Peace

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Index for Peace

Page 1 - Pages for Peace: Kids Writing the Future One Page at a Time

Page 2 - Posts for Peace and Justice: Creative Voices for Change

Page 3 - RAWtools

Page 4 - The Forgiveness Toolbox

Page 5 - Resolution to Move Funds Out of Militarism

 

Pages for Peace--Kids Writing the Future One Page at a Time

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“What have you done to promote peace lately?” When Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School teacher Betsy Sawyer heard the reggae musician Jimmy Cliff ask this question at a concert, she was inspired. Cliff had also stated that we need to “teach the children about peace." As advisor to an after-school writing club at her Groton, Massachusetts school, she had the perfect outlet for her inspiration. The club was composed of eight fifth graders who wanted to make a book big enough to earn a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. After Sawyer shared her idea with the students, the big book theme was selected: PEACE. The club became known as the Bookmakers and Dreamers Club, and the Big Book: Pages for Peace was born.

The book started in 2004, took twelve years to complete, is 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, and constitutes 1000 pages. The collection process began with letters the children wrote to individuals worldwide requesting messages of peace. They asked such questions as “What is peace?” and “Will there ever be world peace?” Since the project’s initiation, the students have collected some 3500 letters, poems, artworks, and other artifacts from global peace activists, politicians, teachers, veterans, and students. Among the more notable contributors are Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela, President Jimmy Carter, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The completed project was displayed at the JFK Library in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2014 and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on March 20, 2016. It has since appeared in museums, galleries, libraries, and conferences worldwide, including its May 30 – August 28, 2022 display at the Summer Exhibit at Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, MA. The project, and its founder, Betsy Sawyer, have won awards, too. Most notably, Sawyer won the 2010 Children’s Courage of Conscience Award from The Peace Abbey.

Although Betsy Sawyer passed away on April 3, 2016, of leukemia, the project, and its spirit, continue. Part of the Big Book’s mission is to create a “peace education curriculum to connect, educate, and inspire a new generation of Peacemakers around the world” and to show that “kids CAN make a difference in helping to create a more peaceful world.”

If you would like to contribute a letter, donate, or learn more about how kids can make a difference, visit the Big Book: Pages for Peace website at http://www.pagesforpeace.org/our-story/. You can also get a copy of the book at Apple Books!

 

Posts for Peace and Justice: Creative Voices for Change

Kira Corser's Compassionate ARTS in Action organization has been a great source of social and racial justice and peace programming in California and beyond since 2015. While they have worked with many groups to bring art and activism together, including work with Indigenous Mexican weavers living in Greenfield, CA; refugee and immigrant children in El Cajon and Fallbrook, CA; and Black youth in Los Angeles, they have also created the Posts for Peace and Justice project, which might serve as a creative idea-generator for communities worldwide.

The Posts for Peace and Justice project brings local artists, educators, and children together to "support and build individual and community resilience, engagement, compassion, and cohesiveness, through creative, collaborative, inclusive experiences exploring and artfully representing relevant peace and social justice issues," explains the Posts for Peace website. They do this, primarily, through workshops where groups collaboratively create 6-8-foot tall vinyl posts. The posts are then "posted" and "hosted" by various physical and virtual sites in an effort to bring awareness to the focus issues. Each post includes "visual story" artwork created by the group, along with inspirational quotes, attention-grabbing facts, and relevant symbols to creative colorful–and powerful–messages of peace and justice.

While Corser's group uses vinyl posts, there might be other possibilities for creating your own version of Posts for Peace and Justice. What might work best in your community? What age groups might you get involved?

To see vibrant examples of these projects and learn more, visit the Compassionate ARTS in Action website or their sister page Posts for Peace and Justice: Creative Voices for Change.

 

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