December 9th, 2009
Power Qs met last First Day and discussed what gifts or strengths would help the peacemaking or peacebuilding process. We felt these qualities would foster the peacemaking process: remaining calm, [or having a sense of peacefulness], courage, courtesy, diplomacy, effort [being willing to work hard, having a good work ethic], listening, neutrality [being unbiased], not being above the crowd [not "special"], organization, patience, problem-solving, self-control, waiting to consider both sides, finding a way to take a break or an acceptable way to vent.
If you have qualities to add to this list, please send it along to one of the Power Qs to bring to the discussion next time.
December 6th, 2009
We discussed great movements of the previous century, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Peace Movement, and the Environmental Movement. We talked about what sorts of “actions” or “campaigns” make up a movement, such as letter-writing campaigns, sit-ins, and such like. We talked about how many of these campaign ideas originated with Gandhi, such as the boycott and the protest march. (In fact Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that his inspiration for the civil rights movement came from Christ but his methods came from Gandhi.) Lastly we talked about how important it is that activists practice non-violent resistance or satyagraha in all of their campaign methods. Satyagrahi (activists practicing Satyagraha) show they are willing to suffer for their cause but are not willing to harm. So for example if one wanted to protest fracking, it would not be okay to damage a mining company’s bulldozer in the middle of the night, but it would be okay to publicly chain oneself to the bulldozer.
We then put these ideas into practice by conducting a very small demonstration on the topic of bicycling, one of Larry’s favorite causes. We painted signs as shown, then marched to College Town occasionally chanting “What do we want?”, “Biking!”, “When do we want it?”, “Now!” We engaged a couple of students on the way, one of whom admitted “I don’t have a bike, but I don’t have a car either!” We finally reached College Town Bagels, our destination, and enjoyed hot beverages together before heading back.
December 2nd, 2009
Last time we met, we considered what differences, if any, were called to mind by the words “peace maker” and “peace builder.” We started from the premise that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather how we respond to it. Our discussion brought these ideas forward. It seemed to us that a peace maker makes peace at the moment, trying to break up fights or arguments, trying to make someone feel better, or trying to solve a problem. There are risks in this role of peacemaking: you might be pulled into a situation in ways you had not intended; you might get hurt or “caught in the crossfire;” you might not know what to do or say; and you might not feel empowered to do anything constructive at all.
We felt a peace builder would work over a long period of time, trying to keep problems from coming up or to lessen the impact of a problem.
We felt that everyone brings differing skills to peace making/peace building, and that anyone would need a good set of peace-making or peace-building tools. We also felt it was important to acquire new skills, or to hone the skills you have, so that you are better able to act when you need to.
On a totally different topic, we discussed how we might contribute to this year’s Christmas Pageant. We are waiting to hear more about possibilities.