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Peace building and a Call to Action

September 21

International Day of Peace

Why wait? Let's focus on peace all month long. After all, peace is more than the absence of violence. It includes harmony, prosperity, equality, and kindness. So the cure to violence is to demonstrate more reflections of peace and that will generate more. I promise you. It’s not magic, it’s math! But we have to amp it up. So let's all do something to make the world more fair, more harmonious, more awesome. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. You can reach out to a friend, make a donation, say thank you, give a compliment, plant a flower, raise a peace flag, smile at a stranger, leave a love note, and so much more every day and all in the name of peace. It only takes a minute!

Keeping the peace in political conversations with friends

Let's face it, we can't have THAT conversation with everyone whose political views are different from our own. Some people just don't want to talk about it. Some may not be comfortable because they don't know all the facts about all the issues involved. And some just want to hang onto what they believe without having to explain it to anyone else. Fine. We need to honor that preference. But if you have the chance to have a healthy conversation with someone "on the other side," the Optimist Daily has 5 tips:

  1. Find your mutual joy

  2. Don’t take it personally

  3. Respectfully challenge views

  4. Seek to understand, not to convince

  5. Avoid the “me versus them” mentality

I would add: be mindful of your words. Choose those that encourage conversation and feedback rather than a need to defend one's position. Prep some questions in advance, when you know you'll be in the company of those who disagree and may want to talk about politics. And, if needed, agree to a time limit on the discussion. That can enable both to stick to a particular issue. You can always revisit the topic at a later date.

Read the full article How to keep friends with different political views at the Optimist Daily

US Department of Peacebuilding

The Peace Alliance is asking us to contact our "member of Congress to cosponsor legislation to create a cabinet-level Department of Peacebuilding (H.R. 1111) which addresses gun violence prevention and related issues such as bullying, social emotional learning and anti-racism."

This makes so much sense to me, especially with the current national climate. We have peace-keeping programs around the world, we should have one at home. This is not a new idea, although it was most recently championed by Peace Alliance co-founder, author, and former Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and the original lead sponsor for H.R. 1111, Rep. Dennis Kucinich. But it first popped up from Benjamin Rush in 1793 who recommended a plan for a "peace officer" with equal footing to the Department of War "in promoting and preserving perpetual peace in the United States." Then, in 1925, Carrie Chapman Cott, founder of the League of Women Voters, publicly suggested the establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace. Since then, there have been approximately 113 bills introduced or reintroduced or proposals submitted to Congress. None of them have passed. Clearly, it's time and we can help make it happen. If you're ready, the Peace Alliance makes it easy to contact our members of Congress. Click on either of their links to be taken to their action page where you can read more and choose a specific link to contact Congress. That will take you to a page where you provide contact information (often required by members of Congress). Submit that and you will see a prefilled letter to your Congress members. You can add to the letter or just submit. It's up to you. It's my job to share =)

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