Podcast

What does peace mean to you? How do you work toward peace in your life? What are some of the obstacles you encounter along the way?

These are questions I have asked of many people…from homeless individuals to business leaders. Artists, refugees, volunteers, clergy and many others answer those questions in these podcasts.

Take some time to listen to their stories. Find the humanity in others around you. Ask yourself the same question. What does peace mean to you?

 
 

West Virginia University - Parkersburg

November 4, 2018 @ 10:10pm

A Peace of My Mind visited West Virginia University - Parkersburg and asked, "What is the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made for you?"

 

East Carolina University

November 7, 2018 @ 11:50am

A Peace of My Mind visited East Carolina University and asked, "What do you want to share with our campus about sexual assault prevention and education?"

 

University of Richmond Short Video

November 4, 2018 @ 3:02pm

A Peace of My Mind visited University of Richmond and asked, "What is your responsibility in creating community?"

 

Syracuse University

October 22, 2018 @ 7:45am

A Peace of My Mind visited Syracuse University and asked, "When have you found the courage to bridge a divide in a relationship?"

 

Clarence Moriwaki Podcast

September 25, 2015 @ 3:39pm

Clarence Moriwaki is the founder and past president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial in Washington State. It is the site of the very first Japanese Americans who were taken from their communities and put into concentration camps during World War II in the United States.

In total, 120,000 Japanese Americans were placed into concentration camps when the Pacific war broke out. The first 227, two-thirds of them American citizens, were rounded up and removed from Bainbridge Island on March 30, 1942.

In many cities across the country, the homes and businesses of Japanese Americans were vandalized and burned after Pearl Harbor. On Bainbridge Island, where the Japanese Americans were well integrated into the community, the local newspaper made efforts to stay connected with the families who had been removed, publishing update letters as well as birth and death announcements while they were away. Many local citizens took care of the properties of those who had been removed and returned their possessions when they came back.

The United States formally apologized for the internment decades later, after studying the policy and determining that there was no military need for the removal. It was an act based in fear and racial prejudice according to the report.

The goal of the memorial is to honor the families and individuals who suffered this great historical injustice and to bring them peace. The motto of the memorial site is “Nidoto Nai Yoni,” “Let it not happen again.”

 

Jarell Wilson Podcast

September 9, 2015 @ 7:47pm

Jarell Wilson says he is black, gay, Christian, and he lives in the South. At times he has struggled to balance his many identities in a society that is often not welcoming to two thirds of who he is. He believes that too often people try to put identities into boxes resulting in unfair stereotypes that lead to stress and conflict.

Yet at the end of the day, Jarell finds beauty and peace all around him. He finds joy in each of his identities. For Jarell, "peace comes from knowing who you are. It comes when you realize that no matter what you look like, you are beautiful...it comes from knowing that the same beauty you have, all of humanity has."

 

Donna Watts Podcast

September 10, 2015 @ 9:44am

Donna Watts is the president and CEO of the South Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce in Foley, Alabama. She has worked in business development for 30 years and takes great pride in helping people have a better life and pursue the American Dream through her work.

Donna talks about the triple punch of hurricanes, recession, and the oil spill which have brought individuals and the region as a whole to their knees. She talks about the sense of community that develops through hardship and brings people together to help themselves and one another recover after disasters.

The natural disasters, they have been accustomed to, but Donna talks about the oil spill in detail. A strong proponent of business, she shares her anger with the federal government for allowing one corporation to rob so many individuals of their business, property, and way of life...for profit.

Donna closes with the belief that we have a moral obligation to protect those who can't protect themselves and those who don't have a voice. She asks, "If we don't, who will?"

 

AngelaBatesPodcast

July 6, 2015 @ 3:59pm

Angela Bates is the director of the historical society in Nicodemus, Kansas, a town that was settled by freed slaves after the Civil War in an effort to experience real freedom. All of the current 16 residents, including Angela, are direct descendants of those original settlers. It is the only remaining all-Black town west of the Mississippi.

Angela sees herself as a descendant of people who had vision, determination, and a great faith in God. She honors their memory by preserving their heritage and by working for positive change in the world.

Angela says that when we first encounter one another, we may base our initial perceptions on physical traits, because we have little more to go on. But as we get to know one another, we are able to see the human spirit, which has nothing to do with color.

 

Bud Welch Podcast

April 16, 2015 @ 11:59am

Bud Welch lost his only child, Julie, in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Julie had worked as a translator in the Alfred P. Murrah building for just five months when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew it up in our nation's largest domestic terror attack.

