PeacePledge

A Peacemaking Project by David G.

What is the injustice we are solving?

All too often in our polarized country, we find ourselves yelling across political divides and can't seem to agree on anything. PeacePledge.World believes that all humans can agree to something: peace. Peace begins with citizens taking the pledge, but we understand that citizens are limited in what they can do. So what if politicians took a pledge for peace? What if the decision makers decided to make peace a priority? What if instead of inheriting the political issues of an older generation, the demanded that peace become a priority?

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of obstinate violence and war
we will address the indifference legislators have
by mobilizing pro-peace youth to petition decision-makers to take a pledge for peace.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • Create a website serving as a peace-building resource
  • Accumulate a list of politicians sponsoring the project
  • Create a "Petition Your Politician" Toolkit
  • Create a movement among youth to pledge for peace
  • Translate the pledges into different languages so that youth around the world can petition their politicians

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Being mindful of the wars and conflicts around the world and to remember to value human life. We will look to the innocence of children and remember that they are the most innocent victim of war and conflict. We will increase our compassion by remembering the daily victims of war and violence.

How will you show courage?

I will show courage by being fearless and to dream big. I will be fearless in asking politicians to sign the pledge, in spreading the pledge movement, and in having conversations about war and peace. I will dream big by being ambitious and having big long-term goals.

How will you collaborate with others?

I have reached out to an organization down in California to collaborate and combine our efforts to build a peaceful world. Additionally, I am ready to reach out to multiple networks to push the pledge and make it know to young people. I will also make an effort to collaborate with a local team to petition my politicians.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I will know that I am moving in the right direction by asking third-parties for their opinions and analyses. I will know that I am moving in the right direction when peace is viewed as a political possibility and not a utopian ideal. I will know that I am moving in the right direction when a prevailing concern and action for peace exists among citizens and politicians.

Key Steps

  • Build a team
  • Find partners and allies
  • Build a website + organization branding
  • Ask youth to take the pledge (get 500 pledges)
  • Petition politicians to take the pledge (get 50 pledges)
  • Become a registered nonprofit

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

Since this is a long-term project, my team's understanding of Peace, violence, and politics is still developing. We have since learned more about the civic process and how to contact legislators, and in our San Francisco retreat, we will be given seminars on major conflicts around the world.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

My immediate community has not been impacted, and since this is a long-term project, the impact is yet to be seen. But the biggest impact thus far is that among the international peacemaking community, believe some of the players are beginning to realize that youth are becoming much more prominent in peacemaking.

How many people were impacted by your project?

77

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

There are 49 legislators/candidates who have signed the pledge. There are 14 sponsors of the project and 7 youth members. There are an additional 7 elder members who help with finances and legal things. This totals 77 people impacted by the project, this is not including the impacts of legislator action on their constituents.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

From connecting with a youth from Japan, we learned from her about the affects of the atomic bombs in Japan. We also learned from each other about the conflicts some of our parent fled. I talked about the conflict and history of Ukraine, another member talked about the Vietnam war, and yet another member talked about the domestic violence in the United States.

What did your team learn?

Our team learned that in very few cases is violence and war justifiable. WE learned that war is very real and violence is not at all glamorous. It is a disgusting, vile, horrible, atrocious, and heinous act that greed leads countries and people to engage in. We also learned that many conflicts occur due to a bad history, or a fight over limited resources. As a result, we are learning that in the coming years, with environmental issues, the next huge outbreaks of violence will be over natural resources like farmland and water.

What challenges did your team overcome?

A challenge our team had to overcome was the generational and physical gap between the youth members and the older generation in Berkeley. I had to facilitate communication between both parties and had to call into Berkeley meetings and introduce myself. Through technology, we were able to overcome these challenges. Through our retreat in June we also hope to break down these barriers.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

A team member, Justin Thach, is in charge of our website and reached out to his friends for feedback on how to improve the website. I reached out to international activists to sell an idea for a Youth Count of nuclear weapons' money. In particular, while in San Francisco, we will be holding a benefit to raise money for expansion, and we are joining forces with an international project to count the nuclear weapons money as a separate project dedicated to involving youth counting their public money being spent on a program maintaining weapons of mass destruction.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Remember the why of your project. Remember what originally drove you to change a problem you perceived. Remember the people who will benefit from your project and look at how they are impacted. Remember your morals and remember to get some rest, you deserve a break.

