Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter 2012

32777 Five Mile Road – Livonia, MI 48154

This discussion group focuses on issues related to multiple perspectives of peace and conflict. Works of nonfiction will be presented through different media types. It is FREE to the public. Suzanne Kaplan, Schoolcraft College Professor Emeritus, who has published in professional journals as well as in Discover Magazine and poetry in The Responsible Arts, will lead the discussions.


Thursday, January 26, 2012, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Waltz with Bashir: This 2008 film is an animated autobiography
of the 1982 war in Lebanon, written and directed by Ari Folman.

Thursday, February 23, 2012, 7-8:30 p.m.
On Killing: Author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman was nominated for the
Pulitzer Prize. His book is required reading for the FBI academy
and is recommended reading for the U.S. Marine Corps and many
colleges. Grossman is the world’s foremost expert on human aggression.

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 7-8:30 p.m.
End of War: Capt. Paul K. Chappell, a West Pointe Graduate who served
seven years in the U.S.Army, gives us a crucial look at war and peace through
his military experience in Iraq.

TO REGISTER: www.citizensforpeace11.blogspot.com (under current events),
email: rdoyle@cheerful.com, or by phone: 248-476-0791. SPACE IS LIMITED.

Ø Please check out book titles at least one-month prior to the discussion
and bring your own snacks, as no food will be provided.

Further readings about peace and conflict can be obtained from the Peace Collection on the 2nd floor of the Livonia Civic Center Library.

Sponsored by the Citizens for Peace

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk

Citizens for Peace present the documentary on the life of Peace Pilgrim at their December 13th meeting at Unity of Livonia at 7 p.m. It is a story of a woman on a mission to raise awareness of the necessity of peace.

From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only "Peace Pilgrim" walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food." In the course of her 28 year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. It continues to inspire people all over the world.

Everyone will receive the booklet “Steps Toward Inner Peace".
(full of Peace Pilgrim’s wisdom)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

11/11/11 Generations Concert!

Celebrate the 8th Anniversary of the Citizens for Peace with a fun concert!

Join us at Unity of Livonia at 7 p.m. for the Generations Concert. Only $10.00 for a very fun evening with Dean Rutledge, Steve Kowalski, & Harry Miller. They say they love harmony so much they'll sing almost anything! They are singing to help us raise funds for our Citizens for Peace Education Fund, which supports our Nonviolent Peace Collection we are donating to the libraries.

Dean Rutledge is a former member of the New Christie Minstrels and the Kingston Trio. (The picture of Dean was taken at our Moveable Peace Fundraiser in May).
Steve Kowalski and Harry Miller have played music since they were children. The combination of great harmony, skilled musicianship, fun songs, and joyful personalities make Generations a group that raises the peace and happiness level of all those who get to listen!

See you at Unity (28660 Five Mile Rd.) at 7 p.m. on 11/11/11!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What a special evening Wednesday was!

Paul Chappell's message that Peace Is Possible and We Can Achieve It was wonderful! The Citizens for Peace members were there to work the tables, sell items, set up refreshments, and help out as usual! Here's George, going back & forth to set up the refreshments. Peace work is sure fun!!!
Thank you everyone!!

Saturday night will be another celebration of peace! We are celebrating United Nations Day. We have David Levine's mellow cello; Paul's peace message; refreshments; the Peace Pals International Art Display; and Muruga and the Ceremonial Peace Band!

As Paul says, it only takes 1% to make a big change in society. We are that 1% creating a culture of peace. How exciting!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hi everyone,
I have sad news about Paul Chappell. Yesterday afternoon he emailed me saying that he would die if he didn't get hospitalized. He is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and is not able to come to Michigan at this time. I know you all wish him well.

He is sending two different DVD's of his talks. We will be showing one on Wednesday evening at Unity. Julie Beutel will start the evening off with her beautiful voice! We will have "peace cupcakes" made by our Citizens for Peace members! Please come!

Saturday evening is the Celebration of United Nations Day. We have the amazing cello of David Levine to greet us. We will show Paul's talk, have refreshments, and then be treated to the sounds of the joyful music from Muruga and the Ceremonial Peace Band!
Both events are at Unity of Livonia and begin at 7 p.m. All are welcome!

The Nonviolence Training will continue on Saturday, October 22nd. from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Scott Memorial United Methodist Church. Father Peter Dougherty will have the Michigan Peace Team fill in for Paul Chappell! This training is so important for all peace activists. I hope you can come.
Thank you to all of the peace groups that have supported Paul Chappell's visit. I hope we all can write a short note to Paul thanking him for all of his work for peace and wishing him well. I will send them to him from all of the peace people in Michigan. He needs encouragement to continue his important work!
I hope to see all of us come together to continue our work to create a nonviolent world of peace!
Thanks for your understanding!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paul Chappell Visits Michigan

The Citizens for Peace is bringing an outstanding peace leader to Michigan from October 19th to October 22nd!

Paul K. Chappell is the Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
He is a graduate of West Point and served in Iraq as an Army Captain.
While on active duty, Paul wrote two books:
Will War Ever End? A Soldier's Vision for Peace in the 21st Century, and
The End of War: How Waging Peace Can Save Humanity, Our Planet, and Our Future.
His books will be available for purchase at all of his speaking engagements.

His first talk, Why Peace Is Possible and How We Can Achieve It, will be Wednesday, October 19th at Unity of Livonia, at 7 p.m.
We are encouraging everyone who seeks a peaceful world to attend this free event.
Donations are appreciated.

Paul will be speaking to the students of Kim Redigan, at U of D High School on Thursday morning.

He will be sharing his unique perspective with the students in Mike Whitty's business class at the University of Detroit, on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m.

On Friday, October 21st Paul will visit the students at Marygrove College at noon thanks to Barb Beesley.

The Wayne State University Peace & Justice Learning Community will host Paul on Friday at 5 p.m. at the WSU Student Center Hillberry Room. This will be a question-based discussion open to all students and the public. Thanks to Melissa Ciaravino for organizing this event.

Paul will be offering Nonviolence Leadership Training on Saturday, October 22nd at Scott Memorial United Methodist (15361 Plymouth Rd. in Detroit) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This dynamic training is for youth (13 - 19) and adults (19 - 99+).
The youth will learn the 4G's from Peace Center Trained Reconciler Coach, Rod Toneye, and will join the all day adult session with Paul Chappell in the afternoon. The students are free. We are asking a $20.00 donation from adults. Lunch will be provided. This training is sponsored by the Detroit Renaissance Peace Center and the Citizens for Peace. To reserve your place, call Colleen Mills at 734-425-0079, or Barbara Talley at 248-356-0819.

On Saturday evening at 7 p.m., Paul will conclude his visit to Michgian as we celebrate the United Nations Day at Unity of Liovnia. We will be entertained by David Levine's String Quartet and Muruga and the Ceremonial Peace Band. Paul will have an interactive discussion of waging peace.

