Summer of Peacebuilding Begins
I’m writing from a global peace conference hosted at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. There are some exceptional speakers (and you can find the presentations online at summerofpeace.net), but I find myself particularly moved by the connection of great local peacemakers in the foyer: the director of SAVE (Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere) meeting the woman who did peace circles in rec centers all over Oakland the summer of the Mesehrle verdict. A woman who runs a women’s interfaith social services network learning about an interfaith worker justice group.
A public health educator learning how about anti-violence vigils this summer across the Bay Area. This really will be a summer of peace building in Oakland, and I am inspired by how our diverse efforts are connecting with each other thanks to networking efforts like those of the Oakland Peace Center and the Oakland Peace Ambassadors. The Oakland Peace Ambassadors are one of our newest partners, and they are creating a web of peacemakers who can help our community add peacemaking tools to our tool belts, so we know when to use mediation skills or restorative justice skills or nonviolent communication skills or organizing skills to create a peace-filled Oakland. They had a lot to do with the conference being here, but I am even more proud of their connection with the OPC as I watch one of our partners turn to one of theirs in the foyer and say, “I needed to know you so I don’t feel so alone in my work. Thank you for ring here.”