Empowering civic activism toward a culture of peace.

Mother's Standing for Peace! Mother's Day Proclamation

In the 1800's, Julia Ward Howe, original advocate for “Mother’s Day” and writer of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” nursed and tended the wounded during the civil war. She worked with the widows and orphans of soldiers on both sides of the war, and realized that the effects of the war go beyond the killing of soldiers in battle.  The devastation she witnessed called her to "rise up through the ashes and devastation" calling out for a day dedicated to peace: Mother's Day.  In her various social capacities Julia tirelessly worked for justice throughout her life. (Read more about the life of Julia Ward Howe and her work around Mother's Day here.)


"Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and
commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."

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What brought you to care about the cause of peace?  

What stirred the Mother or Grandmother in you to work for the great cause of peace? (Whether male or female, parent or not, the spirit of nurturing in you).  Was it a personal experience with violence?  Witnessing devastation?  Seeing so many children hurt on the news?  Whatever the impetus, please share your personal story below about what drew your interest/passion to this cause.*

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10 years ago all of the outer things in my life seemed "perfect" from the world's perspective. Inside I felt a deep gnawing and sense of unrest that brewed self-hatred. I had been on an active quest for "peace" for several years and while the outer was all good, this gnawing inside just wouldn't go away. I began to meditate regularly and soon after was introduced to the "peace" I was looking for. With each meditation, the experience grew and grew and I got to see all of the not-so-perfect things that lay deeply embedded in what had appeared so together. One by one, I let them go and the experience of peace became more and more sustaining. I now teach others this practice of meditation and going within as an ordained priest. I also serve as the Tour Director of the Colorado Peace Ride (, a 4 day bike tour along the San Juan Skyway that brings peace-conscious individuals together in support of non-profit workers who are on the front lines for peace everyday in profound and mundane ways. I am a mother of a 2 year old and I know that she is watching, listening, learning and I thank God for the peace I am able to invite her into.
My heart was stirred from my earliest memories as a child, sitting on my dad's lap as he read me stories.
I would ask him, "Please Daddy tell me stories of when you were in the army?" There were handsome, loving pictures around the house of him in his uniform and my mom and him in his uniform. It all looked so romantic and heroic to a 3 year old. But he would look sadly at me at my request for a "story" and say, "No little one, war is hell." I will never forget the look on my dad's face the few times I asked for stories as a child. I knew it made him sad and even fearful. I never saw my dad sad and fearful. He was always my strong, can-do-anything, kind, loving daddy. He would often sing me the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

AS I grew up, in the 50's, 60's and 70's, during the Vietnam protests, I would discuss with him my views on a world without war, and he would get that look again and say, "That will never happen." I would join groups working for peace and justice and nonviolence. Even the Church, would, in a round about way, say, "That's not a topic of discussion," and that attitude, unbelievably, has not changed even today.

Then, I became a teacher and a mother. Everything I taught my own children and my students went against the proposition that war or violence is the answer to conflict and finding security. I could not even imagine, if there was a draft, sending my boys off to war. It would go against everything they had ever been taught at home, at school and at church.

So, in the name of womanhood and humanity, I agree with Julia Ward Howe. It is way past time for women to stand together and say NO to war. It is time to sing a new version of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." The truth is marching on. The "sword" will be beaten into "plowshares." On this last day of March, month of the woman, let us not forget the pictures in the news and the stories of horror in war. If we STAND together as MOTHERS, the world cannot ignore us. War cannot have our children. "War is Hell," and we must say in one unified voice, "Be gone Satan...You cannot have our children." Then and only then, can we write a new story and a new song of peace.
Facing forty in just a few weeks, my latest years have been heavily focused on the awakening inside my own conscience. My insatiable quest for truth and reality has held me captive for quite some time as I've reconsidered my own life mission here on earth. As a mother, the world has taken on a complete new light, maybe darkness really. Last fall my nephew (19) left to serve in Afghanistan in the Army 82AB. Describing to my young daughter about the dangers of war and the poor justification of this terribly managed occupation has ignited a new fight within her own heart. Although we support the troops who are paying an unbelievable personal price for this catastrophy, she and I have begun a journey for peace. Soon after her cousin's deployment, her kindergarten teacher agreed to the class collecting for soldier hug packs for his group. In no time, we had the entire elementary school collecting items not only for soldiers, but the children also brought in school supplies and stuffed bears to send to young Afghan refugee children there. The message was clear... "We care about you and support you right now. Be Safe and Come home!" On October 7th, we lit over 300 decorated luminaries in memory of the anniversary of the Afghanistan war. There were messages of love and pictures of peace on every bag. It was a brief moment for our little town, but I was so very proud of those little kindergarteners who's light was so bright. I could only imagine what else was possible if we could ignite the lights of every child in America to simply speak out and say "Stop the wars NOW for us and for the children around the world!"
Recently, my daughter somberly told me how her friends had sat in a circle on the playground and were talking about doing more for the soldiers. She said they were all sad. I asked why? "The kids all think that no one listens to them and that they don't make a difference. They want the war to stop so the soldiers and children there won't get hurt anymore." I was crushed to hear those innocent words, but I knew then that there is great power in the hearts of children. Since that day, we have been planning with our girl scout troop to plant a Peace Garden at the playground entrance of our new town park. It has been a great year for these young kids to find their own voices and I'm dedicated as a mother to help them be heard. Someday in the future I hope to organize a Kid's Peace Festival and Parade March. Marching for Peace and Progress... Perhaps the cries of our own children will be the loud snap we need to hear to get to our feet and fight for their endangered future, for our fragile abandoned economy, for our precious freedoms, for the children of others who are caught serving in this military conflict, and in the restoration of our American Dream of Peace, Tolerance, and Prosperity with Conscience.
Pain is a great motivator. I hear in your stories the pain and the courage, and can feel the beauty and light that emanates from the work you are all now doing. I feel so blessed to be among such peaceful warriors.