This is a wonderful opportunity for people seeking to understand peace and how to create it. We will learn from a young man who, despite experiencing a violent childhood, bullying, and war, is a peace leader who not only believes there can be world peace; but is devoted to teaching others how to achieve it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nancy Lightbody and Colleen Mills at the ONE PEACE Celebration of the UN International Day of Peace!

Celebrating Peace!

What a beautiful evening September 21st was!
The Citizens for Peace had the display of Peace Pals International children's art at the ONE PEACE event. Nancy Lightbody had the peace art from children of 63 different countries displayed so beautifully! This collection will be traveling to various libraries, schools and peace events as the Citizens for Peace reach out to more people with our message that peace is not only possible but is a right of the children of the world!

Thanks to all of our members who volunteered to make this event run smoothly.
Kathy Henning did a beautiful meditation on peace in the world. We had tables representing the United Nation Association, WILPF (Women's International League for Peace & Freedom), Michigan Peaceworks, Citizens for Peace, Moveable Peace (with George's Penny Poll), and the Michigan Peace Team.

The highlight of the evening was the Michigan premier of the film Globalized Soul!
Filmed at the Parliament of World Religions in Australia, the film focused on the hope for a peaceful future when participants of all religions recognize the value and similarity of everyone.

Let's hope that the one day of peace will keep increasing to 365 days of peace!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Before you speak imagine there are three gates in front of your mouth
The first gate IS IT TRUE If it is true proceed to the second gate
The second gate IS IT NECESSARY If it is true and necessary then proceed to the third gate
The third gate IS IT KIND If it is true, necessary, and kind
Then go ahead and speak

A Sufi Metaphor

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Friday, September 16, 2011


The Michigan premier of the film, “Globalized Soul” will be featured at the fourth annual ONE PEACE event celebrating the United Nations International Day of Peace
in the Livonia Civic Center Library auditorium, Wednesday, September 21st from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Filmed world-wide, “Globalized Soul” explores the oneness at the center of the colorful diversity among the world's religions. It shows spiritual leaders and activists coming together in search of unity in addressing the crises facing humanity and the earth.
Onscreen commentaries include the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. James Trapp, Sister Joan Chittister, and other notable religious leaders.

The cornerstone of the film is its coverage of one of the largest interfaith gatherings in history, "The Parliament of the World's Religions" held in Melbourne, Australia in December, 2009. The film follows two participants back to their homeland. Asha Mehta returns to India where she and her husband provide free prosthesis and therapy for people who can’t walk. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, cofounder of The Jerusalem Peacemakers, returns to Israel. His beautiful spirit is at the heart of the film.

In addition, an exhibition of children’s peace art from sixty three different countries will be displayed in the library atrium. The art is provided by Peace Pals International. There will also be tables from peace organizations: Citizens for Peace, the United Nations Association of Detroit, Michigan Peace Network, the Michigan Peace Team, Moveable Peace, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The Citizens for Peace is a sponsor of the ONE PEACE event. www.OnePeace.us. (734) 425-0079. Livonia Civic Center Library, 32777 Five Mile Rd.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mark Your Calendar for these September Peace Activities!

Sept 8th: 7 pm.: Colleen gives the talk at World Prayer Day at Unity of Livonia

Sept 13th 7 pm.: Citizens for Peace Meeting at Unity of Livonia. Members will share their book reports of selections of the Peace Collection. (www.citizensforpeace11.blogspot.com.)

Sept 15th 10 am – 2 pm.: Citizens for Peace table at Schoolcraft School DAZE. Volunteers needed.

Sept. 16th 7:00 and 9:30 p.m., Sept.17th 7:00 and 9:30 pm, Sept.18th 2:00 p.m.:

The Interrupters
is an epic documentary exploring violence in our cities at the DIA.

Sept. 17th 3: 30 pm.: Colleen will talk on the Body Mind Spirit Radio about the ONE PEACE event ant the Michigan premier of the film Globalized Soul.

(Go to www.bodymindspiritradio.com and listen online. Sign up as a fan!)

Sept. 18th 1 pm. – 4 pm.: 6th Annual PEACE (Promoting Ethnic And Cultural Equality) DAY, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. on the University of Michigan Diag .(920 N UNIVERSITY AVE). Kevin Szawala plans a very exciting peace event!! (www.michiganpeacenetwork)

Sept 21st 6:30 pm. – 9 pm:. ONE PEACE event at the Livonia Civic Center Library auditorium & atrium. Come see the Michigan premier of Globalized Soul and celebrate the UN International Day of Peace! (www.onepeace.us.) Volunteers needed.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Forgiveness allows us to experience our wholeness our oneness with all of life. It opens our eyes to experience the light and the essence of love that we are.

Gerald Jampolsky M. D.

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Citizens for Peace September 13th Meeting

The Reports on the Nonviolent Peace Collection will be the theme of our September meeting. This is the second year we will be sharing some of the wonderful books we have donated to the Library System. It is fun hearing the variety of books that are available to the public thanks to our gift of peace!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You can never live in the present and create a new and exciting future for yourself and your love partner, if you always stay stuck in the past
Unknown Author

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You can be right or happy but you cannot be both
Gerald Jampolsky

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Friday, August 05, 2011

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend
Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Peace advocates ‘walk the walk’

Sunday Times Newspapers
HEIGHTS – While most activists “talk the talk,” few can claim they also “walk the walk.”

Kim Redigan of Dearborn Heights, however, is not one to sit on the sidelines when she strongly believes in a cause.

That’s why, as the 2011 Moveable Peace Walk chairperson for Catholic peace movement Pax Christi of Michigan, she hopes to raise awareness about peace initiatives and inspire others to speak and act by putting their souls and soles into their cause.

From July 30 to Aug. 9, three Peace Walks will begin toward Lansing.

The peace walks are part of Moveable Peace 2011, which came together after the U.S. Social Forum, a self-described “movement-building process” last year in mid-June 2010 in Detroit.

“People from Michigan came together committed to peace,” Redigan said. “We came together and the deal was, what (can) we do to make Michigan a more peaceful place, how do we move toward an economy… that’s more sustainable, that’s more just, ‘how do we shift our spending so that human needs are met?’”

Redigan said the Catholic Saint Francis inspired her to suggest that they “take to the road” and listen to people’s suggestions for peace.

“My inspiration for the walk was that people need to be listened to,” Redigan said. “People are really angry, people are polarized, but people are not being listened to. So that was kind of the embryonic idea. From there it morphed into this big thing called Moveable Peace.”

The group has been meeting for almost a year and are now asking Michigan’s governor and the legislature to be the first state to set up a commission for peace and justice.

“Michigan has about 200 state commissions,” Redigan said. “There’s a commission on beets I think, but there’s nothing on peace and justice.”

She said that their group has been gathering signatures on petitions across the state to support the request.

