Monday, Jun. 17, 2019

Dept. of Peacebuilding 2018 Accomplishments - REGIONAL (Part II)

By Nancy Merritt · March 03, 2019

This is Part II of Department of Peacebuilding 2018 Accomplishments and includes details about individual, state and regional actions in support of a Department of Peacebuilding and fostering a culture of peace.  See also Dept. of Peacebuilding 2018 Accomplishments - Part I/ National.

II.  REGIONAL, STATE & INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS

In addition to national actions, during 2018, the Department of Peacebuilding Campaign participated in regional, state and individual actions throughout the country. 

A.  California and the West

  • 11 Statewide CA DoP Campaign Calls featuring guest speakers from: 01/18) Gun Violence in America: the Problem & Finding Solutions with Amanda Wilcox (Brady Campaign for Gun Violence Prevention); 02/18) Systemic Violence & Creating a Culture of Peace with Geri Kennedy & dedicated to Allan Johnson Author, Unraveling the Gender Knot: Challenging the Systems That Bind Us); 03/18) Promoting Peace in Schools with Lynn Mackey (Contra Costa County Office of Education); 04/18) Abolishing Slavery with Hannah Hakodesh (The Abolish Slavery Coalition); 05/18) Peace as a Women’s Issue with Nuri Ronaghy (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom); 06/18) Sacred Activism with Marilyn Nyborg (Author, Co-founder of Gather the Women Global Matrix); 08/18) Oakland as a Restorative City with Teiahsha Bankhead (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth); 09/18) Kids For Peace Do It For Peace with Jill McManigal (Kids For Peace Co-founder); 10/18) Catching Up” with all callers; 11/18) Reclaiming Armistice Day for Peace with Gerry Condon (Veterans For Peace); 12/18) Swords To Plowshares:  Disarming Nuclear Weapons with Patrick O’Neill (Kings Bay Plowshares).
  • 3 Statewide CA Democratic Party (CDP) conventions & meetings in February, July and November where we partnered in tabling with San Diegans For Gun Violence Prevention (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Charity Apostolic Church, Survivors Empowered and Sandy Hook Promise), San Diego Kids for Peace/ Partners 4 Peace International, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) and the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club/ Peace Pledge group. 
  • CDP and peacebuilding accomplishments.  1) At CDP Convention in San Diego  in 2/18, the CDP incorporated into its 2018 Platform peacebuilding language submitted by the CA DoP and retained language our (and other) peacebuilding language from the 2012, 2014 and 2016 CDP Platforms.  This included our submitted and/or preserved peacebuilding language in 16 of the 23 CDP planks, including new 2018 language in 12 planks.    2) At CDP Executive Board meeting in Oakland in 7/18, the CDP Arab American Caucus and the CDP Veterans Caucus endorsed our  Resolution to Encourage State Legislators to Establish a California Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Government Entity.” 3) At the CDP Executive Board meeting in Long Beach, CA in 11/18, the CDP adopted that  “Resolution to Encourage State Legislators to Establish a California Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Government Entity.”
  • MLK Day.  Participated in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events in San Diego, with San Diego Kids for Peace, San Diego students and the San Diego Americans for a Department of Peace(building) and in San Francisco where we passed out DoP postcards at the annual MLK Day Parade.
  • Planning Retreat for CA DoP “Council of Sages (In Training)” leads.  14 leads and participants from Berkeley, El Cerrito, Mill Valley, Monterey, Oakland, Petaluma, Santa Cruz, Walnut Creek and Windsor attended the annual retreat to build community and vision for the future.  Our theme was “Peacebuilding Matters & Building Together.”
  • SNV.  Sonoma County Season for Nonviolence included opening and closing gatherings at a church that included youth.
  • Mother’s Day “Peace Wants A Piece of the Federal Budget Pie” meetings in CA, CO, and New Mexico.  1) Participated in “pie meetings” in California, including meetings/ pie deliveries with Rep. Susan Davis and with the staffs of Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Jared Huffman, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Scott Peters, and Rep. Juan Vargas. In addition to federal legislators, we also visited some state legislators, including CA State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-S03), CA State Assemblyman Mark Levine (D-AD10), CA State Senator Mike McGuire (D-S02), CA State Assemblyman Bill Wood (D-AD02).  Other Western US “pie meetings” took place in 2) Colorado [Rep. Jared Polis (CO)] and 3) New Mexico [Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM-3), Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (NM-1), and] Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)].
  • Sierra Pacific Lutheran Synod DoP Workshop.  Following Synod adoption of a “Resolution Regarding Creation of a Department of Peacebuilding in the U.S. Government” in 2017, we presented a DoP workshop at the 2018 Synod meeting.   Approximately 40 pastors and lay folks attended.
  • Participated in International Day of Peace activities with San Diego students.
  • Participated in DoP advocacy for cosponsors and the AMPLIFY action during DC Advocacy Days.
  • Partnered with San Diego students and peacebuilding advocates to draft and deliver DoP support letters to members of Congress during DC Advocacy Days 2018.
  • Participated and tabled at the California Vision 2020 Conference on “Illuminating Our Path to a Better Future” in Sacramento, CA.
  • Published articles in the Sonoma County Peace Press and online at the Peace Alliance web site and at PeaceNow.com.  
  • Marched for DoP in women’s marches, MLK Day marches,  and the Fourth of July Parade in Nevada City, CA. 
  • Tabled at peace booth at the Nevada County Fair.
  • Participated in the Jan Knippers Black Fund for Human Rights Protection to support the MIIS-Amnesty International USA Fellowship Program at the Middlebury Institute of Integrated Studies in Monterey, CA

B.  Georgia  

  • 50th Anniversary of the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.  For the week leading up to the actual birthday of Rev. King on 1/15/18, there were many commemorative and peacebuilding events at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. Events included a high profile commemorative service, a march leading to a rally, Beloved Community Talks to bridge the urban/ rural Divide.  Dr. Bernice King, the youngest of four children born to Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the Commemoration Service, at the rally and moderated the Beloved Community Talks.   
  • MLK Day.  GA volunteers marched with DoP banner and had literature available during annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March in Atlanta.
  • Mother’s Day Pie meetings.   Took pies to the offices of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA-5) and Sen. David Purdue (R-GA).

