Boca Peace Corner Participants Cultivate Harmony

MoveOn Iraq War and Recession Report Release – Boca Raton, Florida

© copyright 2008 Betsy L. Angert

“The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight,

But they, while their companions slept,

Toiled ever upward through the night.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Peace comes upon us without much fanfare.  Most await an announcement or seek a moment of resolve.  However, the message never comes.  In this country, in our local communities, and perchance planet wide, a small number of people acknowledge goodwill is not created in an instant.  It grows.  The transition from warfare to common welfare is invisible.  Tranquility enters; and no one stands triumphantly.  Buglers do not blow their horns.  Twenty-one guns do not salute.  Serenity is a state of being.  This is true for individuals and for the world as a whole.  Harmony, once achieved will be but a hush.   Peace grows as a tree does, from the roots up.

Those who stand at the Boca Peace Corner are among those who understand this.  They experience an evolution every Saturday between noon and one.  That is the time these devoted “gardeners” dedicate to growing an end to war.

The persons who espouse peace at the crossroads of Saint Andrews Boulevard and Glades Road are aware that the process is slow; the progression slower.  They appreciate a shift may not be seen, but it is nevertheless palpable.  Stories from grassroots activists in the Boca Raton area affirm calmness quietly creeps into existence.

The weekly South Florida vigil began with a Mom, or perhaps two.  The shared stories of Cindy Sheehan and Susan Caruso offer insight into how unity evolves.  Each of these mothers can attest to the fact, an intangible such as love [or harmony with our fellow humans] is felt.  The bond between a parent and a child, Casey and Cindy or Susan and her sons, is as imperceptible as growth.

For local Mom, Susan Caruso, in August 2005 she decided to take an active stand against the war in Iraq.  With the stroke of her hand and the click of a mouse, Ms Caruso planted the seed that gave birth to the Boca Peace Corner.  The afternoon was no different than most others.  Susan had read and heard of Cindy Sheehan and the soldier’s Mom’s cries.  Sheehan, an average American mother, was much like Susan.  Each had sons.  Ms Caruso has two male children.  At the time, they were ages 20 and 24.  Cindy Sheehan had a grown child named Casey.  He was 24 years old when he departed from this Earth.  Casey Sheehan passed two weeks after he arrived in Iraq.  The young Army specialist was killed in battle in 2004.

By 2005, Ms Sheehan was frustrated.  Cindy Sheehan read the belatedly released Intelligence reports.  She learned that perhaps, her son did not need to die.  The fallen enlistee’s parent felt a need to speak to the man she believed most responsible for her loss.  Yet, George W. Bush, the Commander-In-Chief, was not willing to meet with this mournful Mom.  Apparently, it mattered not that Casey Sheehan sacrificed his life for his country, for the homeland the Chief Officer also inhabits.  George W. Bush was busy.

After many attempts to arrange a meeting, Casey’s Mom decided she would campout at the President’s ranch in Crawford Texas and wait for him to come to her, or perhaps invite her in.  Mister Bush did neither.

It seemed the nation’s most Senior Officer could not be bothered with niceties while on holiday.  As news of such a circumstance spread throughout the country, Americans began to question the President and his priorities. did more than inquire; they requested that common people from every region stand in support of a Casey’s Mom.  

Susan Caruso decided she must do so.  The empathy she felt for Cindy Sheehan was great.  The antipathy for the war may not have been greater; nevertheless, it was intense.  Susan Caruso signed up to sponsor a peace vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Saint Andrews Boulevard.

Ms Caruso expected perhaps thirty people would register for the event.  Instead, some two hundred and fifty individuals appeared for the action.  Cindy Sheehan may have been the invisible hand that nurtured what had been dormant within Susan.

The thoughtful actions of one Mom advanced the desire for peace in another.  The enthusiasm of a local parent provoked others.  Apparently, in Boca Raton, Florida scores of people felt it was time to speak out against the Iraq War.  Perchance, Susan Caruso’s actions were as fertilizer.  Her sponsorship helped to grow what would later be known as the Boca Peace Corner.

