Another Mother for Peace

Peace Homework

Another Mother for Peace believes that it is our patriotic duty to speak out against war. Our precious democracy allows us as citizens to voice our opinions and to influence the debate in Washington. Peace Homework is how we make our voices heard. Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who started the Green Belt Movement in ecologically devastated Kenya, tells the following story:

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest – a huge woodland was suddenly engulfed by a raging wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird. This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can’t put out this fire.” And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?” And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.” Like the hummingbird, we each must do what we can.”

This election season finds us facing a terrible battle between the raging forces of violence, greed, and destruction, and those of peace, justice, and unity. The battle may feel overwhelming and even paralyzing: “We are too little, it is too much,” we may hear ourselves and others saying. But like the hummingbird’s beak full of water, a single vote, when joined with another vote, and another still, can tip the balance between darkness and light. By casting a single, hopeful, urgent vote, we do what we can to save our beloved home Earth from devastation. The choice is as clear as the words Lorraine Schneider wrote during an earlier time of conflict. CHOOSE SANITY, CHOOSE PEACE: War is not healthy for children and other living things.

CURRENT HOMEWORK

√ Vote for representatives who support legislation that is aimed towards containment of all means of violence- nuclear weapons abroad, escalation of our war machine, and assault rifles that proliferate in our communities. Send letters when you can, there is no delete button for a personalized note. Honor this great American anti- war holiday by sending our cards, giving our baby tshirts, proudly wearing your medallion, an embroidered patch, or placing a bumper sticker on your car. Peace is in season on Mother’s Day and everyday!

“FOR MY MOTHER’S DAY GIFT THIS YEAR, I DON’T WANT CANDY OR FLOWERS, I WANT AN END TO KILLING.”

This has been the message of Another Mother for Peace since 1967 when a handful of women gathered around a dining room table and resolved to speak out against the Vietnam War.

As mothers, and all of the supporters of AMP, we want peace for our children and children everywhere. In a time of peace, flowers and candy would be a delightful way to celebrate the day inspired by one woman’s wish to end our sacrifice of loved ones to war. In the day when our government enacts peace as the priority, that day will be celebrated. For now, we send our most relevant and heartfelt Mother’s Day greeting: War is not healthy for children and other living things.

Nearly fifty years later, we are still as dedicated to preserving peace as we were in the midst of the Vietnam war, when AMP’s first action was to send a mother’s Day card to Washington D.C. with our bright yellow sunflower design and this statement of conscience, which continued “we who have given life must be dedicated to preserving it. Please talk peace.”

From all across the country, 200,000 cards were mailed to the President and members of congress. Thus began one of the most significant nonviolent protest movements in recent history – and it was women and mothers who made it happen.

√ Donate political posters to the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (cspg@politicalgraphics.org) and help continue their work for social justice and peace.

PREVIOUS HOMEWORK

Make your vote count by following this advice from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits:
1. DON’T GO POSTAL! In the last election, half a million absentee ballots were never counted, on the flimsiest of technical excuses.
2. VOTE EARLY — Before the Ballot Bandits Wake Up. Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices in the weeks before Election Day. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” (9.9 million of you) or you’re on some creep’s challenge list.
3. Register and RE-Register, then REGISTER AGAIN. With all the purging going on (13 million and counting), you could be x’d out and you don’t know it. So check online with your Secretary of State’s office or call your County Board of Elections.
4. Vote Unconditionally, NOT PROVISIONALLY. If your right to vote is challenged, don’t accept a provisional ballot that likely won’t get counted. Demand adjudication on the spot of your right to a real ballot from poll judges. Or demand a call to the supervisor of elections; or return with acceptable ID if that’s the problem. And be a champ: defend the rights of others.
5. OCCUPY Ohio, Invade Nevada. Let go of that mouse, get out of your PJs and take the resistance door-to-door – to register the vote, to canvass the voters, to get out the vote.
6. Make the Democracy Demand: NO VOTE LEFT BEHIND! If an election is stolen, demand a recount. You can have all the paper ballots in the world, but if you don’t demand to look at them, publicly, in a recount, you might as well mark them with invisible ink.
Tell your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3573 and urge your Senators to introduce comparable legislation. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) has introduced legislation that shows what we could do if the Budget Control Act provisions are enforced and Pentagon spending is reined in. The RISE Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 3573) would rescind the worst features of the so-called “welfare reform” enacted under President Clinton and provide genuine pathways to ending child poverty.

Contact each member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Supercommittee). Tell them to rebalance government priorities. AMP believes we should NOT sacrifice our citizens’ needs for healthcare, retirement, education, a sustainable environment, and housing in order to continue fighting endless wars. Tell them to cut $1 trillion in military spending over the next 10 years. If the Pentagon budget is to be cut significantly, Congress needs to continue to hear our support for this issue.

Tell the Mayor of Your City to Bring Our War $$ Home! When city mayors gather in Baltimore at the end of the week for their annual meeting, a resolution “Calling on Congress To Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Priorities” will be on the agenda. Call, write, fax, Facebook or tweet your mayor NOW and tell her/him to support this resolution!

Ask your congressperson to co-sponsor legislation introduced by Representative Roscoe Bartlett (MD) to stop funding military action in Libya. H.R. 1323 would “…require the President to recommend specific reductions in nonsecurity discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2011 to offset the costs of military operations in Libya.” The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Harris (MD), Jones (NC ), Kucinich (OH ), and Paul (TX).

Urge your Representative to support HR 780. An important reason to oppose America’s involvement in foreign wars is the diversion of funding away from domestic healthcare, education, social – and now – retirement priorities. Federal and state budget crises are being used to further erode domestic programs. Instead…Let’s cut Defense spending! A place to start is H.R.780, which cuts funding for the Afghanistan war. The war will cost an estimated $116 billion this year, nearly twice what House Republicans say they want to save through cuts in domestic programs.

