Empowering civic activism toward a culture of peace.
*Do you remember what your first response was when you heard about a Department of Peace?
*What inspired you about the idea and the legislation?
*Do your remember a speaker or event that was especially meaningful to you?
*How has your vision of what peace looks like changed?
*Is there a peacebuilder you would like to honor?
*What can you share about your personal development and accomplishments as a peacebuilder?
*What do you see as our most important accomplishments as an organization?
*What do you see as the next step for The Peace Alliance in creating a culture of peace?
Kendra Mon, CA 6th Congressional District Team Leader & Dept. of Peace committee member
I became very interested in the concept of a Department of Peace 10 years ago when I heard of it. I at the time even signed up to represent Nevada in that pursuit. I connected with Marrianne Williamson at that time online and gathered info and insight on this important matter for our world evolvement. Not getting very far on that endeavor at the time...I began having a monthly group of spiritually minded individuals who also held the hope of peace and we have continued to meet since that time and always ending with a World Peace Healing Meditation, blessing the leaders, the nations to awaken to the possibilities of peace and unity. I continue to advocate such possibility, posting on Facebook, sharing, my group gatherings, writings, my website: www.UniversalHeartConnection.com that I continue to support and put the intention of living in a 'common-unity' that supports peaceful interactions and support. As these 10 years have evolved I have new focus, desire & passion for creating peace in this world, I before was concerned for my grandchildren; NOW, my grandchildren are growing up and I still have their concern at heart now it has extended to include my MY GREAT Grandchildren and others. . . they are our future and we owe them the means to live in a healthy environment, emotionally, physically and spiritually (not religiously-I disapprove of many religious idealogy; I believe in freedom of choice and inclusiveness).
If I could honor someone for the promotion of Peace it would be my President, Barack Obama; and also, Oprah Winfrey who has given her life to promote healthy living and thinking which is the seed that breeds peace and creates that rippling effect throughout the world to begin the evolving consciousness.
I will continue to speak out for PEACE in whatever form it takes...personally, nationally and/or globally. Sometimes I wish I could speak from the mountain top so more would hear. . . we have a mission here to accomplish and work at day after day. It is the most important part of our life experience, and we ALL need to take responsibility to creating, manifesting healthy peaceful living in our world. As the song goes, "If its to be, its up to me. . . . "
Sparks, Nevada, USA
When I first heard about the idea, my response was "of course - - why didn't we think of that sooner?" Then I learned that many different people had thought of it and proposed it over the years. I love that the bill includes local peacebuilding as well as international and also treatment of animals.
There have been so many people who have inspired me at Peace Alliance events: Marianne Williamson, Dennis Kucinich, Vance Hartke, Lynn McMullen, Maggi Koren,. Dot Maver taught me about connection being more important than conversion. I so appreciate Miki Kastan who offered NVC conference training. Lynn taught me more than anyone about fundraising, speaking from the heart, remembering those who came before us, crafting elevator speeches, the importance of media involvement. And the many people who have stayed with this effort for so many years: Judy Kimmel, Nancy Merritt, and Matthew Albracht. I have watched us all grow in our abilities, understandings, and skills - - none more so than Matthew. Matthew, you appeared to prefer being out of the limelight and now you are such a confident and clear speaker and gentle leader. Thank you for putting yourself out there for us.
My vision of peace has changed so much. I continue to learn from calls, coevolutionaries, other peacebuilders, and the many wonderful speakers through the Shift Network - - thanks to Stephen Dinan and Devaa Haley! I've come to understand how important the inner work is and how we need to embody our principles in all our interactions. I now understand that this effort has to come from the inside out, bottom up, and top down all at the same time. And I'm so inspired by all the peacebuilders in our world, from the person who gets an idea and builds a team of passionate activists that change their part of the world to the person who works with joy in whatever the occupation and makes my day better just for having been around them to the person who meditates and prays for all of us and our planet.
My deep love and gratitude to each of you.
Kendra Mon, Petaluma, CA
Although I have lobbied for a Department of Peace in Washington D.C three times (2009, 2007 and 2005) and have also attended a regional Peace Alliance Conference, my involvement in helping to bring about a Department of Peace was, for the most part, periodic; until this year.