Bud was despondent and angry. He began abusing alcohol and tobacco. His businesses struggled, and he wanted nothing more than for Timothy McVeigh to be tried and executed for his crimes.

But when Bud saw a news clip of Timothy McVeigh's father, he saw a man who was as lost and broken as himself. He eventually reached out to Bill McVeigh and had coffee with him at the McVeigh family home.

The two men became friends, and Bud Welch began to work against the execution of Timothy McVeigh, having realized that his healing process…and his sense of peace...would not involve the death of one more person.

 

Erika Nelson Podcast

April 6, 2015 @ 5:06pm

Erika Nelson is an artist who lives in Lucas, Kansas, a rural plains community of 400 that has embraced its tradition as a hotbed for grassroots arts. After selling all of her possessions, Erika lived and traveled across the country in her vehicle, visiting small arts communities. Her imagination was peaked when she saw a house in Lucas sell at auction for $1,000.

What at first she viewed as a home base has become Erika’s home and she talks of the understanding that has developed between some of the more traditional ag-based community and the rather unconventional artists living and working beside them.

Erika is the creator and curator of the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things, a traveling collection that celebrates what is unique in our country, shares community stories, and encourages people to reignite their sense of wonder about the world.

http://www.worldslargestthings.com/

 

Eugene Joe Podcast

April 3, 2015 @ 10:42am

Eugene Joe is a Navajo sand artist who lives near Shiprock, New Mexico. At an early age, Eugene's grandfather helped him discover his gift of art. His grandfather would send the boy to meditate on a nearby hill and say, "You have a gift that's inside of you. Go there and find it."

At first, Eugene could only notice the insects that would crawl on him and the sun that would burn his skin. But eventually, the distractions fell away and Eugene was able to focus on his task of discovery. It was then that he began to draw in the sand where he was sitting and recognized his love of art.

His grandfather also told him, "Always focus on going forward. Never look back until there is white hair on your head."

Eugene believes that it is up to us to make peace in our own lives and it is up to us...the whole world...to become one again.

 

Fiona Orr Podcast

March 12, 2015 @ 8:40am

Fiona Orr, 15 years old, is home schooled in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she volunteers regularly at the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology.

She is discouraged by adults who will not recognize the potential in youth, but finds plenty of adults who have served as mentors and values the exchange of ideas across generations.

Fiona says that the world's problems can seem overwhelming to a teenager, but surrounding herself with people who work toward the common good every day helps her to understand that change is possible.

 

Hassan Ikhzaan Saleem Podcast

February 11, 2015 @ 10:41am

Hassan Ikhzaan Saleem was born in the Maldives, a tropical island nation southeast of India. Raised in a family that encouraged reading western classic literature, Ikhzaan fell in love with the American West and the idea of working with horses.

After high school Ikhzaan attended United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico and lived with a family that owned a ranch. There, he learned to ride horses, but also how to train them in the Vaquero style, with a focus on patience and no strict deadlines.

While working with horses, Ikhzaan has recognized that our days can be filled with challenges and frustrations, but also that each new day presents the opportunity to begin again. And if we can let go of yesterday's failures and focus on the opportunities of today, even if we are not able to reach our goals, we can feel at peace in the knowledge that we tried.

 

Leah Prussia Podcast

January 24, 2015 @ 3:47pm

Leah Prussia refers to herself as a multi-ethnic woman. She grew up in a primarily German-Norwegian family but later in life connected with and embraced her Anishinaabe heritage as well.

Leah holds a Masters of Social Work degree and works as a college instructor and clinical social worker. She has struggled with depression for much of her life and describes her experience with what she calls a deep sadness. When she finally found the right combination of therapy, medication, and spiritual practice, it was like she saw color for the first time and she came alive.

Leah believes that many people go through life struggling with balance in the mental, emotional, and spiritual realms, and she works with her clients to recover an inner peace that she hopes will ripple out to influence a greater peace beyond.

 

Penina Bowman Podcast

January 26, 2015 @ 4:17pm

Penina Bowman was 17 years old when soldiers showed up at her family home in Hungary and told them they had 20 minutes to pack their bags. They were told they were being sent away to work but the train they were loaded into brought them to Auschwitz.

Penina lost both parents and 42 other relatives to the Holocaust, but she and her three siblings survived. She credits her faith and staying together with her sisters for her survival.

Even with all that Penina has experienced, she refuses to hate anybody. She believes that hate is a powerful emotion that serves to destroy yourself rather than the people you direct it toward.

