Empowering civic activism toward a culture of peace.

This area is designed to specifically discuss the "Build and Empower Growing Grassroots Network" section of the strategic plan. (Download link for entire plan is below).

We want to know specifically:

• What excites you about it?
• What concerns do you have?
• What could be made better?
• What are ways you want to implement it personally and with your local teams?

Section Description:

To accomplish all of our strategic objectives we must grow and maintain that which makes our organization so unique--our grassroots network of citizen advocates and community peacebuilders. We will:

Grow Strategically: We will implement a targeted recruitment plan, with small teams of staff, Board and volunteers, that will build local volunteer teams in Congressional districts of key committee members; building greater influence on key pieces of legislation.

Support Network-wide Strategic Planning and Gatherings:
As an organization we must begin to create local strategic plans, create a supportive community for grassroots members, and continue our history of inspiring national events. This includes:

• Supporting and empowering development and implementation of local action plans
• Hosting annual State Coordinator/Regional Organizer and Student Peace Alliance Retreats
• Supporting grassroots volunteers in hosting 8-12 regional conferences in 2010
• Hosting the 2011 National Conference in Washington DC
• Hosting the Student Peace Alliance 2010 National Conference (450 attending February 2010)
• Planning monthly volunteer call with featured guests that include regional breakouts on strategic plan and local planning
• Supporting network with regional and national state coordinator calls
• Hosting twice a month newcomer orientation calls.

Develop and support coordinated actions: Continue organizing and supporting our Valentines Day Action, Mother’s Day Action, and local events around International Day of Peace in September, as well as additional actions to be determined at key times.

Utilize Social Networking and New Media: Our social networking site, DoPeace, provides a space for organizers to stay in touch with each other, mobilize support for our actions, and provide feedback on national planning and broader public education.

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I was really interested and enthused about what everyone had to say. It sounds like we are on the right track making progress towards peace and need to celebrate and CONNECT more in our engagements. That is really the key word we cannot emphasize more in our work in establishing a Department of Peace. When Lynn pointed out that members of Congress have said "this is not the right model or structure" I wanted to get in there and connect with them by asking them "Why do they feel it is not the right way?" or using NVC, ask, "Are you feeling uncertain about this and need another structure or plan?" and if they acknowledge that is correct, ask, "So what is it that you would want us to do specifically?" Get their position and ideas fully and as complete as possible to work with them. That is what gets more members of Congress involved when we both have felt that deeper connection together with each other in our engagement. This is when things are going to open up more conversations and keep it open, not by saying things that tend to put an end to the discussion.

Also, I am a little concerned about the name "advisory" council because it sounds too much like the old system we already have in bureaucracy of our schools with teachers, administrators, and government. The idea of advising others is the change of perception and awareness we want to change that starts with ourselves. Nobody can really put themselves in a position as authority over anyone else to advise another but rather we should all strive to call this type organization a "roundtable" event where all can be heard and given empathy where needed until enough support and empowerment is given so that everyone can come to the realization that we can each resolve whatever unmet needs we may have. This is why there seems to be so much violence in the world. All anybody is ever saying is "please."

When we can change our perception and not see the violence in the world, we will see the reality that all there is happening is everyone trying to get there unmet needs met in the only way they know how. As soon as someone makes that connection with them, we all begin to have a healing.
It is crucial that we strive to do away with the term "Advisory Council" as this is what will do more to changing our state of awareness and perception towards how we see and understand another person who needs help by giving him/her empathy. This way of communicating is what encourages and supports others more in coming to a realization that they have the power to solve their own problems without continuing to be dependent on others who tend to dictate to them under the position of being an "authority." This way of communicating is what frees us as individuals and helps us to make our own decisions which builds the confidence we seem to lack through our everyday experiences.
Hello! I guess I might include this under the rubric of "coordinated actions."

This is my first post on DoPeace. I'm here because of an article I just read on Alternet, describing the legislation just passed against ACORN, which might now be used AGAINST NEARLY ALL military contractors! I'm attaching the link here. Does anyone think this might be a wonderful piece of leverage to support the establishment of a department of peace? Couldn't there a be a quid pro quo here, of sorts, to push legislators who at this moment wouldn't dare to defund the largest military contractors because of a knee-jerk piece of law to stifle a community action group (ACORN), BUT who might willing to consider legislation for the Peace Dept in exchange for a QUIET way out of the mess they just created with the ACORN legislation? I haven't thought this completely thru yet, but I think there's a THERE there. See this link:


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