by Nancy Merritt
Department of Peacebuilding Lead


VAWA passes the House with Bipartisan Support
Now on to the Senate!

We sincerely want to thank all of you who called, emailed or otherwise contacted their Representative to support HR 1585 the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 Sponsor: Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37]  and (Introduced 03/07/2019) Cosponsors: (167).  The vote was 263 to 158 with 33 brave Republicans in support and one Democrat, Tim Peterson from Minnesota, that voted no. You can find out how your Representative voted HERE 

According to NOW (National Organization for Women)If your Representative voted AGAINST H.R.1585, they might say, “I voted to reauthorize VAWA.” That isn’t actually true. Despite knowing that simply extending current grant programs for a year without vital changes that survivors need, they voted for was a procedural maneuver (the “motion to recommit”) to reauthorize 22 out of 29 grant programs for a year. They left out seven programs, including Rape Prevention and Education and transitional housing assistance. Let them know that you are savvy, and you know the difference between H.R.1585 and the motion to recommit!

Check out the Myths and Facts on House Views, below.

H.R.1585 is not a partisan bill

Myth: Opponents of H.R.1585 inaccurately claim it is a partisan goody bag.

Fact: We have worked on a bipartisan basis for two-and-a-half years to develop a strong yet modest reauthorization that meets the needs of victims and survivors.


A straight reauthorization is not acceptable/we do not need more time

Myth: People who oppose H.R.1585 claim that we need a short-term extension of the current law to provide more time to work on reauthorizing it.

Fact: We have been working with Congress on VAWA reauthorization for two-and-a-half years. We do not need more time, and we cannot afford to maintain the status quo. Thousands of people experience sexual and domestic violence daily – they cannot wait!


Funding for the Violence Against Women Act

Myth: Opponents of H.R.1585 falsely claim that VAWA is not currently being funded.

Fact: VAWA is funded at record levels for the remainder of the fiscal year (until midnight September 30) We fully expect it to be funded for the upcoming fiscal year, too.


Myth: Opponents complain that new provisions will curtail or dilute VAWA’s resources.

Fact:  H.R. 1585 responds to survivors’ desire for accountability based in their communities  beyond the criminal justice system, including community based responses. Congress has recognized the need to fund a comprehensive response to domestic and sexual violence, and we trust that will continue.


Closing the boyfriend and stalking loopholes

H.R.1585 prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor dating violence or stalking, people subject to dating violence protective orders, and people subject to temporary protective orders from having guns.

Myth: The NRA falsely claims H.R.1585 is an unprecedented expansion of gun laws. They claim misdemeanor convictions have never prohibited someone from having a gun.

Fact: For a quarter century, federal law has prohibited people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from having guns. H.R.1585 just updates the law to include dating abusers and stalkers.


Myth: The gun lobby falsely claims that H.R.1585 dating violence and stalking are “vague” terms. They further claim someone could lose their gun access after going on one bad date or for sending too many text messages.

Fact: H.R.1585 clearly defines dating violence and stalking. Plus, for dating misdemeanors, the perpetrator has to use physical force or threaten the victim with a deadly weapon. Annoying text messages do not count.


Myth: Opponents of H.R.1585 falsely claim it violates the due process rights of the person who is losing their gun access.

Fact: Robust due process protections are built into both H.R.1585 and current law, and courts are involved every step of the way. The phrases ‘due process,’ ‘notice,’ and ‘opportunity to be heard,’ actually appears in the bill language (Title VIII, paragraph (2)(A))!


Myth: Confused people believe H.R.1585 contains “red flag laws.”

Fact: “Red flag laws” (extreme risk protection orders – ERPOs) are different from laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers. ERPOs cover people experiencing crises that make it temporarily inadvisable for them to have firearms, not adjudicated abusers and stalkers.


Preserving existing nondiscrimination protections for all survivors

VAWA-funded programs serve all survivors of sexual and domestic violence and stalking, regardless of gender or gender identity.

Myth: There is a common misunderstanding that the Violence Against Women Act only funds services and programs for “women” and is not intended to serve all survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking.

Fact: VAWA has always been gender neutral. Since 2013, VAWA has explicitly protected all survivors’ ability to find the support they need by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. While women, including transgender women, are disproportionately impacted by this violence, people of all gender identities experience violence and deserve access to life-saving services.

Myth: Anti-transgender activists are attempting to use fear by saying that transgender people make other survivors unsafe in domestic and sexual violence services in order to prevent transgender people from having the same protections as everyone else.

Fact: There is clear evidence that increasing access for transgender survivors does not decrease safety for other survivors. In 2016 over 300 domestic violence and sexual violence organizations across the country signed a National Consensus Statement. In 2017, more than 60 chiefs of police, sheriffs, and law enforcement officers authored a brief in federal court  supporting equal access for transgender students to public facilities. These leaders agree: transgender women victims being served alongside other women is appropriate and not a safety issue.


Voting for the motion to recommit is not voting for VAWA reauthorization

Myth: Representatives who voted against H.R.1585 are justifying their vote by saying they voted for the motion to recommit.

Fact:That is just an excuse to avoid looking bad. The motion to recommit would have reauthorized 22 of 29 VAWA grant programs (leaving out important programs such as Rape Prevention and Education) without making any of the vital improvements victims and survivors need.