 

Matt Meyer Podcast

January 20, 2015 @ 3:30pm

Matt Meyer is a teacher, author, and peace activist born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is a long time member of the War Resisters League and was the founding chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Through his academic study of activism around the world, Matt has come to recognize that nonviolence can be an effective tool for making revolutionary change.

While Matt often works in reform movements, he views the status quo as unjust and believes that an international movement of radical social change is required to create a lasting peace in the world.

 

Joanne Bland Podcast

December 4, 2014 @ 1:09pm

Joanne Bland was 11 years old when she marched over the Edmud Pettus Bridge with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. Headed from Selma toward Mongomery, the activists were committed to securing voting rights for all Americans.

I interviewed Joanne at her home in Selma in August, just 12 days after Michael Brown was killed and Ferguson, Missouri was gripped by protests. She spoke of the pain of watching scenes from Ferguson that were reminiscent of scenes she witnessed in Selma 50 years ago.

Joanne ended her interview by saying, "One day we'll be alright. I'm just tired of waiting for one day. I want it to be now. I want it to be in my lifetime. When we were growing up in the 60s, I thought it would be by now…we’d have that Beloved Community…and everything would be peaceful. It has not happened.”

 

Marita McLaughlin Podcast

July 22, 2014 @ 4:52pm

Marita McLaughlin is a contemplative psychotherapist in Chicago, Illinois. She talks about the inherent goodness of human beings that transcends concepts of right, wrong, good, or bad. This inherent goodness is on display when we are faced with crisis situations and is rooted in a desire to help. Yet when we are not in a crisis situation, we become lazy and often forget about this natural state of goodness and compassion. The result is an individual and societal shift from a peaceful sense of ease toward dis-ease.

 

Carl Kenney Video

June 24, 2014 @ 8:02pm

Carl Kenney is a minister by trade. He is an author, an advocate, and in his own words, "a prophet of the people." His message is that we are living in a world of people broken by the way we spend so much time and energy fighting one another because of our differences. When I interviewed Carl he was in a time of transition, having recently been pushed out of his leadership role in the church because of the position he took advocating for gay rights.

 

Carl Kenney Podcast

June 21, 2014 @ 10:53am

Carl Kenney is a minister by trade. He is an author, an advocate, and in his own words, "a prophet of the people." His message is that we are living in a world of people broken by the way we spend so much time and energy fighting one another because of our differences. When I interviewed Carl he was in a time of transition, having recently been pushed out of his leadership role in the church because of the position he took advocating for gay rights.

All Podcasts

Phillip Schladweiler podcast

May 29, 2013 @ 4:59pm
Phillip Schladweiler is a military veteran who served two tours in Iraq. On February 22, 2006...6 years to the day of his enlistment...he was wounded in an IED attack and lost the vision in his right eye. Now an art student, Phillip has photographed the shrapnel that was removed from his body (the doctors saved it for him) as part of his journey of healing himself and others

Tyrone Werts video

May 29, 2013 @ 2:33pm
Tyrone Werts served nearly 37 years of a life sentence in Pennsylvania’s Graterford prison after being convicted of second degree murder. In 2010 his sentence was commuted and he was released on March 14, 2011. While he was in prison, Tyrone says he was shown acts of compassion by people who took an interest in him, which set him on a transformational path which eventually led him to become the person his mother and father had raised him to be.

Tyrone Werts podcast

May 29, 2013 @ 3:39pm
Tyrone Werts served nearly 37 years of a life sentence in Pennsylvania’s Graterford prison after being convicted of second degree murder. In 2010 his sentence was commuted and he was released on March 14, 2011. While he was in prison, Tyrone says he was shown acts of compassion by people who took an interest in him, which set him on a transformational path which eventually led him to become the person his mother and father had raised him to be.

Kim Book video

May 29, 2013 @ 2:27pm
Kim Book’s 17-year-old daughter, Nicole, was murdered in 1995. She recalls that a year later, at the trial, she forgave the young man who had killed Nicole, and the act of forgiveness opened the door to peace in her life. Several years later, Kim founded Victims’ Voices Heard, a restorative justice program in Delaware that brings victims and offenders together in an effort to find healing for all parties.

Kim Book podcast

May 29, 2013 @ 4:25pm
Kim Book’s 17-year-old daughter, Nicole, was murdered in 1995. She recalls that a year later, at the trial, she forgave the young man who had killed Nicole, and the act of forgiveness opened the door to peace in her life. Several years later, Kim founded Victims’ Voices Heard, a restorative justice program in Delaware that brings victims and offenders together in an effort to find healing for all parties.