C.  Illinois and the Midwest Region

  • Mother’s Day Pie meetings in IL and SD.  Participated in “pie meetings” in Illinois, including meetings/ deliveries with the offices Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D); Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-2).  Participated in “pie meetings” in South Dakota at the offices of Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD).
  • DC Lobby Days.  Two IL attendees and others met with both Senators and several IL and Midwest representatives seeking DoP cosponsors, more peacebuilding, empathizing with the constant busy-ness of Congress, emphasizing the importance and fiscal responsibility of working toward violence prevention.
  • Connected with such groups as 2016 Chicago City Council Resolution Committee leaders, Chicago NVC Practice Group, Chicago Restorative Community, Pace Bene and World Beyond War.
  • Participated in IL Democratic Party Congressional race and events.

D.  Massachusetts and New England 

  • Season for Nonviolence.  MA leaders contacted legislators/ staffers in various MA and Northeastern offices.
  • Community Connections.  MA leaders continued working with such local groups as  First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Concord, MA to advocate for a DoP and women’s issues. 
  • DC Advocacy Days AMPLIFY Action.  Participated in DoP advocacy for DoP cosponsors, including calls to such legislators as Rep. Katherine Clark (MA), Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY), Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (MA).  Participated via telephone conference call in the DC meeting at the office of Sen. Ed Markey (MA).

E.  New Jersey

  • Actively involved in local politics throughout election season, successfully helping flip a NJ Congressional District via the Blue Wave to a new, young progressive MOC, all along advocating for him to cosponsor HR 1111 (which hopefully will happen).
  • Obtained HR 1111 endorsement from the NJ State Democratic Committee Progressive Caucus. 
  • Advocated for HR 1111 with NJ Governor Phil Murphy and NJ's Anti-Gun Violence Task Force at Governor's official public ceremony signing progressive anti-gun violence NJ laws, using current national topic of gun violence as vehicle of introducing DoP as means of getting at "root causes."
  • Co-created with Canadian Department of Peace Initiative Director a workshop slide show presentation at the annual international World Beyond War conference in Toronto entitled Departments & Other National Infrastructures for Peace - A Way Forward;  produced a welcoming video for conference featuring their honorary patron UN Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury (and founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace at the UN) affirming how Departments and Infrastructures for Peace enhance the Culture of Peace; created "Infrastructures for Peace References" document; assisted with tabling at conference about HR 1111 and UN culture of peace work
  • Wrote article about I4P / DoP conference workshop printed in UN NGO (Peace Through Unity) November international newsletter. 
  • Wrote article about 14P / DoP conference workshop published in the Culture of Peace News Network electronic website in the fall. 
  • Obtained UN Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury's endorsement of HR 1111.  
  • Facilitated a meeting at UN with UN Development Program leaders of their overarching "Infrastructures for Peace" program, informing them of the Peace Alliance Department of Peacebuilding campaign for HR 1111 in hopes of future collaboration.
  • Delivered a 5-minute speech (by proxy) entitled A LOGICAL SOLUTION TO THE GLOBAL PROBLEM OF VIOLENCE - Establish Governmental Departments and Infrastructures for Peace (I4P) to Make Nonviolence a Global Political Priority at a side event of the UN Department of Public Information Annual Conference (whose theme was ‘We the Peoples: Together Finding Global Solutions for Global Problems’).  
  • Attended annual DoP Advocacy Days in DC
  • Participated in the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP) effort to actively reorganize, which hopefully is in process of happening soon. 
  • Advocated with Shift Network leaders at Seven Ray conference in Arizona requesting their endorsement for HR 1111 -- which ultimately came through with help of coordination with other DoP Committee members.
  • Worked unsuccessfully seeking FCNL Quaker endorsement now armed with connection made at Toronto conference of active Canadian Quaker Department of Peace advocates.

III.  GRATITUDE AND LOOKING FORWARD

We thank those from all locations in this country for working to build peace.  We thank and remember the peacebuilders who passed this year, including Brian Gibbs and Mary Alice O’Connor, both of whom were part of the CA Department of Peacebuilding group and contributed so much to national peacebuilding efforts.

The DoP Campaign is carrying forward into 2019 its vision for peace and will continue the work of creating a Department of Peacebuilding and embodying a culture of peace.  

We do not feel our way into doing what is just;  we act our way into new emotions, new ideas;  the act is justice, the act is love.   - Rev. Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God:  A Theology of Mutual Relation

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - Dorothy Thompson, first lady of Journalist

Let us declare our intent for peace. Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our own society. Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of statecraft, which sees peace, not war as being inevitable. Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic.     - Dennis Kucinich

Nancy Merritt, 
National Department of Peacebuilding Lead 

On Behalf of the National DoP Committee/ Campaign, including  
Anne Creter (NJ), Karen Johnson (IL), Nancy Merritt (CA), Kendra Mon (CA),
Debra Poss (MA), Pat Simon (MA) and Jerilyn Stapleton (CA) 

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