Moveable Peace Walk groups plan to leave from Detroit, Grand Rapids and Saginaw on Saturday on the way to Lansing.

Along the Moveable Peace walk routes they also plan to temporarily create a “moveable commons” showcasing programs and ideas that support peace, justice and sustainability.

A blessing and send-off is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Central Methodist Church, 23 E. Adams in Detroit.

She said the walk also is designed to help break down political barriers between conservatives and liberals.

“We need to change people’s consciousness,” Redigan said. “This is not about politics; we are so beyond that right now. We’re not going to go anywhere if we don’t break through this left-right paradigm.”

Walkers hope to follow Grand River to Lansing, traveling about 10 miles per day. Along the way she said they plan to stop overnight on the west side of Detroit, in Farmington, New Hudson, Brighton and Howell. After Howell , they will stop in Hartland, Fowlerville, Williamsburg, and East Lansing before converging with the other Moveable Peace walkers in Lansing.

“We want to hear where people are at,” Redigan said. “We want to hear from workers who are unemployed, employed, (or) under-employed. What solutions do people have? There is always better wisdom in a group.”

Area walkers also include Annette Thomas of Clarkston, Jusif Barakat of Pinckney, Gretchen Smith of Lansing, Sharon O’Hare Bruce of Lake Orion and Rudy Wood of Ferndale. Rita Carey of Westland will serve as a driver and will manage logistics.

“The young people – this appeals to them because it’s out there, it’s active, (and) it’s moving. It’s not sitting around a table at a meeting like old people do,” Redigan said.

Colleen Mills, president of Livonia-based nonprofit Citizens for Peace, said in addition to engaging with people along the route of the Moveable Peace walk and listening to their concerns, they hope to collect petition signatures calling for a Michigan commission for peace and justice.

“We have to engage the young people,” Mills said, “and get them to feel that they’re part of creating their future, which is what this is all about.”

Mills said when she heard the concept of having a Michigan Commission for Peace and Justice it “spoke to (her) spirit.”

“I said ‘we have to do this,’” Mills said. “My belief is we have to have, in the structure of government, places for people to have input– the grassroots groups, the non-profit groups, which are huge employers in state, and make this group in this state feel they are part of the decision making.”

Mills added that Citizens for Peace realizes the need to appeal to and include everyone in their message of peace.

“Regardless of what they may think on certain issues, we are all humans and we’ve got to focus on the human beings in this state,” Mills said. “That’s why the idea of having a Michigan commission for peace and justice really appealed to me.”

The group is also planning a presence at the Mackinac Bridge Walk held during Labor Day weekend.

For more information about Moveable Peace, go to www.MoveablePeace.org, its Facebook page, or www.MichiganPeaceNetwork.org.
Never let yesterday use up today.

R.H. Nelson
Peace to You and Yours with Love

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Citizens for Peace Third Annual Veggie Potluck

The Citizens for Peace will hold their third annual Veggie Potluck at their August 9th meeting at 6:30pm at Unity of Livonia. The meeting is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a vegetarian dish to share or a donation of $5.00. After sharing dinner, the short film, “A Life Connected”, by Nonviolence United, will be shown and discussed. One of the messages in the film is that we have the ability to “feed ourselves and every hungry person on the planet” by using one powerful tool: our fork. Find out how our food choices affect everyone around the world, including the 40,000 people who starve to death daily. Join the discussion on how to expand our circle of compassion, live our values, and change the world. For more information call Colleen at 734-425-0079.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Budget Priorities Road Show at the Ann Arbor Art Fair

Kevin "Mr Peace" Szawala took his Budget Priorities Road Show to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Despite the heat,he kept a smile & continued to engage people in conversations about how we should spend our tax dollars.

George & Colleen volunteered at the table and encouraged people to sign the petition calling for a Michigan Commission for Peace & Justice. They picked the day when the record temperature was 100 degrees!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

(A Passage from the book A HIDDEN WHOLENESS)
The soul is generous: it takes in the needs of the world. The soul is wise: it suffers without shutting down. The soul is hopeful: it engages the world in ways that keep opening our hearts. The soul is creative: it finds a path between realities that might defeat us and fantasies that are mere escapes. All we need to do is to bring down the wall that separates us from our own souls and deprives the world of the soul’s regenerative powers.

Parker Palmer

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

~William Arthur Ward

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, July 02, 2011

We are all special, and none of us are special
A Course of Miracles

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, June 25, 2011

(A Passage from the book A HIDDEN WHOLENESS)

We have much to learn from within, but it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of the inner life. We have much to learn from others, but it is easy to get lost in the confusion of the crowd. So we need solitude and community simultaneously: what we learn in one mode can check and balance what we learn in the other. Together, they make us whole, like breathing in and breathing out.

But exactly how solitude and community go together turns out to be trickier than breathing. When we say we are in solitude, we often bring other people with us: think of how often our solitude is interrupted by an interior conversation with someone who is not there! When we say we are in community, we often lose track of true self: think of how easily we can forget who we are when we get entangled in group dynamics.

If we are to hold solitude and community together as a true paradox, we need to deepen our understanding of both poles. Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people; it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face–to–face with others: rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people; it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone. When we understand solitude and community in these ways, we also understand what it means to create a circle of trust; a space between us that is hospitable to the soul, a community of solitude where we can be alone together.

Parker Palmer

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Monday, June 13, 2011


Come to a fun evening of peace games and support Moveable Peace! The Citizens for Peace is sponsoring a games night with easy to learn games, refreshments and prizes.
Admission is $10. to help with the Budget Priorities Road Show that will be traveling around Michigan with a Penny Poll, video camera to tape residents sharing their ideas, and the petition calling for a Michigan Commission for Peace & Justice.
This is your opportunity to contribute to this peace effort while having a lot of fun!
For more information, call Colleen at 734-425-0079.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

See Me Beautiful
Look for the best in me.
That’s what I really am
And all I want to be.
It may take some time,
It may be hard to find,
But see me beautiful.

See me beautiful
Each and every day:
Could you find a way
To see me shinning through
In everything I do
And see me beautiful?

Kathy and Red Grammer

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Earth Charter is the Topic of the June 14th Citizens for Peace Meeting

The Tuesday, June 14th meeting of the Citizens for Peace will have a presentation by Nancy Seubert, on the Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace Section of the Earth Charter. Nancy is the coordinator of the IHM (Immaculate Heart of Mary) Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office.

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-
being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a product of decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.

The public is invited to the meeting at Unity of Livonia (Five Mile between Middlebelt & Inkster). The meeting begins at 7 pm.

For more information, call Tada Gunter at 734-425-0120.