Jim Anderson video

May 29, 2013 @ 2:19pm
Jim Anderson’s father was a full-blooded Swede and his mother was Dakota, yet he didn’t fully understand and embrace his native heritage until he was in his 30s. Today, Jim works to realize the treaty rights that were offered to his ancestors, preserve his indigenous ceremonies, and pass those traditions on to the next generation.

Jim Anderson podcast

May 29, 2013 @ 3:59pm
Jim Anderson’s father was a full-blooded Swede and his mother was Dakota, yet he didn’t fully understand and embrace his native heritage until he was in his 30s. Today, Jim works to realize the treaty rights that were offered to his ancestors, preserve his indigenous ceremonies, and pass those traditions on to the next generation.

Zafar Siddiqui

May 24, 2013 @ 12:59am
Zafar Siddiqui is an American Muslim who was born in India. He serves on the board of directors for Al-Amal School, the first all-Islamic K-12 school in Minnesota and he leads the Islamic Resource Group, which is dedicated to educating people about Islam and Muslims. Zafar defends the peaceful nature of Islam as a religion, and points out that fringe elements have misused the religion for their own purposes, just as radicals from other religions have done throughout history.

Marie Braun

May 23, 2013 @ 11:00pm
Marie Braun is a retired therapist and a committed peace activist. She organizes weekly vigils and believes it is important to have a constant, visible opposition to war. Marie says that showing her opposition publicly not only presents the opportunity to change others, but also presents the chance to change herself. She believes that our elected officials do not always look out for the good of the citizens, but instead often serve the interests of the corporations who donate to their election funds.

Roy Martin

May 23, 2013 @ 11:23pm
Roy Martin is a history major from Brooklyn, New York, who recently spent a summer in Peru on a project designed to slow deforestation by installing fuel-efficient wood stoves in village homes. The project sought to curb wood consumption while simultaneously reducing illnesses related to smoke inhalation. Roy found his greatest reward through connecting on a human level with people from very different backgrounds.

Lisa Albrecht

May 23, 2013 @ 5:33pm
Lisa Albrecht is a professor at the University of Minnesota, where she oversees an undergraduate minor in social justice. She embraces the notion of distributive justice, meaning “nobody gets seconds until everyone gets firsts.” Lisa sees the need to pursue peace and justice with “beloved community,” a term used by Martin Luther King, Jr. that encompasses not only one’s blood family, but also a circle of loved ones who care for one another and hold one another accountable. She believes that change builds from the bottom up, and she is encouraged by the way today’s social activists are engaging the community through social media and other tools that were not available to us a generation ago.

Julius Collins III

May 23, 2013 @ 4:56pm
Julius Collins is a singer and a songwriter. He strives to set a tone in his music and in his life that will allow a space for peace. Julius grew up in the foster care system and learned to keep his guard up as a defense mechanism. Years later he learned he was happier when he let his guard down. He is married to a woman who went to law school, but who now works as a gardener—a process that convinced Julius of the importance of being true to who you are and what you want to do in life.

Marion Vance

May 24, 2013 @ 12:28am
Marion Vance is the retired director of learning and evaluation for Inter-American Foundation, an NGO that supported development work in Latin America. The organization tried to help some of the poorest people in the hemisphere feel like they had a stronger voice in their own affairs. Marion is interested in exploring how we measure the intangible things in our lives that add so much value. And in the pursuit of a more peaceful world, she believes it is important for us to create a new measuring stick for success.

Jeff Kennedy

May 23, 2013 @ 3:53pm
Jeff Kennedy has spent time on the streets in rough neighborhoods and time behind bars, yet he has found a peace that has helped him weather life’s storms. Jeff believes that often we wait for life’s tragedies before we reach out to one another, but he sees hope in the small, kind gestures that even total strangers can show one another in every day situations.

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman

May 23, 2013 @ 3:20pm
Marcia Zimmerman is senior rabbi at Temple Israel in Minneapolis. She participates in regular interfaith dialogue with clergy from other religions, and recognizes the benefits and challenges of working with such groups. Marcia draws on a Talmudic text that speaks of several layers of peace, and she explains that peace is not a linear process—it is an ever-evolving process—and we may find that we make progress one day only to lose it the next.

