Friday, August 19, 2016

Cindy Sheehan to receive "Local Hero for Peace" Award from Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center

Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center

Mailing and Events: 55 Eckley Lane Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 933-7850

August 19, 2016

Dear Ms. Sheehan,

It is a pleasure to inform you that the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center has chosen to give you its annual “Local Hero for Peace” award. Your work in support of the anti-war movement and social justice is well-known to our membership. We would be honored if you accepted our award and our invitation to address our annual Peace & Justice Awards Dinner scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd.
We realize you may not be aware of the work of the “Peace Center”, so allow me to provide some background.

A small group of folks founded Mt. Diablo Peace Center in 1969 to counsel draft resisters. The Center quickly developed into a focal point in the East Bay where like-minded activists found each other and developed a united voice against the ongoing wars. Educational programs were established, group actions were organized and the first “Peace Gazette” was published.

When our troops returned from Indochina the members understood well that the quest for peace never ends. Knowing that justice is necessary for peace, the Center expanded its focus and changed its name to the “Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center”. Over the years, our attention has broadened to other social and economic justice issues including income inequality and poverty, education, health care, labor conditions, multiculturalism, racism, prison reform and nuclear disarmament. The Center has also been active in environmental justice issues such as climate change. Today the Center has an active membership of approximately 300.

In recent years, to reach out to our local youth, the Center implemented a number of ‘peace and justice’ programs for children of all ages, pre-school through high-school. For over 17 years, students, parents and teachers have had access to thought-provoking programs such as
Dennis Thomas Art and Writing Challenge and Youth and the Military. The latter is a counseling service for young people on national service alternatives to the military.

Presently, our most impactful program is our conference for educators and school administrators entitled Creating a Peaceful School. Now in its 6th year and reaching over 150 registrants, this all-day conference has become an annual event. It features outstanding speakers and workshops led by educators and activists. The purpose of the conference is to provide educators with tools for enhancing peace in the classroom; for building communication and understanding among students; for countering violent incidents and the effects of bullying; and for interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Faculty, administrators and students become

empowered to think and act peacefully through their training in conflict resolution and nonviolence techniques.

Conference themes in years past have included Violence in the Schools, Restorative Justice and Multi-Culturalism in the Classroom. The Center developed a dedicated website which explains the program and provides the relevant educational materials, making the materials available to the public at-large. ( Demand for the program has increased each year such that we are now seeking a larger venue. Clearly there is an unmet need that we are addressing county-wide.

The Center continues its dedication to providing an ever-larger community with a voice for peace and social justice. The Center engages, educates and inspires the community with local and internationally recognized speakers, discussion panels, forums and films. We seek to draw attention to the current wars in the Middle East and past wars with, for example, visible memorials such as the Crosses of Lafayette. We seek to bring awareness to injustice in all its forms. We seek to bring awareness to the relationship between climate change, conflict over dwindling resources and the destabilization of economic and social arrangements. And we seek to bring awareness to the fact of income inequality. Politically and socially, our divisions become deeper.

This will be our 8th Peace and Justice Awards Dinner. Our goal in having the event is not only to provide an avenue for fundraising, but also to give recognition and voice to the peacemakers in our community. Past recipients include Angela Davis (professor/political activist), Fania Davis (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth) Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Lynn MacMichael (peace activist witness to the situation in Palestine), Jeff Heaton (the founder of Crosses of Lafayette), Congressman George Miller, Budd MacKenzie (founder of Trust in Education for Afghani girls), Gayle McLaughlin (former mayor of Richmond), Andrew Lichterman, Esq. (Western States Legal Foundation) and local groups such as Planting Justice (provides sustainable agriculture training and jobs for former prison inmates), Books for the Barrios, Richmond Progressive Alliance and Grandparents for Peace. We would love to include you in our growing list!

The local Unitarian church allows us to use their social hall for this event, and the date they have given us is Saturday, October 22nd. Although it is a fundraiser and a sit-down meal, it is fairly informal and we try to keep costs down for attendees so that more in the community are able to attend. Generally we charge between $60 and $80 per person and provide a sliding scale or free tickets for those who cannot afford it. Our goal is to provide a social but also educational event for our community of members and friends.

We would be honored to have you available to accept our award and speak to us on the topic of your choosing.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. Warm regards,

Margli Auclair, ED
Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center

1 comment:

  1. Much better than the Nobel Peace Prize. Who wants to be lumped in with war criminals such as Barak Obama, Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin, among others?


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