Our Updates:

Joining forces

David G. 21 May 2018 15:07 Since conception, we have reached out for help. We ended up connecting with a group of elderly peace-minded professionals in Berkeley, CA. They already started a similar project and had a list of politicians who took their pledge. After much discussion, we are joining forces and organizations to couple the fundraising power and guidance of one group, with the creativity, drive, and willingness of a youth team. The group in Berkeley is the generation of the Vietnam peace protests, and now, they are joining forces with the generation of Parkland, Syria, and Korea in creating a peaceful world!

Our first team calls!

David G. 21 May 2018 15:11 We had our first virtual team call on May 5th with the youth team.

We had a joint team call with two of the youth members and the Berkeley team on May 

 

Connecting with international peace activists

David G. 21 May 2018 15:14 Our project has been endorsed by Alyn Ware, a renowned peace advocate from Australia, and Marzhan Nurzhan, a legislator from Kazakhstan. 

We also have connected with an individual from Japan who wants to be involved in PeacePledge work.

An in-person retreat!

David G. 21 May 2018 15:22 On the dates of June 21-26th the entire youth committee and Berkeley team (http://www.peacepledge.world/team/) will attend a retreat in Berkeley to hatch a new idea called "World Youth Counts," team bond, hold a fundraiser, and to work on developing our goals!

 

Comments:

Vincent O.
9 August 2018 8:57

Hi David,
I am so thrilled by your project. I like your approach towards peace building in the society. Taking a pledge will help go a long way.

Jenna G.
1 August 2018 15:48

Hi David!

Jenna here--I'm a member of the Peace First team, and I wanted to let you know that I really like your project, it is incredible that you were able to get youth and elderly individuals to join forces to educate and remind politicians about the harm war does and the lives we need to remember. It is awesome that you have created such a driven partnership towards peace! I hope that you'll submit an application to tell your story at the first-ever Peace First Summit on 9/16!

Applications are due today, August 1--you should have more information in your email inbox. Here's the application link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6X9fTrSTC6PoXjLpVUtNlJgZHbd5QdB6-hgxlC-d7DBlK_g/viewform Please let me know if you have any questions--I hope you'll apply!

Warmly,
Jenna :)

Adrian B.
4 July 2018 17:01

Hi David,

Sorry that it has taken me a while to come back to you with a list! We have been quite busy with the new project platform here at Peace First!

Here are some of the organization I think could be useful to connect with:

Orgs I have some familiarity with:
Veterans for Peace
American Friends Service Committee (they do lots of anti-war work, including youth-based work: http://www.oneminuteforpeace.org/)
Students for Justice in Palestine
Jewish Voice for Peace
Code Pink: Women for Peace
Iraq Veterans Against the War


Orgs I have heard about but know less about their work:
The Non-Violence Project
United National Antiwar Coalition
War Resisters International
World Beyond War .org
World Peace Council
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Peace One Day
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Stop the War Coalition
Peace Pledge Union
Another Mother for Peace
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), also known as International A.N.S.W.E.R. and the ANSWER Coalition
Anti-War Committee
Campus Antiwar Network
War Resisters League
Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism
The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
Peace Action
Peace Alliance (and Student Peace Alliance)
The World Can't Wait
Troops Out Now Coalition
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ)
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Muslims for Peace
Muslim Peace Coalition

I hope that these are helpful! More research will be useful to find organizations that are most closely aligned with your needs. Let me know if you need additional support or have more questions!

Best,
Adrian

Fish S.
19 January 2018 10:28

David, love this idea. It would be great if folks in positions of political power made peacemaking a priority and, more importantly, were able to commit to a set of common values. I think it's a great vision!

What's your plan for your next steps -- and how can we help?

David G.
19 January 2018 13:39

Step 1: Draft a Citizen's Pledge for Peace and a Politician's Pledge for Peace
Step 2: Build a preliminary website
Step 3: Target the Mayor of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau Chief to publicly take the pledge at an interfaith march/rally I will be organizing on April 29.
Step 4: Reach out to Oregon's 2 senators and 5 representatives and petition them along with the Oregon Attorney General and Governor.
Step 5: Have the willing ones promise to publicly take the pledge on September 21 (International Peace Day)
Step 6: Make the Politicians for Peace website public and send it to all known and accessible networks so that youth can petition their politicians to pledge for peace on Peace Day. (By then I 'd have created an easy to follow guide on how to do so respectfully and successfully)

David G.
19 January 2018 13:41

I'm not sure how Peace First can help, I'm not too familiar with the work you do, but what pops out to me is the micro grant to fund the website and to help spread the word to youth when I go public

Fish S.
22 January 2018 12:37

I think the micro-grant could absolutely help. And I definitely think you could recruit willing partners in other states.