Start contacting your Senators to champion, cosponsor and support VAWA in the Senate.  We will send more specific information on the Senate bill as it becomes available.

In Gratitude,

Shared by Jerilyn Stapleton
Legislative Lead  


March – Women’s History Month

The theme in March was Women’s History Month, and Mrs. Marilyn Turkovich, the Executive Director, Charter for Compassion sets for us a beautiful stage of compassion, wisdom, and leadership. The Founder Dr. Karen Armstrong, is an internationally acclaimed scholar and bestselling author of numerous books on religion.  She won the 2008 TED Prize launching The Charter for Compassion, which has over two million signatories.  She discussed her insights on compassion, the Golden Rule, nationalism, materialism, cosmopolitan ethic, religious literacy, the future of religion, perceptions of religious people, religious institutions, personal search, and her vision for the future. 

The Golden Rule Day was April 5, reminding all of us to Treat Others and the Planet as We Wish to be Treated.

Shared by Ngozi Rasheda Akosia
Cultivating Personal Peace Lead


Paws 4 Peace: Enhancing Restorative Practices with Therapy Dogs

Bringing people together in a Restorative Justice (RJ) Circle means bringing someone who has created harm together with the victim of his/her offense, in addition to family members and community members. The Circle can be a very powerful and healing space, but it also can initially be a very uncomfortable and difficult space to be a part of.  

Imagine sitting in a circle, face to face, with the person who has harmed you.  

Or, maybe, you are the individual who has harmed someone else.

Would you both feel nervous, anxious, sad, and upset?  

As RJ facilitators, we have seen all of these emotions and many more.  It is part of our job to create a safe and supportive environment for all.  

The use of Therapy Dogs in RJ is beautiful!  

Research has shown the therapeutic value of pets for those who have experienced difficulties and trauma in their lives.  It is our hope and wish that Restorative Justice Practitioners around the globe will understand and consider the therapeutic value of utilizing therapy dogs in their restorative practices.  It is an opportunity to provide another level of healing and care for those we work with.  

“Paws 4 Peace – Enhancing Restorative Practices with Therapy Dogs” is the handbook to help make this happen!

A special “thanks” to Patty LaTaille for all of the work and outreach she has done in bringing therapy dogs into restorative practices.

With much appreciation, 

Colorado Senator Pete Lee and 
Restorative Justice Practitioner, Trainer and RJ CO State Council member Lynn Lee”

Full Circle Restorative Justice in Salida, Colorado offers the opportunity find out more about its unique program and the pioneering approach to the inter-collaboration of the Human – Animal species to build peace in our world – 1 pup at a time! 

Quotes from Paws 4 Peace RJ Circle participants:

“I think that the way the restorative justice people [did] was good and the dogs helped.” Offender

“A great opportunity for juvenile/underage victim/offender. I was happy to have the “community members” and therapy dog as a part of the process.”  Parent

“Dogs are really important. If the dog hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have worked as well.” Victim 

“Overall a great & meaningful process. I was very thankful for Kharmie the therapy dog. She brought a calming aspect to the circle & always brought a smile to the circle. Having a dog at circle seems to be a huge benefit to all.
Encouraging empathy as well.” Community Member

Shared by Patty LaTaille
Humanizing The Justice System Lead 


Promoting Peace with Interactive Podcasts and Actions

We had some powerful National Feld Calls and National Actions in the past few months – recordings of calls and Action Sheets can be viewed/heard/downloaded here.

December’s special guest was Alachua (Florida) County Commissioner Robert Karl Hutchinson, and the topic was Truth and Reconciliation – toward healing America’s wounds around racial violence (specifically slavery and lynching).  The action was to write and submit an OpEd piece to promote this healing work.

January’s special guest was Kit Miller of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.  The Monthly Action was twofold:  Share your story with the Nonviolence Now project, and promote the creation of a US Department of Peacebuilding.

In February our guest was Sam Daley Harris – author of Reclaiming Our Democracy; Healing the Break Between People and Government.   Our Action was to connect with our Members of Congress in support of HR 1111 – for creation of a US Department of Peacebuilding.

In March we were joined by Marylin Turkovitch, of the Charter for Compassion – and our monthly action was to both sign on to the Charter, and to explore the possibility of connecting with, or founding, a local Compassionate City initiative.

In April, our special guests are 15 year old Adam Avin and his mother Marni Becker-Avin.  Both are highly effective pioneers in spreading curricula of mindfulness among educators and students worldwide.

Thanks for joining us on this peacebuilding journey!

Shared by Dan Kahn
National Field Coordinator 


If you’re a Peace Partner – thank you! Regular monthly contributions are our sustaining funding source, making our work possible. Consider becoming a Peace Partner today– or ask a friend to join you!
Visit our webstore for Peace swag, including our new Make America Kind Again hat! Kindness is a value we treasure in our work for building a peaceful world. Share it, wear it, and be kind!
We’re looking forward to more, with your help, to continue to do the work of peacebuilding, and to engage our new Congress to heighten their awareness of the importance of policies to reduce violence, save money and lives, and increase peace in our communities and our world.

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 thecenter of national discourse and policy priorities.

We champion a comprehensive, collaborative approach to peace and peacebuilding.

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