The vigil was scheduled to begin at dusk on August 13, 2005.  South Florida residents filled a large field outside the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship building and then, in a desire to be seen by more, they moved to the corner of Saint Andrews Boulevard and Glades Road.

The Liberto family was there that first night.  After, Scott Liberto and his spouse Jill made more than dozen signs.  They packed these into a bag and brought the collection with them each week.  The thought was, if others walked by and wanted to join the political action, they too would have a banner to hold.  The energy and enthusiasm grew as did a movement towards peace.

The foundation for an ever-expansive evolution began on an August evening in 2005, and continues every Saturday in this little local enclave.  

The growth is virtually unseen to those who quickly travel down the street.   However, the grassroots expansion is evident to the early organizers and frequent participants.  In less than three years, more than four hundred electronic mail addresses were collected from fervent persons who, at one time or another, participated in a vigil at the Boca Peace Corner.

Mike Budd and his wife Suzanne, each of whom was present on the first night, continue to attend.  The two occupy the pavement across the street from the larger cluster.  When asked why the couple does not join the crowd, Professor Budd offered, “We are more visible” Mike spoke of how from their place on the opposite corner, they are better able to make eye contact with the people who pass.  Doctor Budd, a Vietnam veteran often adorned in attire that identifies his past combat experience, states that when he and his wife engage the drivers, the interaction is more persuasive.  The pair does not converse with each other while at the intersection.  They focus on the individuals who pass them by in automobiles or on foot.

Mike Budd notes as many of those who have stood on the Boca Peace Corner frequently do, “There has been a change in the responses over time.”  The prospect for peace although not discernible from a distance, is obvious to those who nurture the growth.

Today demonstrators observe people are more tolerant.  Those very few who voice a disagreement with the dissenters wish to know if the individuals who stand in vigil truly support the troops.  Susan Caruso, the first to propose the peace action in Boca Raton definitely does.  Shortly after she gave birth to the local movement her youngest son, Steven enlisted in the Army.  Steven thought it important that he make a sacrifice as other, often less fortunate Americans, do.

For well over a year, Debra Leisten has stood in homage to the soldier she loves.  “My nephew is in the Air Force.  Presently he’s on his 2nd tour in the Middle East.  After he returned from his first tour, he was very disillusioned with the purpose of our military role in Iraq.”  However, Ms Leisten articulates, her nephew, being in the Armed Forces feels he is not “able to voice [his] dissent to the War.”  

Leisten offers, “I wanted to honor our military and provide my nephew with a voice so I went to the Vigil.”  She regretted that she had not known of the enduring event earlier.  Nonetheless, once she discovered the Peace Corner she chose to actively participate each week.

Ms Leisten expressed as all those at the Peace Corner might, “I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet with like-minded people and exercise my constitutional right to free-speech and peaceable assembly.”  Those who attend the Saturday vigils are as Debra expounds, grateful to grow peace.  

Jerry Rabinowitz and Nancy Pawlowski, regular participants at the Peace Corner, realize the power people have when they work in unison to cultivate a movement.  The two were deeply touched by the same seed that spurred Susan Caruso on.  During the Thanksgiving holiday, in 2004, almost a year before the Boca Peace Corner became a reality; the couple was encouraged by their experience at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas.  

Nevertheless, Nancy had, and at times still has reservations that she, or people in any protest, can make a difference.  It is hard to imagine that a few can fertilize true change.  As Nancy reflects on the vigils she states, “I do not think we are personally stopping the war.”

Nancy acknowledges what a little bit of encouragement and information can produce.  Ms Pawlowski “was never politically active until two or three years ago.”  She was inspired to act when she realized how extreme man’s inhumanity to his fellow man might be.  Ms Pawlowski explains, the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison “really struck me.”  The woman who would not have identified herself as an activist prior to the 2004 revelations apologetically admits, “I did not really do anything about it [my distress].”  More accurately, Nancy did not conspicuously act on her angst.  However, she did as people always do before they move; she ruminated.

As Ms Pawlowski pondered, just as she was mulling over the mayhem done in her name, she received a message from the organization that harvests the seeds of peace,  Like Susan Caruso and Debra Leisten, Nancy hesitantly decided she must at least try to make a difference.  Upon reflection, Nancy realized, when she took part in a peaceful demonstration all those years ago, she felt her soul was nourished.