Najm Askori

May 23, 2013 @ 11:49am
Najm Askori is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Kufa in Iraq. He participates in research to document the effects of depleted uranium munitions used by U. S. forces in Iraq. Designed to penetrate hardened targets, depleted uranium remains toxic for generations, affecting military and civilian populations alike. Najm is a member of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. In October 2009, he traveled to Minnesota as part of a delegation of Iraqis who are establishing a sister city program between Minneapolis and Najaf, Iraq.

Scott Augustine

May 23, 2013 @ 2:43pm
Scott Augustine is CEO of a medical device company. A decade ago, he established a project in Tanzania called Peace House Africa, which works to educate AIDS orphans in the country where he spent several years of his childhood while his father worked as a missionary. Scott views education as the best chance for hope, and he believes that when people are hopeful about their future, that can lead to peace.

Lynne Zotalis

May 23, 2013 @ 11:30am
Lynne Zotalis is a writer who participates in a peace and social justice group called "writing Peace into the World." She believes that peace within our own small sphere of influence is needed before we can ever hope for peace in the larger world. Lynne talks about losing her husband suddenly, and how fortunate she feels that she had given him an anniversary gift the night before - a scrapbook she had made for him that said how much she loved him and hgow much their relationship meant to her. Working through that loss led her to re-examine a long-held interest in writing, which is one of the ways she experiences peace in her life.

Harry Williams

May 24, 2013 @ 12:47am
Harry Williams Jr. is a professor of history. Among the courses he teaches are “African American History;” “Black Atlantic History,” focusing on the relationship between Ghana and the United States; and “U.S. History from 1865 to 1945.” Harry views the world from what he calls “a tragic conception of history and a tragic conception of life,” which means that “we accept the bitter and the sweet.”

Daniel Chacón

May 21, 2013 @ 12:45am
Daniel Chacón was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. Today he is part owner of Arte Hispano, a store that sells arts and crafts from Latin America. He is studying business management and philosophy at Hamline University. Daniel believes that we need to assess our own views constantly and consider the possibility that we may not have all of the answers. He says that even though he may not always understand someone, he will always try to be understanding.

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly is a peace activist and co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She has visited war zones around the world in an effort to experience war firsthand. Kathy has not paid federal taxes since 1980 because of her conviction that doing so would make her complicit in war. She believes that we all need to slow down in order to explore the global ramifications of our decisions and our lifestyles.

Chuck Hoffman

Chuck Hoffman is artist-in-residence at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He and his wife, Peg Carlson-Hoffman, operate Genesis Art Studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Together they use art as a path to foster healing and reconciliation in areas of conflict. Groups come together to explore the creative process and, despite their differences, experience a journey wherein they can create something new together. Chuck views creativity as a language that can be used to overcome situations where words are difficult.

Kim Smith

Kim Smith is a writer, a poet and a rapper. She has performed with several local groups and is coming out with her first solo recording in late 2010. While she recognizes that many of today’s commercial artists convey messages that are not peaceful, Kim’s goal is to spread a message of love and acceptance through her music. She believes that being patient with others and trying to connect in small ways with people on a daily basis can be the first steps toward creating a more peaceful world.

David Harris

David Harris served in the U.S. Air Force as a surgeon during the Vietnam War. His objections to war and violence began with that conflict and eventually grew to include all wars. He is now a member of Veterans for Peace. David believes that we all have violence within us, and only when we learn to address that tendency can we begin to hope for a broader peace.

Marlene Jezierski

Marlene Jezierski spent more than 30 years as an emergency room nurse and, eventually, got involved in educating health care professionals about family violence. Now retired, Marlene writes poetry about domestic abuse. She has published a book of her poems entitled Beyond the Mirror, in order to give victims skills, knowledge, encouragement, and support to help them see that they have choices available to them.

Sami Rasouli

Sami Rasouli is an Iraqi and an American citizen. He had been living in the United States for 17 years when the war broke out in 2003 and his dilemma began. He found he was both the invader and the invaded. After a brief trip to Iraq to reconnect with family, he decided to sell his possessions and move back to Iraq in 2004 to work on peace initiatives. Sami founded the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq and works on a number of projects designed to diffuse tensions in that country, as well as projects that build connections between Iraqis and Americans. Sami returns to America regularly to help build those connections and to speak about his work in Iraq.

Kelly Connole

Kelly Connole is an artist who teaches ceramics and metal smithing at a Minnesota college. In her ceramics classes, students participate in the Empty Bowls project, making hundreds of bowls, filling them with soup during a spring event on campus, and taking in donations that are passed along to local food shelves. Kelly believes that clay has taught her more about generosity than anything else in her life. She says that if you have a skill, that skill can be used to be generous . . . and being generous is one step on the path toward peace.