After having marched with the Department of Peace Banner at the Atlanta MLK JR. March in January, I sent out a Call Congress Action through Facebook, Meet-up and Yahoo Groups, etc. when H.R. 808 was re-introduced. Almost immediately, one recipient replied asking me to speak at an upcoming event entitled the Global Health and Humanitarian Summit.
I had never before spoken on a Department of Peace, and didn't think I was informed enough to do so; therefore, I searched for a speaker.
Three weeks later, I still had not found a speaker, and I was encourage to speak on H.R. 808. So, I accepted the challenge. The talk went well, and I developed a deeper understanding of why a Department of Peace is so necessary, as well as the ability to articulate that understanding.
I had not planned to take part in the pie campaign, but by May, did wish to visit district offices. My representative was already a co-sponsor, so I had planned to visit and say thank-you, and possibly visit a Senate office. But, on a Peace Alliance Conference call it was mentioned that visiting the offices of other representatives outside our district with no appointment would be fine, so I decided to visit the office of a past co-sponsor who had not signed back on in 2011
Myself and another Department of Peace supporter visited the past co-sponsors' office with a pie and an information packet, as well as our supporting reps. office with a pie (pie chart always on top of the box) and a thank-you card.
Both of our visits went well, but the past co-sponsor did not sign back on; so, I followed up with a phone call, and am still waiting.
A few weeks ago, I created a Department of Peace Facebook Group for my state, and planned an action at a July fourth concert aimed at bringing the past co-sponsor back on board. I created a flier specifically for that member of Congress, complete with his contact information. (Later, I created the same flyer specifically designed for another representative; now, all fliers will be rep. specific)
Around an hour and a half were lost due to rain, but I managed to hand out 184 fliers. But, was is so reasuring is the positive response that I received! People who took the flier did not do so passively, but in fact, very positively like "That's a great idea!". Also, I had five, lengthy and memorable conversations, which, to me, subtantiates that people are ready for a Department of Peace.
This Sunday, for Monday, I will schedule the anniversary events through the newly created group, and will continue to promote a Department of Peace at certain events. And, group members are encourage to visit their Congressonal district offices.
What I have learned this year is that if we are to have a Department of Peace, we, the people will need to bring it about. And, that now, more than ever, with the new war in Libya, and no alternatives having been offerred, etc., we need a Department of Peace; since a Department of Peace will 1. be headed by a Secretary of Peace who will offer to the president all non-violent options for resolving conflicts, both foriegn and domestic ( so that war is truly a last resort) 2. provide a much needed structure for the many peace programs already in existence in the government and in the private sector, (to minimixe duplicity and waste, and to maximize efficiency) and 3. provide a much needed shift in consciousness (we must, as a people, a government, etc., come to a point at which we declare that the past ways of dealing with conflict and interpreting violence, as well as peace have been ineffective and even harmful by producing the very violence that we wished to eliminate).
At this time I am more hopeful that we will have a Department of Peace than I have ever been before. I know that the question is not " Can it happen?", but, rather "How can we make it happen?". And, I remember the quote by Rep. John Conyers " Congress is a reactive body". But most of all, I know that we absolutely must have a shift in consciousness that the U. S. Department of Peace, as well as Departments of Peace and Ministries of Peace all over the world will bring, if humanity is to survive. Thus, I promote a Department of Peace!
Given the current make-up of the US Congress, the passage of the bill this session is somewhat unrealistic of course. But that does not matter; no true warrior for peace and justice ever let "realism" stop them. If that were the case, there would have been no abolitionist movement, suffragette movement or civil rights movement. When it comes to doing the right thing, it doesn't matter whether the status quo is with you yet. You just keep on keepin' on. We're building something in the ethers here; when the tipping point will get here, no one knows.
The idea of this bill getting out of committee this year is almost laughable, but so what? Let's not let laughter stop us -- let it propel us. Laughter is a powerful thing, as long as it's a laughter in anticipation of what you know in your heart is bound to become reality someday, rather than the cynical laughter laced with inner tears at the sight of what already is.
For her complete President's Day blog on the U.S. Department of Peace, go to:
Kendra Mon, CA 6th CDTL