Today, she smiles, and states, much to her surprise, “The people at the Corner affect me.  They keep me coming back.”  Now, when she stands street side she is aware of the fact, there are “some really good people” in this world.  She believes, perchance it is possible to grow peace.

The tale of the Boca Peace Corner is as the lovely legendry allegory of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.  The Chinese Bamboo Tree when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season does not appear to grow as much as an inch.  During the second year of the seedling’s life, the gardener may again carefully water, fertilize, and nurture what he hopes will become a beautiful bamboo tree.  Yet, the cane plant still does not sprout.  

For four long years, the sun rises, and sets.  The moon enters and exits its standard phases.  The gardener and his family have nothing tangible to show for all of their labor.  Love does not help the sapling along.  No matter the nourishment bestowed upon the kernel meant to give birth to a Chinese bamboo tree, the pip appears dormant.  The gardener fears the seed may have died.  Yet, his hope does not waiver.  He continues to attend to the possible plant.

Then, in the fifth year a miracle occurs.  The Chinese Bamboo Tree seed finally sprouts and the perennial woody plant grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season, or so it would seem.  The roots, just as grassroots efforts in South Florida were reaching out all along.  A firm foundation was born out of sight.

One of the Boca Peace Corner participants understands this to her core.  Betsy L. Angert does as the Budd’s do.  When at the vigil she works to make eye contact with those who pass her.  For more than a year, each Saturday, a well-groomed gentleman, perhaps, in his thirties drives by.  His hair is a little long.  His attire and automobile are as one might think, typical of Progressive.  Betsy believes, from appearances, this man might show his support.  However, after more than a year she accepted he may never acknowledge her presence.  

This quiet man had not extended his digits in a sign of peace.  Nor had he honked his horn.  He rarely, if ever even offered a smile.  Then, three weeks ago, he waved in delight as he turned the corner and once again saw Betsy.  Perchance, that was a sign; if those at the Boca Peace Corner cultivate global harmony, a tranquility tree will grow.

Blessed Unrest and Wiser Earth; Paul Hawken and Us

Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest and Wiser Earth

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Each day you and I work towards peace.  On occasion we stand in protest.  At times, amongst a throng of individuals we march.  We demonstrate and proclaim global harmony is possible.  Some of us research before we rant.  Numerous read.  Millions reflect in isolation, then, share their thoughts with a few like-minded souls.  Thousands write.  People reach out.  Individuals invite discussion.  Yet, it seems only one or two respond.

Often, those that strive for worldwide tranquility feel as though their efforts do little to bring about change.  As people, we seek serenity.  In small groups, we gather to spread the word.  Frequently there is a sense of isolation.  Does anyone hear us?  Will others care?  As crowds whiz past us, it seems there is scant concern.  People are too busy to stop.  No one has time or the energy to care.  We are spiritually destitute and disturbed.  Unity will not be.  There is no hope, no accord.  Americans, and perhaps internationally the average man, woman, and child is apathetic, egocentric, or just lost in daily deeds.

Movements are not orchestrated.  All is haphazard.  How can we achieve stability if we do not organize and coordinate our activities.  Many of us feel so very alone and defeated as we fight to better society.  True peace will never come.  Few think the vision can be achieved.

Enter Paul Hawken.  A environmentalist, and social activist, was as you and I.  For years he spoke and shared his message.  Yet, he did not realize the effect.  All seemed to occur in seclusion.  Then he realized all these single events, each meeting, every encounter was indeed connected.  Paul Hawken finally thought to examine the parts.  He discovered a whole, a worldwide movement for social and environmental change.  ?The story astounds.

I have given hundreds of talks about the environment in the past fifteen years, I’m not sure how many.  After talks people come up to talk, ask questions, or exchange business cards.  People are creatures and we like to exchange, meet, touch our antennae.  Many of my friends to this day I met this way.  Those offering their cards work on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more.