What an honor to be part of Arlington Michigan in Livonia this year!
The display was a powerful reminder of the true cost of war.
Thank you to the Veterans for Peace for making the display.
A special thank you to Steve Saelzler for devoting his entire Memorial Day to
this event. He said "Some people curse the darkness. We bring light to the world."
Thank you to all of the Citizens for Peace for volunteering to be at the exhibit
for the nine hours the display was up.
Many people drove or walked by and were reminded of the meaning of Memorial Day.
The people who came to spend time reflecting, praying, remembering loved ones, or thinking of all of our soldiers, were grateful for the opportunity.
Here's a link to some photos of the day. Peace, Colleen


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The story of a love is not important—what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.

—Helen Hayes

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Monday, May 16, 2011

Citizens For Peace Blog Page Views
May 2009 to May 2011

Don't you find this amazing? People from many countries have viewed our blog! Peace is  certainly a topic of interest not just to us but to many others.

These numbers came from Blogger our blog publisher.

Playing for Peace Concert: A Great Kickoff for Moveable Peace!

A good time was had by all of the attendees at the Playing for Peace Concert! So many talented musical artists donated their time & talent to support the kickoff of Moveable Peace: an effort to "move peace" all over Michigan! Thanks to all of the artists, the Citizens for Peace volunteers, the Moveable Peace Committee, and especially to Kevin "Mr. Peace" Szawala for contributing to the success of a beautiful evening!
The big surprise was having "Generations" joining us at the last minute! Dean Rutledge (center of photo playing the banjo) played with the Kingston Trio, the New Christi Minstrals, and was the opening act for Peter, Paul & Mary! It brought back such lovely memories!
I felt the "peace energy" & good vibrations all night!
Thanks to our performers:
John Wilson, Bill Meyer, Ryan Castelli, Joe Kidd & the Sedition World Orchestra, Diane Western, David Nefesh, John Smolinski, Michael Krieger, Rev. Matthew Long, Ruby Woods, Generations: Harry Miller, Steve Kowalski, Dean Rutledge, Judy Insley, Floyd Raeon, Xavier Moore, Darrin Breil and Kevin 'Mr Peace' Szawala!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Friday Night concert was great. I enjoyed the variety of music and
their language of peace.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Everyone has a purpose in life – a unique gift or special talent to give to others.
Deepak Chopra

Peace to You and Yours With Love

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kevin Szawala Shares Information about Moveable Peace, The Playing for Peace Concert, and His Poetry & new CD at Citizens for Peace Meeting!

Kevin "Mr. Peace" Szawala, the state coordinator of the Department of Peace Campaign, gave a thoughtful talk at our May meeting. He shared the information about the Budget Priorities Road Show he will be taking all over Michigan. He will be performing at the Playing for Peace Concert Friday, May 13th at Unity. He will join an eclectic group of artists to support Moveable Peace. Join us!

Here's one of his poems he shared with us.
Thanks Kevin! Peace, Colleen

"Jobs N' Human Needs Under Attack" by 'Mr. Peace'

I was asked 2 speak 2day 2 send people off on an upbeat note
So I wanted 2 share with u all a little something that I wrote
Social n' political unrest, economic turbulence
N' all these tax cuts 4 the rich that just don't make sense!
See, we're gathered here 2day because our jobs, education, quality of life n' human needs, r all under attack,
But we're optimistic becuz' 'People Power' is startin' 2 make a comeback
U look 2 examples like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya n' Madison, Wisconsin
The epicenter of the Midwest 2 reverse a wave of unprecedented revisions with legislation
Fightin' 2 defend worker's rights n' doin' whatever it takes
N' we'll do the same thing, even if that means weeks of non-stop protests, here in the Great Lakes State!
Cuz' it ain't fair when the working families n' middle class r forced 2 suffer n' live on smaller budgets
No, we need Systematic Change 2 put a stop 2 the Big Corporation tax cuts
We gotta band 2gether, it's time 4 all of us 2 unite!
It's our Collective Responsibility; staying 'Collective' 4 Collective Bargaining in this fight!
N' people often ask me if all of this stuff makes me lose sleep at nite
I simply reply, "Yeah, u better believe it! N' I won't rest 'til I see the Light,
Begin 2 shine thru the Dark Room of Injustice, where People, finally come b4 Profits!
N' the terms, "Common Good" n' "Just Society", become a top priority, not just the next looked over topic
I even heard it said here 2day in this room, where we treat these democratic wordz just like Oxygen
Where u can't breathe w/o them, similar 2 not bein' able 2 live w/o bein' surrounded by water here in Michigan
So let's take action, collaboratively address these issues head on by calling on our Congress,
N' by signin' a Petition az a Coalition 2 form a Commission 4 Peace n' Justice
We will prevail n' do what's necessary 2 alter the course of history
There's Power in Numbers, n' our Numbers r Growin', az we reach more n' more communities
Yeah, my hope 4 a brighter, a more just 2morrow, comes from all the energy that each one of you brings
N' the powerful phrase that made sure the country we live in would never be the same: "Let Freedom Ring!"

Peace In.
Kevin 'Mr. Peace'Szawala

Monday, May 09, 2011

Colleen Mills Invited to Talk on The Tony Show Friday Morning At 7a.m.!

The Tony Trupiano show is back on am 1310!

His show is called First Shift and airs Monday through Friday from 6 am - 9 am. He invited me to talk about the Playing for Peace Concert kickoff event for Moveable Peace at 7 am this Friday! Call in and support Tony's show. The call in number is 888-552-3595. You can also listen live online at www.thetonyshow.org.

"First Shift with Tony Trupiano is devoted to the higher idea of what community is and toward that end our goal on a daily basis is to shed light where there is darkness, expose wrong and to establish right, create opportunity and provide a platform for extended debate but also to provide, expect, and demand solutions to problems."
...from thetonyshow.org website.
Peace, Colleen

Arlington Michigan

Join the Veterans for Peace and the Citizens for Peace as we observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 30, 2011. Stop by and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day at Arlington Michigan, a display of crosses with the photo and name of each Michigan soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The display will be at the Livonia Civic Center Park (South side of Five Mile, East of Farmington Rd.) from 9 am - 6 pm. PEACE! Colleen

Sunday, May 08, 2011

What a Busy Week for the Citizens for Peace!

In one week we visited our Senator, our Congressman and Congressman Conyers to talk about peace! Colleen is giving Congressman Conyers a folder with the US Peace Index, information about Moveable Peace, the flyers for the Playing for Peace Concert and Arlington Michigan, and the MI Department of Peace Political Action Guide. He invited her to come to his office and discuss all of the information. He hadn't heard about the US Peace Index or Moveable Peace. He suggested a forum with Congressman McCotter in the 11th District and in his District. He is supportive of HR 808 and the People's Budget! I look forward to working with Congressman Conyers this summer!
Peace, Colleen

Rosemary Doyle Delivers a Book Instead of a Pie

Rosemary Doyle delivered the book "A History of War" and the Press Release on the US Peace Index to Congressman McCotter's office for the Mother's Day "Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie" Campaign. She also provided a letter from Colleen Mills, President of the Citizens for Peace, requesting that the Congressman support HR 808 and share the information of the US Peace Index with his colleagues. We will share his response.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The fundamental difference between creating and problem solving is simple. In problem solving, we seek to make something we do not like go away. In creating we, we seek to make what we truly care about exist. Few distinctions are that basic.