Learn about The Raise Hope for Congo project, which has surveyed the 21 largest electronics companies to determine what progress they’ve made towards conflict-free supply chains.The Democratic Republic of the Congo is host to the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II. Since 1996, more than five million people have died. Militias in the region use rape as a military tactic, subjecting hundreds of thousands of women and girls to sexual violence. This conflict is fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals essential to electronic products. The armed groups perpetuating the violence generate an estimated $183 million each year by trading in four main minerals: tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold.

Ask your congressperson to co-sponsor legislation introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (CA) to repeal war funding. Her bill, H.R. 6282, states: “Congress finds that the Authorization for Use of Military Force… signed into law on September 18, 2001, has been used to justify a broad and open-ended authorization for the use of military force and such an interpretation is inconsistent with the authority of Congress to declare war and make all laws for executing powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.”

Let’s Approve START: Now’s the time to approve the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Why should a lame duck session of Congress delay a treaty that reduces nuclear warheads by 30%? AMP can’t think of any reason.

Tell your senators and representative to co-sponsor the newly introduced bill to establish a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan: H.R. 5015/ S. 3197. If passed it would allow Congress a fundamental vote on the direction of our foreign policy.

Ask your members of congress to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act, H.R. 4594/ S. 2982. If passed, our government would have to respond to outbreaks of gender-based violence (like the mass rapes occurring in the Congo), put violence-reduction solutions into foreign assistance, and make ending violence against women a diplomatic priority. For more information, go to www.amnestyusa.org or womenthrive.org and enter IVAWA in the search box.

Insist on support for thousands of trained Congolese women police officers. Write to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ask her to allocate funding for training women to protect their sisters in the bush.U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington DC 20520.

Get informed about what Afghan women are doing to advance their cause.

Let’s make sure President Obama and Congress hear our voice as they reformulate strategy. Let’s tell them that a war in Afghanistan does not promote security.

AMP wants to know why Western forces are in Afghanistan. Fighting terrorism? Combating corruption and fraud? Improving the government and the economy? Protecting the human rights of women and children? Training the Afghan army? Supporting Pakistan?

Is the fight in Afghanistan a war of necessity? Is America more safe by “staying the course”?

  • Afghans are fed up with the corruption of the Karzai government.
  • Does Karzai’s disputed reelection promote democracy?
  • While some Afghan women and girls have benefited from new
    opportunities for education and political participation, a majority of women still suffer from domestic violence and forced marriages while still teenagers.
  • There are no clear objectives for continuing military action and
    certainly no benchmarks for success.
  • America does not have unlimited resources.

Support H.R. 1084, the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act of 2007. Introduced by Representative Sam Farr (D-CA 17th), this legislation would create a Response Readiness Corps as “a critical first step toward changing the way the U.S. engages the world. Many of the problems in the world today cannot be solved by military force. Problems such as economic disparity and the lack of a functioning, legitimate government can’t be solved by the military. Yet U.S. policymakers lack a corps of civilian experts to send to crisis torn areas to help countries help themselves and provide basic services to their citizens. This legislation addresses that need.” Press Release, Ann Vaughan, Friends Committee on National Legislation, March 5, 2008.

Attack Iran? No! Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support S. 759/HR 3119. Introduced by Senator James Webb and Representative Mark Udall, these bills reassert that only Congress can declare war. Specifically, they prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran without congressional authorization.

Vote for Presidential candidates who will bring the troops home from Iraq.
The Presidential primaries begin in early January and extend into June, 2008. Make sure your vote counts. We want strong peace candidates in November. A chronological listing of primaries is available at: http://www.vote-smart.org.

Contact your Senators and urge them to support S. 759 – a bill introduced by Senator Jim Webb (VA) that would prevent President Bush from attacking Iran without congressional authorization

Contact your Representative’s office and urge them to co-sponsor H.J. Res 14, a measure introduced by Representative Walter Jones (NC) that would require the president to obtain congressional approval for any use of force against Iran, barring “a demonstrably imminent attack” by Iran on the United States

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON WASHINGTON:
Make the Armed Services Committee Accountable.
Prevent the Temporary Increase of U.S. Troops in Iraq; Support the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops.
Stop the Escalation of the Iraq War; Support the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops.

Contact Your Representative to Support House Joint Resolution 73
Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha’s H.J. Res 73 calls for the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. If your representative is already a sponsor, then encourage them to work with Murtha to get the bill to a debate and vote on the House floor.

Contact the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to let them know that supporting our troops means caring for our veterans.

Let’s Add Laura Bush to the List of People to Get the AMP Message
Send Laura the letter on page 1 of the Fall Newsletter. Download the letter to send by fax or mail. Spread the word: WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER. IT NEVER WAS, AND IT ISN’T NOW” Send the letter to:
Laura Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20500

Support Cindy Sheehan
Join AMP in supporting Cindy Sheehan’s courageous stand against the war.

Stop High School Recruitment!!!
Every day American High School students are the targets of U.S. Military recruiters. Did you know that you can opt-out so that your child is not approached? Tell the military to – “Keep your hands off our kids!!”

End the Back-door Draft!!!
Join AMP in urging the media to cover the stories of families victimized by U.S. military “retention policies” – The Back-door Draft must end now!

Register to Vote!!!
Your vote is your voice. We hope you’ll make sure you are registered to vote in your state and that you stay on top of all the candidates’ positions on war and peace.
»»Download a national voter registration form