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MY, MY, IT'S AMERICAN PIE: A Mother's Day Celebration

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Coast-to-Coast Peace Pie Deliveries Celebrate Mother’s Day



Department of Peace supporters across the country honored Mother’s Day on Friday by delivering homemade “peace” pies to the local offices of their U.S. representatives and senators, urging support for landmark legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence.


This is the fourth year the event has been sponsored by The Peace Alliance, the nonprofit, nonpartisan, organization that leads the growing grassroots movement to create a U.S. Department of Peace.

In addition to the national grassroots peace pies, the Peace Alliance delivered 435 pies at the nation’s Capitol, one to each member of the House of Representatives.


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The pies, representing the federal budget, all had a tiny slice cut out to show how little money is needed—less than 1% of the federal discretionary budget—to create the Department.


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Peace Alliance Pie Chart [1]


“It’s time to give peace a piece of that pie,” said Peace Alliance Managing Director, Wendy Greene,  “Right now, we spend relatively miniscule amounts of money on programs and policies that proactively address the root causes of violence, and billions upon billions dealing with the after-effects.  It’s time to change that.”


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Kathy Kidd, National Field Director of The Peace Alliance, said, “This is the 4th annual ‘Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie’ event, and each year we increase the scope. Last year 250 pies were delivered around the country. This is the first year that we have delivered information and pies to every single member of the House, here in D.C.”


Legislation and Support


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Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has continually introduced legislation to establish this new, cabinet-level department, since 2003. Most recently, he introduced H.R. 808, on February, 5, 2007.  Kucinich is the 2003 recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award, an annual award given for "contributions made in the promotion of international peace and good will." [2]


H.R. 808 has 68 co-sponsors, and has been endorsed by over 50 organizations including: the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Amnesty International, National Organization for Women, Pax Christi USA, Physicians for Social Responsibility, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Tikkun, and Veterans for Peace. [3]


Thirty-one city councils and commissions (including those in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Newark, and Detroit), three county boards of supervisors, and one tribal council, have passed resolutions endorsing legislation to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. These combined local governing bodies represent more than 12.5 million people. [4]


Regional Groups Bake and Deliver Pies


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In Charleston, South Carolina, volunteers got together to bake pies at The Fork and Spoon Kitchen, a local cooking school.  Owner, Jon Anderson,[5] donated the space and the ingredients for apple and blueberry pies. 


South Carolina State Coordinator, Dee Partridge, said that they are hoping that their pies may encourage Rep. Henry E. Brown (R-SC) to “bite” on the Department of Peace legislation. His staffers, at least, were delighted with their pies.


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Ten-year-old Mimi helped make the apple pies:


Meryl Ann Butler: What do you think about baking pies for peace? 

Mimi: I think it is a good idea. I bet Representative Brown likes getting the pies, because they looked scrumptious!

MAB: What do you think about kids helping to promote peace? Or, do you think it should be a job for the grownups? 

Mimi: That is a hard question. Yes, I do think kids should help to promote peace. Because we are going to be grown up some day and we need to take charge.

MAB: How do you feel that your pies will help with peace?

Mimi: I think my pies are going to help with peace because I was thinking of peaceful thoughts while I was making the pie. So I think that will put a lot of peace into whoever eats it.


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Kim Summers-Bates, Kentucky State Coordinator, said that her Louisville group delivered pies to a number of delighted recipients, including Jan Arnow, Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Relations, given in thanks for the center’s continuing support for the Department of Peace campaign activities.


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Members of Kim’s local, multinational, group who are involved in the campaign have roots in Rwanda, Trinidad, Tibet, Togo, Tanzania, Congo, Tibet, Palestine and Iran, and many are well acquainted with the results of war and violence, and are eager to contribute to peace.


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Kim notes, “Our most recent activist is Tom Crain, a retired Naval officer, who served in five tours of duty as a conventional nuclear weapons specialist.”  Tom says he had “a military career filled with destruction, pain, misery and suffering,” and wants to “take that negativity (from the military training), and turn it toward something positive—positive for the whole world—not just for our own society—by offering better options than fear, war and terror, and a Department of Peace can do that. (One of the ways) it can do that is to educate children toward peaceful solutions, to teach them how to think, not how to fight.  Negatives can become positives—we can make it happen!”


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Terry Mason, State Coordinator for the Los Angeles, Valley and Santa Barbara areas,  said, “the ‘Peace of the Pie’ action has become one of the best relationship-building tools we have. The representatives’ offices look forward to our visit each year. When we call to schedule the appointment, we ask the staff what kind of pie they want, and usually schedule the delivery for just before noon, so the staff can enjoy it after lunch. These staff members become our staunch supporters, and continue to work on our behalf to keep our voice heard in the representative's offices.”


The bill has three co-sponsors in the Los Angeles area: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA). Mason said, “Of course, they all received pies, but so did many other congressional offices where the organization has active volunteers … Democracy doesn't work on auto-pilot. Being an active citizen can be as easy as pie!"


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Christine Elliot, founder of Americans for Department of Peace (AFDOP) and board member of The Peace Alliance, and her San Diego group delivered pies to local offices, including to Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Feinstein (D-CA); Congresspersons Susan Davis (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), and Darrell Issa (R-CA); and to Congressional candidate Nick Leibham.


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Why Promote Peace for Mother’s Day?


In 1870, Julia Ward Howe [6]—poet, abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and editor, best known as the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic—started a crusade to institute a Mother's Day as a Day for Peace. An American Lysistrata, her Proclamation begins: "Arise, then, women of this day! … Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause …”


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Howe called for women to “solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace … In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."[7]

The Peace Alliance has initiated a grassroots revolution for a Department of Peace, a movement that is as creative, inventive, and passionate, as the founders of this country.

And it’s as American as mom and apple pie.



For more information on HR 808 and the campaign: www.thepeacealliance.org

Photos of Jon Anderson, Sherry Fowler, and Mimi are by Dee Partridge.


Photo of pie delivery to Sen. Barbara Boxer's office, San Diego, by Dan Hammer, includes: (L to R): Virginia Berger, John McNeil, Christine Elliot, Caridad Sanchez (District Director for San Diego and Imperial Counties), Brian Gibbs, and Maudean Sanders.




[1] www.thepeacealliance.org/files/campaigns/peace_pie/PieHandout2008.pdf   Source: Budget of the United States Government: Detailed Functional Tables Fiscal Year 2009, Table 25–14. Current Services Outlays by Function, Category, and Program (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy09/fct.html), discretionary funding only. Excludes additional mandatory outlays (e.g., Social Security, Medicare,  Medicaid, Interest on debt), which typically represent about half of the total federal budget. *Other includes Veterans benefits & services, Natural resources & environment, International affairs, General science, space & technology, Community & regional development, General government, Agriculture, Energy, Social security, Medicare, and Commerce & housing credit. Excludes -$8B in undistributed offsetting receipts. Department of Peace included for illustrative purposes only.

[2] Past recipients of the Gandhi Peace Award include Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Linus C. Pauling, and former U.N. Secretary General, U Thant.

[6] Howe also wrote travel books, biography, drama, verse, and children's songs. She edited Woman's Journal from 1870 – 1890, and spoke and read seven languages. In 1908 she became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A preacher and teacher, she birthed six children, five of whom lived to adulthood, and she survived a violent marriage to an adulterous husband who mismanaged her significant inheritance.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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