Peter Senge

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Peace Wants A Piece of the Pie Mother's Day Visit.

We visited Senator Stabenow's office for the annual Mother's Day "Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie" campaign. Gloria arranged the meeting with Barbara McCallahan, senator Stabenow's assistant. We had a great discussion of the new US Peace Index that focuses on using funds for social uplift to save billions of dollars and create millions of jobs. We requested Senator Stabenow to introduce the Department of Peace legislation in the Senate and to share the US Peace Index findings with her colleagues. Tada, Colleen, Sally and Gloria are shown with Barbara McCallahan.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The following email I received helped me understand my mixed feelings over the death of Osama. I have feelings of sadness and relief. Killing another human being does not seem to be the right thing to do to bring justice. However, knowing that he no longer exists really means
that there may be a new beginning, hopefully, for the better. This article was an examination of
conscience for me. What do you think? Rosemary Doyle, Citizens for Peace

Dear Mr. Bin Laden,
Just so you know. I won?t be having cocktails at the White House or
marching in the streets to celebrate your passing. When I heard you
were gone, I only felt sadness. It is not a sadness that comes from
any sort of love or solidarity or even pity. Do not misunderstand me.
It is a deep sadness that comes when we glorify and justify violence
as a means to destroy what we deem evil. It is something you were
especially good at.
So why am I sad? I have sadness that your hatred has poisoned and
murdered so many; sadness that fear and revenge is called justice;
sadness that we Americans have justified tens of thousands of deaths
in Afghanistan, nearly 1 million in the Iraq war, and many other
targeted killings in Pakistan that weren?t you. I imagine we will see
your death as a ?successful campaign? with no American lives lost. The
irony will escape us. I wonder if it does you.
We talk about ?the enemy? and ?evil? when we speak of you. Since that
bitter September day in 2001, we have used the word evil as if a human
can be evil to their core. You join the ranks of evil-doers like
Hitler and Mussolini. My guess is that in some way, you have enjoyed
that, although you knew we were wrong. You embraced that sort of
extreme ideology that labeled Americans and others who disagreed with
you as evil. For you, and for us, the way we try to remove evil is to
hunt it down and kill it, saying ?praise god? all the way down. We?re
not so very different, you and we Americans.
?We think evil acts (and people) should be taken care of through war
and violence
?We call upon God to justify our violence
?We use our financial resources to support wars that agree with us
across the world
?We recruit our children to be our front line warriors while we give
orders from board room
Mr. Bin Laden, I think that what you stood for and how you worked was
evil, but I never thought you were. Even you were not outside the
possibility of grace and change. I think of you as wounded and broken,
mislead, oppressed and wrong, but not evil.
I suppose that makes me an extremist also. But, if I am going to be an
extremist, it will be to say that no human being is evil, not even
you. You will be accountable for your actions and although I do not
fancy standing beside you ?when the roll is called up yonder,? I do
not hold those things in my hands. And I believe that love survives
and that grace can change and heal us AND those we offend ? and that
it is not my job to decide what happens to you.
I won?t be the life of anyone?s death party.
So now, partly because I know your body will not receive any burial
prayer, I offer a prayer for your death. And it is to our mutual
God of love, Creator of all good and precious human beings. We offer
to you our brother, Osama Bin Laden. He came into this world just like
we did, born into imperfection and a broken and unjust world, human
with potential for so much good. He made choices that took him on a
horrible path. He hurt so many of your beautiful children. We know he
is accountable to his actions and attitudes. Will you help those
innocent ones whose lives he has destroyed to forgive him so that they
can move forward into love? Will you open up the eyes of those who
have loved and admired him to the possibility of grace and kindness
toward even those they fear? Will you please take all of our feelings
and after we have had a season to acknowledge them, create something
hopeful out of them? Please break through the bitterness of fear and
revenge and bring healing. We want to give him into your hands, though
we do not know if our hearts will let us. We trust that your broken
heart can somehow heal us and even him. A-men.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What: Playing for Peace Concert
Where: Unity of Livonia, on Five Mile Road between Middlebelt & Inkster
When: Friday, May 13, 2011, 7-9:30pm – doors open at 6:30pm
Who: Musicians performing to raise funds for Moveable Peace – all welcome

Livonia, MI – A dozen talented local musical performers will be Playing For Peace during a 2 ½ hour concert at Unity of Livonia, Friday, May 13. The eclectic peace players will render performances, ranging from pop, blues, and jazz, to country and folk, to hip hop suitable for all ages.

The concert features 30-year veteran entertainer Bill Meyer, country folk artist Joe Kidd, pop/rock/folk songs of David Nefesh, soulful, a cappella vocals of Ruby Woods, and uplifting songs of Michael Krieger. The contemporary acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo sounds of Judy Insley and Floyd Raeon will include a touch of bluegrass. Kevin Mr. Peace” Szawala will perform consciousness-raising hip-hop aimed at today’s youth. Many of these local favorites will have CDs and performance schedules available.

The Peace Players will perform to raise funds for a statewide effort this summer by a coalition of Michigan Peace groups to increase awareness of the need for a viable culture of peace. Termed “Moveable Peace” the summer activities include coordinated community events, a traveling mobile exhibit featuring a nine foot tall “Peace Mama” puppet, and Peace emissary Kevin Szawala.

A ten-day peace walk from all over the state to Lansing, a convergence of peace representatives statewide at the Mackinaw Bridge on Labor Day, and participation in the Detroit Labor Day Parade are planned.

Highlight of the summer’s activities will be the submission of a petition to the state legislature and governor requesting the establishment of a Michigan Commission for Peace & Justice.

A donation of $10 per person is requested at the concert. Unity of Livonia is located on Five Mile Road between Middlebelt & Inkster. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

For more information contact Colleen Mills, Citizens for Peace, at 734-425-0079 or cmills0079@yahoo.com
Join us for our May 10th Citizens for Peace Meeting!

Kevin "Mr. Peace" Szawala will be talking about the Moveable Peace Budget Priorities Road Show he will be conducting all over Michigan this summer. He will share the information about Peace Pizzazz, an annual event in Western Michigan sponsored by the 6th District Department of Peace group. Kevin is the State Coordinator of the Michigan Department of Peace Campaign. He is a motivational speaker who at a young age has devoted his life to creating more peace on our planet starting right here in Michigan. It will be a fun and informative presentation. See you at Unity of Livonia on Tuesday, May 10th at 7 pm. Bring your friends!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Oliver W. Holmes

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Sunday, April 03, 2011


What: Unmasking Youth Violence
When: April 12, 7:00 PM
Where: Unity of Livonia, 28660 Five Mile Road between Middlebelt & Inkster roads

Unmasking Youth Violence is the topic of the Citizens for Peace monthly meeting Tuesday, April 12th at Unity of Livonia. The public is invited.