They were from the non-profit and non-governmental world, also known as civil society, and they looked after rivers and bays, educated consumers about sustainable agriculture, retrofitted houses with solar panels, lobbied state legislatures about pollution, fought against corporate-weighted trade policies, were studying hard at school, worked to green inner cities, or taught children about the environment.  Quite simply, they were trying to safeguard nature and justice.

This was the 1990s, and the media largely ignored them.  (Al Gore was so derided for Earth in the Balance, his prescient book on climate change, that he didn’t mention it in his 2000 campaign.)

In those small meetings I had a chance to listen to the audience.  They were students, grandmothers, teenagers, tribal members, businesspeople, architects, teachers, retired professors, and worried mothers and fathers.  They were informed, imaginative and vital, and offered tips, ideas, and information.  They had a lot to say.

My new friends would thrust articles and books in my hand, tuck small gifts into my knapsack, or pass along plans for green companies.  A Native-American taught me that the division between ecology and human rights was an artificial one, that the environmental and social justice movements addressed two sides of a larger dilemma.

The way we harm the earth affects all people, and how we treat each other is how we treat the earth.  As my talks mirrored this realization, the hands offering cards grew more diverse.

I would get from five to thirty cards per speech, and after being on the road for a week or two, I would return with a couple hundred cards stuffed into various pockets.  Since I wasn’t a salesman or running for office, I had no need to record them, but I couldn’t throw them away.  I would lay them out on the table in my kitchen, read the names, look at the logos, envisage the mission, and marvel at what groups do on behalf of others.

Later, I would put them into drawers or paper bags, keepsakes of the journey.  In the years that followed the cards mounted into the thousands, and whenever I glanced at the bags of cards in my closet, I kept coming back to one question: Did anyone know how many groups and organizations there were?  And did it matter?

At first, this was a matter of curiosity, but it slowly grew into a hunch that something larger was afoot, a large networked movement that was eluding the radar of mainstream culture.

I began to count.  I looked at government records for different countries and using various methods to approximate the number of environmental and social justice groups from tax census data, I initially estimated that there were 30,000 environmental organizations strung around the globe; when I added social justice and indigenous organizations, the number exceeded 100,000.  I then researched past social movements to see if there were any equal in scale or scope, but I couldn’t find anything, past or present.

The more I probed, the more I unearthed, and the numbers continued to climb.  In trying to pick up a stone, I found the exposed tip of a geological formation.  I discovered lists, indexes and small databases specific to certain sectors or geographic areas, but no set of data came close to describing the movement’s breadth.  Extrapolating from the records being accessed, I realized that the initial estimate of 100,000 organizations was off by at least a factor of ten.  I now believe there are over one million organizations working towards ecological sustainability and social justice.  Maybe two.

Imagine; each of us independently envisions and endeavors to achieve peace and social justice.  We are one.  Just as is true of any organism, the movement towards solidarity is composed of millions of parts.  Separately we function; however, not as fully as we would like.  We may not see that down the street, around the corner, in a basement, high on a hill, deep in a valley, in the hall miles away, others do just as we do.  They touch their neighbors sensibility, caress the minds of people in their community.  Still, the persons outside our world feel frustrated.

They as we do not realize, word travels, as do folks.  Slowly and surely the message moves.  Mountains become molehills.  The progress towards peace endures, slow as it is.  Evolution are not necessarily visible to the eye.  Change will not come in a moment.  Please be patient and trust.  The transformation is real.  Together we can and do create calm.  We are wise.  We are one.

Peace and Social Justice; From One and All, to One and All . . .

Cindy Sheehan. The Plea, Promote Harmony Peacefully

Cindy Sheehan Quits

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Dearest Cindy . . .

I meant to write this letter days ago after reading your farewell “Good Riddance Attention Whore.”  I watched as the number of electronic communiqués in response to your essay mounted.  I thought my message might be lost and perhaps was not important.  I decided to forego a seemingly fruitless endeavor.

Yet, as I reflected on my reading of your words, and those writing in reply, I was haunted.  Still, I hesitated.  I was drowning in sorrow as I observed the interchanges.  Ultimately, I concluded I can stay silent no longer, for if I do I endorse the verbal struggle.  Oh, how I long for peace, harmony, and tranquility in every aspect of life.  I hope to express my thoughts in a manner that honors calm and furthers a shared understanding.  However, if the present is as the past, what are meant to be peaceful ponderings may provoke.