Like you David, I was driven towards a Communications degree to improve my abilities to be understood and to understand. I had felt sad about feeling misunderstood much of my early life.

I continue to believe and advocate for communications skills as the fundamental premise of successful peace work. I am deeply moved by the peace work of the NonViolent Communications Centre (Marshall Rosenberg) and am personally involved in bringing that work into children's classrooms to bring about more peace in families and in the school system.

I watched from Australia and was moved to tears during the Peace Summit in Vancouver last year. I felt so much love for people like Karen Armstrong whose work has manifested the Global Charter for Compassion, and Eckhart Tolle who speaks the truth of personal peace so beautifully.

My personal response to that Conference was to start Facebook for Peace, for Facebook Users who support activities for peace around the globe, and who work in their own lives for greater peace and well being. We are over 300 members now and growing.

Now I'm giving my time to developing a website for charities, schools etc to be able to fundraise more effectively towards their goals, and with the proceeds from the site I hope to fund a national campaign for peace education in schools. Helpers towards this creation are most welcome.

In the past year I have posted a range of peace motivations, including When asked my favorite work, I say Peace work. Love is the path to work I tread each day. Patience is the way home.
The last great war is not between men and women or between faiths, it's the war on insanity - sanity is the path, peace is the outcome.

It takes as much energy to contain great excitement as it does to contain great hatred. Go easy on yourself, be cool - choose peace.

Live like your life depended on it. Love like there's no tomorrow. Make peace with yourself and the world like today is your last.

I have given a list of these to Duan (Skool Boys, Consciousness Apparel) to use for his September campaign towards Peace Day 2010. I do find meditation, chanting and gentle exercise each day keeps me connected to peace over anxiety. I encourage others in their own personal journey towards a greater faith in the great love of the universe.

I offer my home regularly to friends for empathy circles and encourage you to explore empathy in your daily experience as a method for peaceful connection. These groups intention is to connect with the deepest feelings and needs in ourselves and each other, to practice slowing down each moment so as to fully allow us to BE, deeply, with the feelings and needs that are alive in the now.

I encourage all who envisage peace in the world to start within, to build from there into your own local community and to never forget that demonstration is the greatest teacher. Be the peace you wish to see in the world. PeaceBwU.

Peace - Don't leave home without it!
My main website has the drop line: "writing to simply change the world." And I mean it. Writing is a passion for me and so is peacemaking so it made perfect sense to marry the two. It all comes from a childhood question "Why aren't the grownups doing something?" And from a childhood vow: "When I am a grownup I will do something."

Even as a child I couldn't wrap my mind around WMD- Weapons of Mass Destruction. What could possibly have motivated the adults of the world, who were in charge, to create weapons that could destroy the planet and the human race with it? I vowed as a young child that when I was a grownup I would do something about it. So I joined our local peace movement and joined Sister Cities.

For eighteen years I worked toward creating peace among enemies as an Executive Officer of the Russian-American partnership our Sister City organization founded. My wordsmithing came in handy with grant-writing, marketing, manuscripts, short stories and poetry to support the initiative. Our program took on the issue of WMD and chemical weapons in our sister city area and the grant I wrote funded the social infrastructure and groundwork for the building of a chemical weapons decomissioning facility in our sister city Oblast (region.) I traveled to Russia and was able to visit the site accompanied by Russian and American military and U.N. escorts. What a thrill it was to see the reality of my childhood dream and to fully embody the idea that each of us has the power to change the world!