Guest speaker David J. Harding, PhD, University of Michigan, will highlight the social organization of violence in poor communities. He will examine consequences of growing up in a violent environment and how violence affects adolescent decision making as well as how it affects other aspects of their lives.

A Harvard graduate, Dr. Harding is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Ford School of Public Policy Research. He has studied urban poverty and inequality, incarceration & prison reentry for the past ten years.

The Citizens for Peace is a non sectarian, non profit community based organization working to create a culture of Peace.

Meetings begin promptly at 7 p.m. at Unity of Livonia, 28660 Five Mile Road between Middlebelt & Inkster roads. For further information contact Colleen Mills at 734-425-0079/ cmills0079@yahoo.com.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congratulations Sally!

Sally Peck, our Inner Peace Director, was presented with the Annual Purple Ribbon for Peace Award at the Pax Christi Conference on Saturday, March 26th! Sally is a life-long peace activist who worked to eliminate the death penalty. Her acceptance speech was very powerful. She mentioned Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote "A country that spends more on its military than programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." What an inspiration and example to all of your grandchildren who were there!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Those who live passionately teach us how to love. Those who love passionately teach us how to live
~ Sarah Breathnach

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart, from thought to your authenticity

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Citizens for Peace and Madonna University Present a Nonviolent Film Festival

“Peacemaking is not for wimps”, someone once said. The Citizens for Peace Nonviolent Film Series which begins Wednesday, April 6th at Madonna University, clearly illustrates that.

These films will be shown to the public – one each Wednesday for 3 weeks- and will highlight unique and powerful methods of bringing about Peace in nonviolent ways.

On April 6th “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, will be aired. It is a riveting account of how brave, relentless women prevented rival tribal warlords and a cruel dictator from tearing apart the West African nation of Liberia. Fed up with years of internal strife that threatened the existence of that nation, these visionary women used nonviolent tactics to bring about the rebuilding of Liberia after decades of civil strife.

Special guest speaker Barbara Tally, Executive Director of the Detroit West District Peace Center, will facilitate a discussion afterwards and share her experiences in Liberia.

Next, on April 13th, “The Singing Revolution” celebrates how the people of tiny Estonia (population 1.3 million) threw off the shackles of the Soviet Union, not with weapons, but with song! Yes, using song, a million people came together on the brink of extinction to fulfill a dream.

Finally, on April 20th, Hollywood actor & United Nations Messenger for Peace, Michael Douglas, narrates “Soldiers of Peace”. This film illustrates how some of the worlds’ problems can be dealt with in positive ways. People working creatively for peace in Columbia, Ireland, England, Liberia, Nigeria, USA, & Kenya will be featured.

All films will be shown at 7 p.m. in Madonna University’s new Franciscan Center. Turn right on Bridget Drive, off Schoolcraft, west of Levan. Free parking in West lots A & B. Refreshments are available. Donations: $5.00 per event. Students: free.

For additional information, phone or email Colleen Mills 734-425-0079/ cmills0079@yahoo.com

Friday, March 11, 2011

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.

Kate D. Wiggins

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Could So Many Murder So Many?

This is the question Robert Weir will pose at our March 8th Citizens for Peace meeting.
The Holocaust is not only about Germans and Jews but about any people, anytime, anywhere! Robert will share his experiences visiting the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe in East Berlin starting with a 12 minute video followed by a discussion of the similarities between then and now. Bring your friends to this powerful presentation!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past,
but by the love we’re not extending in the present.
~ Marianne Williamson

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique… a change of heart.
~ J. Welwood

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Season of Nonviolence is from Jan. 30 - April 4!
Let us all make the commitment to practice nonviolence in our thoughts, words and actions every day.

Our February meeting has the theme "Choosing Nonviolence". We will be discussing 4 peacemakers:
Thoreau, Gandhi, King & Anderson Sa.

Think about how you practice nonviolence in your own life.

See you at our meeting at Unity of Livonia, Feb. 8th at 7 pm.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement you can transform your life.

Your best is going to change from moment to moment: it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Don Miguel Ruiz

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The only way to master love, is to practice love.
—Don Miguel Ruiz

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Moveable Peace Presents a Letter Requesting a Michigan Commission of Peace and Justice!

The Citizens for Peace support the effort to "Move Peace" all over Michigan.
I have drafted a letter that will have a petition for the creation of the Commission of Peace and Justice. It will be presented on August 9th after a 10 day walk to Lansing. Here is the first draft. Comments are appreciated. Peace, Colleen

Letter of Petition for the Creation of a Michigan Commission of Peace & Justice

“The underlying key to success…is to change our culture. We need to go from negative to positive, we need to stop looking in the rear-view mirror and look toward the future. We need to stop being divisive and start being inclusive.” - Gov. Rick Snyder

The leadership expressed by our new governor gives hope to the 150 groups in the Michigan Peace Network – www.michiganpeacenetwork.com. It is time to celebrate the achievements of our citizens groups with the recognition necessary to continue moving Michigan in a positive direction. It is time to include the peace and justice community in the structure of our government. With the vision of changing our culture to one of peace, we submit this letter to Governor Rick Snyder.

To the Honorable Rick Snyder:

The Michigan Department of State Police posted the 2009 FBI Regional Violent Crime Report indicating that Michigan accounts for over 20% of the murders, rapes and aggravated assaults of the 12 Midwestern States.

The U.S. Census web site indicates that approximately 1,347,721 Michigan citizens live in poverty and about 1.8 million Michigan residents are the working poor without enough to cover their basic needs.

The peace and justice community sees a connection with the money spent on war, and the lack of money going to the State of Michigan to help with the human needs that must be met to assure a culture of peace.

By supporting and highlighting the work of the various organizations and groups working for peace and justice around the State, a Michigan Commission of Peace & Justice could be the catalyst for positive change.

It is time to raise our citizens’ awareness of the many peace and justice groups operating to improve the lives of all the residents of our state. Representatives from the groups could serve the State of Michigan by providing information, suggestions and alternative solutions to our problems. Utilizing the awareness of the grassroots network working in Michigan will assist our state in articulating and implementing positive changes to move Michigan closer to creating a culture of peace.