Cindy, the chatter surrounding your letter of resignation reminded of what struck me most in your offering.  I experience as you mention.

[T]he “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.  I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

I experience this as well.  More often than not, my missives bring talk of divisiveness.  When I am critical of those that send our young and now older to combat, I receive comments  of how “evil” the right is.  I may frequently speak of the neoconservatives with disdain; however, I think the Left is no less liable.  For me, any being that thinks war is ever an option allows for the practice.

I have also been slammed for calling the Commander and his Cabinet criminal.  While I do believe that all beings have the potential for enlightenment, some are extremely slow to evolve.  The ego delays their ascent.  I have faith that each of us will make errors repeatedly as we travel through this Earthly existence; nonetheless, when these blunders take sweet and vulnerable men and women into battle, I think that iniquitous.

For me, it matters not the Party affiliation; harming another is errant.  I experience as you have.

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike.

I cannot comprehend the reprimands of one that thinks I am too harsh verbally, when I, without swearing explain my disdain for any being that is willing to hurt others.  Merely calling for censure or impeachment, a nonviolent means for ending mass murder, is considered illogical and disappointing to this self-defined contrarian.  Apparently for this self-proclaimed Buddhist, placing the onus on me seems apt.  I am bombarded with barbs while men and women die on battlefields abroad.

It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party.

The mad cap fellow I mention and I would each agree with this statement.  However, he would remind me that the philosophical form of Zen, Hinduism that I hold dear is deeply flawed for it differs from the religious sect of Buddhism he prefers.

I sigh  deeply.  I trust that as much as I appreciate many of this man’s musings, the need to be right or reproach drains me.  I want no part of such exchanges.  I long for peace in every effort eternally.

I am not a competitive person and have no interest in engaging is dialogues where one is left the victor, and the other defeated.  I prefer peace.  For me, even an arraignment is an opportunity for growth.  It need not be confrontational.  I only wish to lessen the power of those that think we have the right to punish another nation or our own citizens by putting them to death, or torturing them until they talk.  Yet, consistently I realize bringing about harmony is not the intent of many in the movement.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won?t work with that group; he won?t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

When working with an organization devoted to harmony, the two persons prominent is coordinating the events argued vehemently.  Those assisting with the installation project then took sides.  There was no tranquility among the pacifists; yet, they claimed to be people of peace.

While walking with a group dedicated to calm, marchers called out to the law officers.  These peace protesters preferred to fight the fuzz.  The antics of those supporting an end to war actually promoted the same on local streets.

Cindy, I relent as you have.

[N]o matter how much I sacrifice, I can?t make you be that [peaceful, loving] country unless you want it.

Persons and political structures are as they wish to be.  I cannot change them; nor do I desire to try.  I speak out for I trust that my silence will not benefit them or me.  In my own life much has been said when I was not ready to understand the meaning or significance.  I trust that people and policies are in flux.  They are evolving as am I.  I can only hope that my love of peace will be honored within my lifetime.  I accept that this may not be so.  Nonetheless, for me and I trust the same is true for you Cindy Sheehan, I will continue to do as I can.  However, I cannot sacrifice my own soul.  If I am to stay strong, I cannot continually allow others to deplete my spirit.

Cindy, I thank you so much for sharing your self, your strength, and for remaining vigilant.  I believe peace will come.  You will be among those that made the transition possible.  I am grateful.

Sincerely, with great respect . . .

Betsy L. Angert

  • “Good Riddance Attention Whore.”  By Cindy Sheehan. Daily Kos.  May 28, 2007
  • Activist Unite. Veterans For Peace 2006 National Convention

    Photograph and Composition By Betsy L. Angert ©

    Recently, the political blogosphere has been buzzing with talk of action, activism, and conventions.  Some are seeking a connection to “real” American heroes.  Bloggers wish to show their support for the people that truly serve this nation.  Still, they want to promote peace.  This announcement might offer the opportunity some crave.  Veterans For Peace is hosting a National Convention.  The conference will begin August 10 and close on the 13th.  Speakers such as author John Perkins, peace loving Mom, Cindy Sheehan, and anti-war activist, Dahr Jamail will welcome attendees.  I will share the schedule and specifics below.