My research and writing has recently taken me in the direction of a new WMD. In researching the life and work of a famous figure for a writing project, I uncovered a whole other story, one that is secret and rich and that needs to be told. Digging deeper into the research I uncovered something else that was startling in its violence, another WMD that goes unrecognized yet its effects are devastating. It's particularly distressing because of how this WMD operates and how widespread is the collateral damage. But the most distressing part of this discovery is that this WMD is 'friendly fire' and it is killing our own- among them some of the most generous humanitarians and peacemakers on this planet. Words kill!

Voices In Education Project has featured a tribute to one of these humanitarians and published the New WMD article on their website. This recognition led to my proposing the writing of a curriculum for schools to create awareness of words as weapons. This is exciting work and I salute Voices in Education and Voices in Wartime for taking it on.

Once again, the common formula for changing the world is: Identify a discomfort with reality; allow compassion to arise about the victims impacted by a reality that should be changed because it's the right thing to do; determine to make a change that leads to making the world a better place; let people know and watch the helping hands show up. And once again it comes from the mind of a child making a vow and comes full circle back to the children: it is the children of the future who will change the world.

The New WMD
Voices Education Project:
Tribute to a Humanitarian Spiritual Messenger Hiding in Plain Sight

You can find me a
I stand for peace because I have survived the violence, and do not believe that aggression and violence serve anyone for very long. I also stand for peace because my son is on this Earth, and I believe that ALL should be able to walk this world unafraid. Choosing to live in peace is much more difficult than choosing to live in violence. Anger only hurts the one who holds on to it, a hard lesson to learn.
I am a mother and I stand for peace because that is the only solution.... violence begets violence and so it goes, in escalation. As the world gets smaller we have no other alternative. Look out the window at this magnificent there another choice?
Spending the night on the steps of the Pentagon, with many others, and being agressively pursued the next morning by police started me on a quest for answers. 35 years later, in front of the White House again, with many others, after along and inspiring day, I stopped and looked around. I had some experience of personal peace throughout my life and, at that moment, felt there had to be a better way, a way to get inside the G'ovt.,to change the culture, for any of my or the crowds goals to be achieved. Soon I found myself at the first state wide Peace Alliance meeting in central Florida. Don't know when the connection was made but glad for it.
Peace, a more peaceful culture is one of the keys to this better and more prosperous and satisfyingly shared culture that many know is possible. Lets just keep at it.
My focus is more narrow, but I feel a small part of the big picture. I am Jewish. My father got out of Vienna as the Nazis were taking over. A story we all know. Later, he and my mother migrated to Israel to be part of the founding of the Jewish State. I was raised dreaming of the day I could go and be part of this rebirth of our people. While there at age 18 I, being an observer by nature, noticed another culture was still there, but also missing. I could smell it and feel it in my bones as I traveled and lived in this ancient land. In the kibbutz where I lived I took a walk with a friend and we came to a small grassy meadow. I can still see the soft, vibrant green, even lengths of grass being coaxed into gentle waves by the breeze. "This is where the Arab village was," my friend told me. I felt like was I standing on sacred ground.

So I know about conflict. I know how difficult it is; how ingrained it becomes in the very depths of each opponents' soul; how it leads to death and destruction. I take it very seriously ... there is no easy answer and there will probably never be an end to conflict and, yes, even violence.

But it has always been against my nature to take sides, at least not completely. While ultimately I feel my fate is with the Jewish people, I cannot help but believe it is intricately tied to the fate of the Palestinian people and naturally all of us on this planet. So I have chosen to work for peace in Israel Palestine. That is my focus. You can help me in this effort in a very simple way. See

As for the Peace Alliance, I found out about it as a supporter of Kucinich's presidential campaign in 2004. I'm a great admirer of him. The Peace Alliance and the concept of a Department of Peace definitely reflects my attitude towards conflict resolution. We human beings have to LEARN non-violence. It is not natural. But for most of us cooperation IS also a natural mode. It simply disappears when over-powered by fear. Understanding this process and learning how to redirect it is a huge challenge. I agree with everyone writing here that this is a challenge we must take on as the world becomes a smaller and smaller place.
This is a wonderful campaign.. Mother's Day Peace... Yes! Please check out my new Expressions of Peace TV show and participate, tell a story, submit an expression!


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