Harry Wendt

Harry Wendt is an Australian citizen who has lived in the United States since 1976. He founded and continues to run an organization called Crossways International, which is dedicated to Christian education. Harry holds up Jesus as a model for his belief that we should live a life of service to our fellow human beings. In a global history that is dominated by pursuit of empire, Harry says that we need to examine the world as it is today and ask ourselves if our actions are intended to dominate others, or to serve them?

Khant Khant Kyaw

Khant Khant Kyaw is a college student who is pursuing a degree in international studies. She was born in Burma (officially known as the Union of Myanmar) but she lived in Singapore for 10 years while she was growing up. She recently received a $10,000 Davis Project for Peace grant to use community photography as a tool for the education and development of youth in Burma. Khant Khant defines peace on many levels, from the international peace she hopes to foster with her future career to the inner peace she finds shaped by her Buddhist upbringing.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is an associate professor who teaches justice and peace studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He has written more than a dozen books, and spent years studying issues of poverty and hunger and how they relate to peace and social justice in our world. In 2008 Jack ran for the DFL party nomination for Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seat, a nomination he eventually lost to Al Franken.

Luyen Phan

Luyen Phan was born in Vietnam and his family moved to the United States during the final days of the war, when he was six years old. A Lutheran church in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, sponsored Phan’s family, and his parents have lived in that town for 35 years. With a Fulbright Scholarship, Luyen studied in Singapore and went on to work in Thailand. Today he works with international students and believes that student exchange programs can lay a valuable foundation for understanding and accepting different cultures.

Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb

Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb is a psychotherapist, an educator, and a healer. She is involved with many social action issues, including Jewish peace work related to Israel and Palestine. Barbara views fear as an obstacle to peace and recalls a parable told by a Native American elder. Two wolves are engaged in a battle inside each of us. One wolf represents peace, hope and truth, while the second wolf represents fear, anger and lies. When asked which wolf would win, the man replied, “The one you feed.”

Rev. Andre Golike

Rev. Andre Golike is president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Central African Republic (CAR). I spoke with him when he visited Minneapolis to build support for his ministry. With an average annual income of $410, the people of CAR face many challenges. But despite this lack of material resources, Andre finds a wealth of joy in the people and great hope in the promise of people working together toward a common goal.

Mel Duncan

Mel Duncan is executive director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a well-trained, unarmed peacekeeping force that works in regions of violent conflict around the world to protect local peacemakers. Even in the most violent places on earth, Mel says there are creative and courageous people doing amazing things to foster peace, and it is Nonviolent Peaceforce’s mission to create the space for those local people to do their peace-building work safely.

Imani Jaafar-Mohammad

Imani Jaafar-Mohammad is a lawyer and partner in a law firm with her husband. Born in the United States to Lebanese immigrants, she feels she has acted as a peace broker for most of her life, both formally and informally. Imani speaks often to school, business, and church groups in an effort to help people understand what it means to be a Muslim woman in America today. She encourages people to get their information firsthand and not accept stereotypes about other cultures and religions.

V. David Schwantes

V. David Schwantes is an author whose latest book is titled Finding Happiness With Truth, Beauty and Ethics. In his book, he talks about how our society looks at life through an economic and a political lens. David writes that if we are going to survive this century, we need to begin looking at life through a different lens—an ethical lens. He describes the challenges we’ll face as our global population reaches more than 10 billion people by 2050. And though he has grave concerns related to inflated military spending and global economic imbalances, in the end, he has hope in the basic goodness of individuals.

Catherine Mamer

Catherine Mamer is the co-director of Peace House Community, a gathering place that she says, “offers a place of hospitality for people who generally don’t feel welcomed in other places. We come to meet whoever walks in our door, without judgment.” Catherine recognizes that simple acts of kindness and understanding can go far to provide healing for those who have rarely experienced such things. She talks about changing the world one person at a time, even if that person is yourself.

Michael Kiesow

Moore teaches a class he calls “Writing Peace into the World.” He uses writing as a tool for exploring what we know about peace and as a method for accessing peace in our own lives. For Michael, the creative process leads to peace. He has helped coordinate public readings that focus on peace and a festival called “Art of Peace”. Michael believes we need to bring peace into our lives in small ways, because these small steps can ripple to larger issues.