    Years ago, I discovered Veterans For Peace accidentally.  I was an active member of the Orange County Peace Coalition.  A person I not yet met, placed a request into the Coalition’s cyberspace.  James Ameen, veteran and co-organizer of Arlington West, Huntington Beach project, was looking for assistance.  Mr. Ameen was planning a performance piece, an installation, and a work of art.  He was documenting the deaths from this country’s most recent aggression, and memorializing these.

    Mr. Ameen and co-coordinator, Tom Lash, another Veteran for Peace, were focused.  They were seeking persons willing and able to contribute time and energy to their effort.  The hope was that they, along with others, would enlighten a seemingly apathetic public.  They would tell their personal tales of war and discuss the occurrences in Iraq.

    Upon meeting Mr. Ameen and discussing the undertaking, I became absorbed in this anti-war effort.  I regularly participated in this commemorative to fallen soldiers and civilians.  For months, Arlington West, Orange County became my home away from home. The Veterans For Peace organization became a close friend.

    I helped to construct, sand, and paint wooden crosses.  I placed these in the sand on the beach each weekend morning.  Twelve hours later, I lent a hand in loading these crosses into cars and then taking them to a safe storage.

    Each week I collected and updated the information necessary for the display.  I typed comments, created a database of passer-bys and interested parties.  I placed flowers on these headstones and I met many Veterans and active duty service persons during this endeavor.  Hours were dedicated to Peace and peace activism.  There were plenty devoted to destruction that passed by the installation.  They spoke of their beliefs; I listened and discussed my own.

    For me, the time I spent engaging with Veterans For Peace was fruitful.  Now, that experience might be yours.  I received this announcement and I wish to pass it on to you dear reader.  This is another opportunity for activist to unite.

    Veterans For Peace – 2006 National Convention

    Seattle, Washington, University of Washington Campus

    August 10 – 13, 2006

    “Sow Justice, Reap Peace: Strategies For Moving Beyond War.”

    Convention SpeakersJohn Perkins, Cindy Sheehan, and Dahr Jamail head an All-Star cast of speakers to the 2006 Veterans For Peace National Convention.

    And that’s not all.  This is shaping up to be an incredible list of speakers, and it doesn’t even include The Musicians!

    John Perkins, Cindy Sheehan, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, Brian Willson, Jennifer Harbury, Elliott Adams, Stacy Bannerman, Antonia Juhasz, Pablo Paredes, Malik Rahim, Bruce Gagnon, Diane Benson, Monica Benderman, Camilo Mejia, Majorie Cohn, Diane Rejman, Simona Sharoni, Diane Wilson, Anthony Arnove, Bridgett Cantrell, David Cline, Michael McPhearson, Gerry Condon, Eli Painted Crow, Mike Ferner, Vivian Felts, Ellen Finklestein, Lynn Fitzhugh, Tina Garnanez, Jennifer Harbury, Ed Heim, Andy Heims, Evan Kanter, Dan Kenner, John Kim, Kathleen McFerran, Alene Morris, Steve Morse, Paul William Roberts, David Swanson, Bob Wing, Todd Boyle and more . . .

    You will not get a recital of old, familiar material.  You will get the state of the art, the leading edge of thinking.  You will be in a conference room with Ray McGovern or Brian Willson or Dahr Jamail, in a discussion with other leading activists.

    This will be the biggest convention of the year for any serious student of nonviolent political change.

    Everyone in this struggle is welcome. Please join us!