Therefore, we the people of the State of Michigan are respectfully calling on the Governor and the Legislature to create a State of Michigan Commission of Peace & Justice.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
~Chinese Proverb
Peace to You and Yours with Love

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rabbi Michael Lerner
Join or Donate Now!
When Generosity, Love, and Kindness are Public Policy, the Violence We Saw in Arizona (& is pervasive in American culture) Will Dramatically Diminish
by Rabbi Michael Lerner

The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gifford and the murder of so many others in Arizona has elicited a number of policy suggestions, from gun control to private protection for elected officials, to banning incitement to violence on websites either directly or more subtly (e.g., Sarah Palin’s putting a bull’s-eye target on Gifford’s congressional district to indicate how important it would be to eliminate her from the Congress).
On the other hand, we hear endless pleas to recognize that the assassin was a lonely and disturbed person whose choice of Hitler’s Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books reflects his own troubled soul, not his affinity to the “hatred of the Other” that has manifested in anti-immigrant movements that have spread from Arizona to many other states and in the United States has taken the form of anti-Islam, discrimination against Latinos, and the more extreme right-wing groups that preach hatred toward Jews.

The problem with this debate is that the explanatory frame is too superficial and seeks to discredit rather than to analyze. I fell into this myself in the immediate aftermath of the murders and attempted assassination. I wrote an op-ed pointing to the right wing’s tendency to violent language and demeaning of liberals and progressives, and its historical tie to anti-Semitism and anti-feminism. Once I heard that the arrested assassin had a connection to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, I reacted from my own childhood pain at realizing that most of my extended family had been murdered by the Nazis. So I pointed to the current violent language used by the right-wing radio hosts and some of the leaders and activists of the Tea Party, and how their discourse helps shape the consciousness of those in pain and provides them with a target. But the problem really is much deeper, so I’m sorry I put forward an analysis that was so dominated by my own righteous indignation that it may have obscured a deeper analysis, and mistakenly insinuated that all Arizonans were responsible for the racism in the current policies toward immigrants and that all people on the Right embrace the hate rhetoric of some of their most extremely popular hate addicts like Glenn Beck, or the ignorance of history that led Sarah Palin to label as "blood libel" the criticisms directed at her. I apologize again, as much for the tone of anger as for the content of that kind of generalization. And although Michael Bader has made a persuasive case that we must challenge media that pretends that use of threats of violence comes as much from the Left as the Right (see his piece at www.tikkun.org), I was very happy that President Obama's call for tolerance and mutual respect seemed to be getting a good response across the political spectrum (and only wish that his call to avoid violence was adopted by his own administration in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and around the world--apparently unaware that if you train your own population to go kill people around the world, some will come home with a love of guns and a certainty that violence and toughness are the ways to deal with problems).

So here is the analytic key to understanding what we must do:
We live in a society in which the fundamental framework of meaning to life has broken down as the ethos of selfishness, materialism, looking out for number one, and “making it” at all costs, endemic to the capitalist order and a part of all previous class based or patriarchal societies. People increasingly see each other through the framework of “what can YOU do to advance my interests, pleasures, or desires?” People are valued by the capitalist order to the extent that we can help the elites of wealth and power increase their wealth and power. When we no longer can, we find ourselves unemployed and desperate to survive economically, socially ostracized, and lonely. No wonder, then, that so many people decide that the only rational behavior is to maximize their own advantage and pursue their own self-interest without regard to the consequences for others. In so doing, we mis-recognize each other, and are in turn mis-recognized by everyone else. Instead of being seen as the embodiment of a sacred or holy or God energy (what religious people call “being created in God’s image”), we are seen as beings whose primary value is based on whether we can fulfill someone else’s agenda. And in that sense, we are not recognized for who we most really and deeply are! This misrecognition makes us feel lonely and misunderstood by almost everyone.

When surrounded by people who only see you in these narrow utilitarian or instrumental terms, many people feel lonely (even inside their own families) and devalued. Of course, this plays out differently for different people. Some will simply become depressed and withdrawn. Others seek comfort in alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, or promiscuous consumption of material things. Still others will seek the momentary experience of solidarity with someone at a football or baseball game when their team is winning, or in a religious or political movement that affirms their value but demeans everyone outside their side, or even in the fantasized community they access through Facebook or other online adventures.

And then there are many who find no such compensatory framework for the real pain that they share with so many millions of others. They become lonely and withdrawn and retreat into their own fantasy world, and in more extreme cases become mentally ill or otherwise dysfunctional. It is a huge mistake to imagine that these conditions develop independent of the social order--just ask yourself why the proportion of violence in the US compared to our population is so much greater than that in other advanced industrial societies (clue: it is not in our genes, it is in the way we have organized our society).

We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives have called for a new kind of politics that seeks to build a society based on love, kindness and generosity — we call it “The Caring Society — Caring for Each Other, Caring for the Earth.”

Several of the people who knew the assassin said that they knew that he was acting weird and felt the need to stay away from him. A community college ousted him. No one thought to organize a group of people to reach out to him, to help him out of his isolation or to get him connected to professionals who might treat him. That is just not part of the ethos of a “looking out for number one” society. Too many people have been taught to think “don’t get involved with someone else’s problems — it might get you into trouble in unpredictable ways.”
So many people walk by the homeless, angry at them for having reminded us of the daily suffering caused by an economic system of which we are part but which we do not think we could change without spending a lot more energy than we have, and risking potentially dangerous confrontations with the rich and powerful forces that control our society. We don’t want to get involved with them, not only because doing so may open us to be vulnerable to their suffering, but also because we ourselves don’t feel that we’ve gotten the recognition we deserve for our own suffering, so “why should I spend my time involving myself with these strangers whose suffering would only add to my burden, particularly since I doubt I have the capacity to do much for them?”

Too many people imagine that we can simply turn our back on the suffering of others, or control it through a military, police, and psychiatric system when the daily barrage of media propaganda hasn’t been sufficient to keep the “dangerous others” in line. Yet we are mistaken, because the suffering of others cannot be escaped and manifests in the election of increasingly right-wing politicians, in crime, and in psychotic behavior from people who may someday enter our personal space in a violent way as did the assassin in Tucson! At your local supermarket, or on the highways, or in a movie theatre or coffee shop or in a shopping mall, or where your children go to school! It has already happened in all of these places, and it will get worse!!! Or perhaps you imagine you could just stay in your home and never leave, and thus be protected? A far more rational, though by no means easy, way to get lasting protection for yourself and your children or grandchildren is to create the Caring Society.

Creating a caring society would require a new bottom line so that every social and governmental policy, every corporation, every school and university, and even every personal behavior is judged to be rational, productive or efficient not only to the extent that it maximizes money or power, but also to the extent that it maximizes love and caring, kindness and generosity, and ethical and ecological sensitivity, as well as enhances our capacity to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of all that is. Allow yourself to imagine a society based on these principles, teaching them in schools, making them the core of the message of the media, and rewarding the behavior of those who embody this New Bottom Line in their work world and/or in their personal lives. This is the Public Policy that would make a huge reduction in violence in our lives and our society!!!