Flora Tsukayama

Flora Tsukayama was born in Tokyo, Japan, six years after the end of World War ll. Flora’s father was a Japanese American who lived in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He immediately enlisted in the U. S. military and worked as a translator, eventually moving to Tokyo in order to assist the reconstruction effort. Flora’s mother was a Japanese citizen. Flora attended a school for U.S. dependents in Tokyo, where she often felt unwelcome due to her Japanese heritage and endured frequent racial slurs and negative comments directed toward her. Today Flora is a full-time volunteer in the public school system. She provides an adult presence in a hallway that was once notorious for bullying. Her time, attention, and compassion have helped turn that hallway into a more civil and open place.

Richard Rittmaster

Richard Rittmaster served as family life chaplain for the 34th Infantry Division in Basrah, Iraq. After working for many years as a congregational pastor in the Lutheran church, Rick joined the military, knowing he would be shipped into a war zone. Rick chose this path, not because he has an appetite for war, but rather because he has a passion for helping broken people through difficult times. He explored ways to diffuse tensions in volatile situations and how to find a personal, authentic, inner peace amidst strife.

The McDonald Sisters

Jane, Brigid, Kate, and Rita McDonald are four biological sisters who also joined the order of St. Joseph of Carondelet and became Catholic Sisters. Raised on a farm in western Minnesota, they found a richness growing up close to the earth and learned about community from watching their extended family help one another on a daily basis. All four of them are active in peace and justice issues, and all four of them have spent time in jail for nonviolent actions they have taken because of their beliefs.

Al Quie

Al Quie served as the 35th governor for Minnesota from 1979 through 1983, and he currently is working on several governmental initiatives as well as with Prison Fellowship ministries. Al doesn’t believe that we can ever achieve world peace because of our competing political, economic, and belief systems. He believes the broken human condition will prevent us from achieving total peace. But Al believes in working toward achieving inner peace and peace within communities. He explores the idea that broken people are not in a place where they can reach out to others, and it is the obligation of those of us who are better off to reach out to our brothers and sisters who are struggling.

Jamal Hashi

Born in Somalia, Jamal Hashi was in elementary school when the war began. It sounded like thunder he said. He fled with his older brother, taking refuge with family friends, and making their way to the southern part of the country, where eventually they snuck onto a ship filled with refugees who were escaping the war. Jamal now lives in the United States, where he owns and operates a restaurant. He says he has lived three lives: a stable childhood in Somalia, a coming-of-age stage during the chaos and uncertainty of the war, and his current life in the United States. He feels fortunate to be in America, where he has found a life of peace, because he experienced a complete absence of peace during his earlier years.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman to be ordained by the Conservative Movement of Judaism. She spent the early part of her rabbinate in grief counseling and end-of-life care, but focuses her work today on peace and reconciliation. Amy spends much of her time on interfaith dialogue. She believes that peace doe snot come from avoiding the difficult issues, but by facing them directly and having honest, respectful dialogue about our differences. The foundation of her peace work is a 40-year history of Jewish prayer and a 20-year practice of meditation in which she cultivates the still place within, while striving to become aware of those places that remain unsettled.

Eric Gibson

Eric Gibson is a Buddhist teacher who travels the globe teaching in different countries and cultures. He credits those Buddhist teachings with helping him understand that we are all connected. Eric talks about the flawed model that if we gather all the perfect elements - the perfect career, the perfect partner, the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood - we will be happy.

Hudlin Wagner

Hudlin Wagner says that her perceptions of peace are a result of her tri-cultural background. She is black, Native American, and West Indian. Hudlin defines peace initially as a physical feeling - a lightness of being, which includes a spiritual connection with the world and its order. When Hudlin was a young girl, her parents decided that she should attend the local Catholic school. As the first student of color to attend the school, she found that none of the children would sit near her because they were afraid that her skin color would rub off on them if she touched them. When she asked her parents to send her to a different school, they told her, “This is your journey to be introduced to each individual human being - so you don’t recreate the stereotypes of every race.”

Mark Williams

Mark Williams is downstream director for Royal Dutch Shell, which means he oversees refining, marketing, trading, chemicals, logistics - every step involved in getting crude oil to the consumer. Shell provides about 10 percent of the world’s fuel supply. Mark recognizes the environmental challenges we face with our dependence on fossil fuels, but he defends energy production as fundamental to prosperity and peace in the world.