    Convention Workshops

    Veterans for Peace Convention – August 10 – 13, 2006

    Workshop Schedule

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    2:30 – 3:45

    ? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Spreading the Peace/Anti-war Movement: Why is it so White and Middle-class? (Michael McPhearson and Bob Wing)
    ? Communication: Hearts and Minds: Spiritual Activism in a Time of War (Stacy Bannerman)
    ? Environment and Culture: A World of Hurt or Hope: The National Security Implications of Global
    ? Warming and Abrupt Climate Change, (John Seebeth)
    ? Human Effects of War: Finding the Way Back Home: Readjustment and Traumatic Stress (Drs. Bridgett Cantrell, Scott Michael, and Evan Kanter)
    ? Veteran Support: Vets4Vets, Peer Support, and Empowerment Groups for Iraq-era Veterans (Jim Driscoll.  Kelly Dougherty, Garett Reppenhagen)
    ? Issues of War: War profiteering and U.S. Strategic Goals in the Middle East (Dahr Jamail)
    4:00 – 5:15
    ? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Walking to New Orleans (Malik Rahim, Vivian Felts, Ward Reilly, Michael McPhearson et al)
    ? Communication: Creating Safety Through Connection: Nonviolent Communication (Kathleen Macferran)

    ? Environment and Culture: Agents of Destruction: DU and Agent Orange (David Cline et al)

    ? Human Effects of War: Writing About War by Live video feed from Toronto (Paul William Roberts)

    ? Veteran Support: International Panel (Frank Houde et al)

    ? Issues of War: Nuclear weapons (Carol Reilley Urner)

    Friday, August 11, 2006
    9:45 – 11:00

    ? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Counter recruitment

    ? Communication: How to Speak the Truth in Difficult Times (Alene Moris)
    Environment and Culture: The Peace Movement, Knowing What to do Next (Elliot Adams)
    ? Human Effects of War: Health Consequences of War: Challenges Beyond the Battlefield (Drs. Gene Bolles and Evan Kanter)
    ? Veteran Support: An American Peace Veteran in Vietnam (Diane Rejman)
    ? Issues of War: The Politics of Obedience: Breaking the Habit of Voluntary Servitude (Brian Willson)

    11:15 – 12:30

    ? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Waging Peace Workshops, an Overview (Elliot Adams)
    ? Communication: Voices of Women Veterans – (Ann Wright, Tina Garnanez and Eli Painted Crow)
    ? Environment: How Can We Avert the Converging Catastrophes of Global Climate Change, Global Oil Depletion, and the U.S. War Response to Oil?  (Roland James)
    ? Culture: Creating a Culture of Peace (Ellen Finkelstein)
    ? Veteran Support: Alternative Medicine Breakthroughs and PTSD and PTSD and EMDR – the End of the Nightmares (Lynn Fitz-Hugh and Dan Kenner)
    ? Issues of War: Structural Causes of War, Todd Boyle, and Antonia Juhasz
    2:00 – 3:15
    ? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Chapter Building (Patrick McCann)
    ? Communication: Practicing Nonviolent Communication (Bob Hendricks)
    ? International Issues: Israel/Palestine (Souliman al Khatib and Assaf Oron)
    ? Issues of War: Lies, Secrecy and Lawlessness – How to Stop the Coming Police State and Protect Yourself Along the Way (Ray McGovern and Ed Hein)
    ? Veteran Support: Resisting in the US and Canada (Gerry Condon and Pablo Paredes)
    ? Issues of War: Impeachment (David Swanson and Mike Ferner)

    3:45 – 5:00

    ? Innovations: Passing the Torch: Training Youth to be Peace Activists (Youth panel from FOR)
    ? Communication: Media (Virginia Rodino)
    ? Culture: Unity Beyond War Time (Andy Himes)
    ? Human Effects of War: Torture (Jennifer Harbury)
    ? Veteran Support: GI Rights and GI Advocacy (Steve Morse)
    ? Issues of War: Axis of Evil v. Great Satan (John Amidon, John Kim and Keith Leitich)

    We really hope you can join us.  It promises to be an exciting event.  Last year’s convention in Dallas kicked off Camp Casey, the Bring Them Home Now Tour, and the Katrina Relief Effort in the Gulf.  There is no telling what kind of momentum we’ll generate this year.  Come to Seattle and be a part of history!

    For more information and to register please see the following links:

    Convention Website:


    Convention Flyer:


    Registration Page:


    Register By Mail Form:


    Register By Phone: 206-543-7634

    Thank you,

    Veterans For Peace National Office

    216 S. Meramec Avenue

    St. Louis, Missouri 63105


    ? Orange County Peace Coalition.