by Judy Reynolds, October 10, 2009
"It isn't enough to talk about peace; one must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it; one must work at it."
--- Eleanor Roosevelt
Working together for peace is a shared American experience. Examples abound, both nationally and locally.
The Veterans for Peace is a national organization whose members are organized in chapters throughout the country, with membership ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 1,400 local and national groups who have joined together to protest the Iraq war and the U.S. government's war policies. The Student Peace Action Network works on peace issues with more than 130 chapters and affiliates.
On the local level, diverse peace groups have united in various ways, including joining together in the Orange County Peace Coalition, the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, and the Peace Coalition of Monterey County.
Seventeen peace groups in Davis have recently joined together to work for peace through a network called Peace Connections that allows member groups to communicate with each other regarding peace events that each group sponsors, and to seek support, assistance and/or publicity from each other.
Each group has a contact person who communicates through the Web site of the Davis Peace Coalition to contact people from the other groups, who in turn take the information to their groups. Each peace group is free to agree or not agree to offer such support, assistance and/or publicity sought by others for any given activity, and no offense is taken.
The very fact that the opportunity to act together for peace is made available to all participating groups through regular communication with each other increases their ability to spread peace throughout Davis, and, perhaps, the world.
This communication opportunity has been used since the first of the year for a wide variety of purposes, including advertising numerous speakers sponsored by various groups, and seeking support for peace actions such as the World March for Peace, which began Oct. 2 in Wellington, New Zealand, and for an upcoming informational demonstration on alternatives to military service titled "Draft Beer, Not Kids."
In addition, all Peace Connections groups are on the verge of agreeing to a peace statement that defines Peace Connections as a community of diverse nonpartisan peace groups that furthers unity, nonviolence, justice, diplomacy and peace in place of all forms of war and violence. The groups would further agree to work cooperatively to attain these goals, and support each other whenever possible on projects of mutual interest.
This statement, when approved by all member groups, will allow the groups to work together for peace, using the statement as a guideline. The intent of all participating groups to act together for peace becomes a reality for future projects of mutual interest.
Three such projects that have been or soon will be offered to the Peace Connections members are a Peace Day at the Farmers' Market that is in the planning stage; joining together in a statement of support for the World March for Peace; and assisting in the writing and circulating of a petition urging an end to the war in Afghanistan.
Should all 17 of the Peace Connections groups support these projects, the Davis peace community would be setting an excellent example for other peace communities on connecting for peace.
"It's exciting to have this new resource for us all to work toward the same peaceful goals, while we maintain our individual styles and ways of creating peace in our community," says Natalie Wormeli, the contact person for Sacramento/Yolo CodePink Women for Peace.
Ted Neff, the contact person for the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Davis Friends Meeting, believes Peace Connections offers hope for peace.
"The more that diverse groups show their common concerns and hopes, the more our common concerns will be advanced," he says.
Sarah Pattison, the contact person for Jewish Peace Alternatives, appreciates that although not every Peace Connections group looks at peace topics the same way, "we are all working for the same ultimate good." She adds, "You meet the nicest people when you are working on peace issues. People's best qualities come out when they are working on a cause that is bigger than themselves that makes the world a better place."
The 17 peace groups that are members of Peace Connections may not be the only peace groups in Davis who would be interested in communicating about their activities with other Davis peace groups and acting in concert on projects of mutual interest. The larger the Peace Connections becomes, the more effective its actions will be.
Any peace group in Davis that is interested in becoming connected for peace may express their interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After all, it isn't enough to believe in peace; one has to work at it. Together.