Jeff Blodgett

Jeff Blodgett is executive director of Wellstone Action, an organization created to carry on the legacy of the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila Wellstone. Jeff first met Paul Wellstone when he was a student in one of Wellstone’s political science classes, and eventually he wound up serving as his campaign manager for each of his senate races. The mission of Wellstone Action is to ignite the leadership in people and the power in communities to create progressive change.

Morgan Murphy

Morgan Murphy in a student at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, where she studies secondary education, history, and social sciences. Recently she returned from a six-month term studying in South Africa. Morgan is a part of the peace and social justice community at Loras. She and her housemates in the Peace and Social Justice House organize discussions and other events to try and build awareness on campus of various issues. Morgan is hopeful that we can become a more peaceful society, but she recognizes that in order to do so we have to be willing to recognize some of our own shortcomings.

Melvin Carter Jr.

A retired St. Paul police officer, Melvin Carter Jr. works with Save Our Sons, an organization he helped found to mentor African American youth who are in trouble. Melvin refers to his time on the police force as a calling. He viewed himself as a “peace” officer, and says he went in to the “peacehood” much the same way a preacher or a minister goes into the ministry.

Jennifer McNally

Jennifer McNally is a lawyer, wife, and mother of three. She believes that we are all connected on some level, and when something bad happens in the world, it affects us all. She uses meditation to quiet her heart and to find calmness amidst life’s chaos.

Gopal Khanna

Gopal Khanna served as chief information officer for the state of Minnesota. Prior to that, he served as chief information officer and chief financial officer for the Peace Corps in the administration of President George W. Bush. Gopal believes that the world is multi-polar and that we as individuals are multi-polar as well. Within each of us there is a combination of both good and evil. The most important path to finding peace is to find equilibrium in our own minds in order to balance conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Marge Sullivan

Marge Sullivan is a volunteer at Peace House Community, a gathering place for homeless people and others in an urban neighborhood. Marge believes that we shouldn’t judge each other so harshly, and that the world would be a better place if we could just learn to be more accepting of one another. She says that as we get older, we begin to understand that we need to accept other people’s differences. But since we aren’t going to be around forever, if we are going to open our eyes, we had better open them wide and open them quickly.

Odeh Muhawesh

Odeh Muhawesh spent the first 18 years of his life living in Jordan and now lives in the United States. In his own words, he was a Middle Easterner and is now a Midwesterner. He travels often and has visited four continents. Odeh believes that deep down we are all the same. If you put John Doe from a Western nation and Abdullah Mohammad from a Middle Eastern nation together in a room and they got to know each other, they would find that they both have the same fears and the same dreams. In his view, it is imperative that we get to know one another if we are going to get along in this world.

Fred and Judy Baron

Fred and Judy Baron are survivors of Nazi death camps. They met after they were liberated from the camps and were recovering in a hospital in Sweden. They moved to America, got married, and started a family. They recall the absolute absence of peace in the camps and how they both found peace again in their lives. Both Fred and Judy feel strongly that it is our obligation to look after one another in this world, especially those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Hans Early-Nelson

Hans Early-Nelson is a metal sculptor and artist. An avid biker and swimmer, he talks about learning to live in a community. Hans sees himself as a mediator and offers as an example of urban justice a time when he witnessed a robbery. He tracked down the thief and convinced him to return the money to its rightful owner. In the process, Hans learned something about the thief’s history and wound up giving him $10 of his own money as a reward for returning the cash he had just stolen.

Kimberley Lueck

Kimberley Lueck is a Shambhala Buddhist minister. She is active in interfaith dialogue and helps organize an annual interfaith harvest celebration. Kimberley finds conflict arising out of the desire to control things. If we can recognize that tendency in ourselves, there is a greater chance that we will recognize it in others and diffuse some of the tensions that arise. And if we are able to develop compassion for ourselves, there is a greater chance that we can offer it to others as well.

David A. De Lampert Jr.

David A. De Lampert Jr. has been living on the streets of Minneapolis for the past 30 years. A veteran, he survives on disability checks and through gratuities people offer him. David spends his days inviting people to sign his coat with a permanent marker. When they sign, they will often give him a dollar or two “to help me keep going.” He has filled up more than 100 coats with signatures over the past decade, as well as hats, umbrellas, and canes. For David, collecting signatures began as a way to survive, but eventually became a way for him to reach out to other people.

 
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Gone, but still with us

Posted Friday, Feb 5 by John Noltner

Sometimes people touch us for just a brief time, but make a lasting impact on our lives. Some of my best friends live far away. We might not talk often, but I carry them with...
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