Two major policy initiatives embody this approach and need your support:

1. The ESRA (Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment) to the U.S. Constitution being introduced into Congress this week on the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision. The ESRA aims not only to overturn that decision but also to eliminate all private money in national elections and replace it with public funding. It requires media to supply free and equal time for all major candidates while banning private advertising during the months before the election, and it requires large corporations to get a new corporate charter once every five years — a process that requires them to prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a jury of ordinary citizens using the new bottom line as their guide for assessing corporate social responsibility. The ESRA also requires teaching the values of caring for each other and for the earth at every grade level in any school receiving public funding directly or indirectly (please read it and ask your elected representatives and your city council and state legislature to endorse it — www.spiritualprogressives.org/ESRA and join our campaign to build public support).

2. The GMP (Global Marshall Plan) which would replace the strategy of domination as the way to achieve Homeland Security with a strategy of generosity. The GMP would commit the United States to dedicating 1-2 percent of our annual Gross Domestic Product each year for the next twenty to a program to eliminate domestic and global poverty, homelessness, hunger, and inadequate education and inadequate health care. The program would also seek to repair the global environment and enlist all the other advanced industrial countries in this same venture. (Please read it and ask your elected representatives and your city council and state legislature to endorse it at www.spiritualprogressives.org/GMP and join our campaign to build public support.)

Only within a society whose economic and political institutions are reshaped around this new bottom line do we have a chance of dramatically reducing violence and increasing our safety as individuals or our “homeland security” as a society. It’s not enough to have love in our hearts, because the assumptions and consciousness that is shaped by our contemporary schools, media, and daily experience in the world of work dramatically shape the minds of everyone around us in ways that make it near impossible for anyone but the most privileged or the born saints to keep true to the values of love, kindness, generosity, and caring for each other and the earth while we maneuver through daily life and try to make a living.
Anything short of that societal transformation toward the Caring Society is actually utopian and fanciful, and leads to blaming each other or some group or policy option for the irrational behaviors that are tearing our society apart. So, yes of course, gun control would be helpful as would more psychological support services. Yes, the violent discourse of the Right, like the violence that young men are taught to esteem as they are given the option of “serving their country” through the armed services with its legalized murder of Afghanis and Iraqis, and the media saturation with violence all contribute to our normalizing individual and social pathology, are not just “background” but infuse the consciousness of everyone with the notion that violence is the “realistic way” to deal with whoever is deemed “the enemy.”

We Americans shut our eyes to the 12,000-20,000 children under the age of five who die each day (approximately 12 million a year) from hunger or diseases related to malnutrition and inadequate health care facilities around the world. We don’t even count this as violence, though the mal-distribution of wealth and hence of food and health care are part of the system in which we daily participate and to which we pay our taxes and support by our consumerism. We shut our eyes to the suffering of the poor in our own society, not realizing that in so doing or in supporting lower taxes and cuts of government services we are striking out against the poor in violent ways, guaranteeing that they will be thrown from their homes and denied adequate food, shelter, and health care. We refuse to see the structural violence built into the daily operations of the global economic system of which we are a central part and the violence that we do when we vote against those who would provide adequate support for the poor, the homeless, the downtrodden.

Yet we must not forget that all this violence is only a manifestation of the violence to our humanity that occurs daily in a society in which each of us is constantly being devalued and mis-recognized unless we clawed our way to the top of the economic or political ladders to become “successful.” So I understand and sympathize with those on the Right who say, “hey, don’t blame me” because in fact their behaviors are just another part of the cry of pain that so many people feel deeply and have no way of understanding or dealing with. Our society is bursting with the silent screams of tens of millions of people suffering systematic and daily assaults on their dignity, their humanity, and their capacities to be loving, kind, gentle, and generous. So much unrecognized and pervasive pain! Until we transform this big picture, all the little efforts, all the noble reforms, all the good intentions, will amount to little. Moreover, and this is the point missed by those who say “later we’ll deal with that pain, but first we must defeat the Right and provide jobs and food and shelter,” we will never be in a position to deliver on people’s material needs until we build a movement of the majority of Americans to do that, and we will never succeed in building such a movement until we can effectively address this pervasive pain and provide adequate alternatives to the pain reduction provided by fundamentalist religions, drugs, alcohol, profligate materialism, and politics aimed at blaming some relatively powerless group for all the pain whose origin actually lies in the fundamental ethos of our global economic and political system. And that, more than anything else, is why we need a worldwide tikkun olam (healing, repair and transformation of the world). How to get there is described in the Spiritual Covenant with America that guides Tikkun's action and education arm: The Network of Spiritual Progressives.

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue. To see how to turn these ideas into actual political practice, read the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ESRA) and the Global Marshall Plan (GMP), and then please join as a member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (all can be found at www.spiritualprogressives.org).
Slow down, pause, become still. Notice your breath and breathe.
With softness and tenderness bring awareness to
How we focus on our differences rather than our similarities
How we find guilt in our brothers/sisters rather than their innocence
How we seek for all the answers outside our self when all the answers are within
How we come from a space of lack or deficiency rather than a space of fullness and completeness
How we are always complaining, finding fault, and criticizing rather than knowing our experiencing through love, appreciation, and gratitude
What would it be like if you could interpret your experiences through the lenses of the latter?
What could your reality be?
Take a moment to imagine, to visualize, what it would look like, and then rest in this space.
Can you touch the preciousness, the gentleness, the warmth of your inner experience?
Can you sense your inner peace, serenity, your love of self.
Trust and know that it is already there.

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Public Invited to First AAUW Meeting of 2011

“How to Decrease Violence against Women and Girls through Education” will be the topic of the AAUW, Livonia Branch January 18th meeting. Colleen Mills, president of the Citizens for Peace, will share possible solutions to the violence plaguing women and youth in the U.S. The fifty minute presentation is designed to increase awareness of the severity of the problem.

The question” Why are we violent, but not illiterate?” posed by Coleman McCarthy, a peace educator, will be discussed during the presentation.

This meeting is open to the public and will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church located at 34567 Seven Mile Road, west of Gill. It begins at 7 p.m.

The Livonia AAUW promotes lifelong education, and positive societal change to enhance the quality of life for women and girls.
For more information contact Colleen Mills at 734-425-0079.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Being worried pretends to be important and necessary, but it is futile serving no useful purpose.

Echkart Tolle

Peace to You and Yours with Love

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Citizens for Peace Ring in the New Year!

“Ring the Bell”, a program focused on putting a stop to domestic violence, will be highlighted at the first Citizens for Peace meeting of 2011, Tuesday, January 11th.

The work of Mallika Dutt, the founder of Breakthrough, an international human rights organization, will be shown in a video presentation. Mallika has been using media and education for 30 years to change the culture of violence. Her innovative program involves encouraging the partnership of men and boys to stop the cycle of domestic violence.

“Ring the Bell, or, “Bell Bajao”, began in India, and with the help of the Clinton Global Initiative and the support of the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is going global.

The meeting will start at 7 pm. at Unity of Livonia, located on Five Mile between Middlebelt and Inkster. All are welcome. For more information contact Colleen Mills at 734-425-0079.