Great step-by-step plan. One thing to consider might be asking city council members and state senators/reps to sign on -- easier to get in touch with and if you can validate it by saying "so-and-so has already signed" it might be easier to get buy-in from higher office holders!

David G.
22 January 2018 16:19

Lol, way ahead of you! We already got a hitlist of contacts and politicians, starting with smaller ones and start going for the bigger fish once we've got a record of politicians that already signed up.

Fish S.
23 January 2018 16:52

Nice. Let us know whether there's anything else we can do to be supportive!

Abigail A.
23 January 2018 18:21

Thank you so much! We will continue working on some of the preliminary tasks and keep you updated as we go. Thanks again :)

Adrian B.
29 March 2018 20:20

Hi David,

Just checking in about your project and the next steps. I wanted to make sure you are aware of the upcoming Mini-Grant Deadline - there is still time to remain eligible to attend a Peace First Challenge Accelerator if you complete your Compassionate Insight, Project Plan, and Mini-Grant application by March 31st.

We're excited about your work, and would love to be able to support it with a mini-grant of up to $250.

These tools can help you craft your insight, plan, and budget for your mini-grant:
https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion
https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Through your dashboard you can submit your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let me know how I can help!

Best,
Adrian

Adrian B.
5 April 2018 14:27

Hi David,

We wanted to let you know that we are extending the deadline for active projects to apply for a Mini-Grant during this Peace First Challenge to April 15th. You can apply for a mini-grant anytime, but meeting the Challenge deadlines will make you eligible for additional opportunities.

If you do not require a mini-grant to complete your project, you can remain eligible for the Accelerator by completing your project and Reflection before the May 31st deadline! If you submit your project plan by April 15th, we'll be sure to provide you with feedback by April 21st to support you with carrying out the plan.

If you are still in early stages of planning, you are also welcome to apply for a mini-grant at a later date -- although you may not be eligible for some of our larger opportunities, the opportunity for funding and support is always there.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and if we can help in any way!

Best,
Adrian

David G.
5 April 2018 14:45

Thank you for letting me know Adrian!

Adrian B.
5 April 2018 15:46

Sure thing! Please let me know if you need support finding and completing the application--I know the site can be a bit confusing sometimes!

RaulPF C.
12 April 2018 13:52

Hi David,

Thanks again so much for posting this project.

As part of the Peace First project-making process, we give formal feedback on your compassionate insight. Once your insight is all set, then you can move forward with your mini-grant application if you need funds to help move your idea into action!

I want to give you feedback on your insight:
"To solve this injustice of
violence
we will address
peace as a solution to conflicts and problems
by
convincing youth and decision-makers to take a pledge for peace."

I love the fact that you have a very clear idea of what you want to approach as a solution. Something I think would make your insight a lot more powerful is if you were able to go a little bit deeper into the particular injustice you want to address as well as the root cause that you have identified.

An example of a really strong insight could be:

"
To solve this injustice of
Teen Dating Abuse
we will address
The lack of education of teenagers on this issue to help themselves and others, enabling them to recognize dangerous warning signs, identify the cycle of abuse, and safely leave an abusive relationship.
by
Putting on our 2nd annual Party to Prevent, an event planned and run by teens for teens featuring education and empowerment in a fun and positive environment."

I would love to see how you can elaborate on your insight so that it is a lot easier for everyone to understand your angle.

Thanks for contributing towards a better world!

Raul and the Peace First Team

David G.
21 April 2018 19:09

Hello Raul and the Peace First team,

I updated my compassionate insight! Let me know what you and your team think of it!

Adrian B.
23 April 2018 10:09

Hi David,

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths:

I love this idea! You've identified an important reason for war (a lack of political will for/belief in peace) and are working to shift this will by asking people to identify with supporting peace. This is a powerful and important idea. I love that you have set specific, ambitious, and attainable goals for initial sign-ons, and that you're already thinking about ways to grow your impact. It's so important to have people championing peace and to work towards creating a culture shift around how we think about this.

I especially love these words you shared: "I will know that I am moving in the right direction when peace is viewed as a political possibility and not a utopian ideal. I will know that I am moving in the right direction when a prevailing concern and action for peace exists among citizens and politicians." This language is moving and motivating, and I'm sure that it will bring others to your campaign as well.

Things to Consider:

I love that you're thinking about ways to collaborate with others--that will help your project reach so many more people! As you're doing this, the number one suggestion I have is for you to increase and deepen your impact by involving people who are directly affected by war--refugees, veterans, people from countries experiencing war, etc. There are so many of these groups who are also working towards peace--and having their insights and leadership on board with your project will enrich your message and effectiveness in ways that neither of us can fully know yet.

The first step for this is to talk to people who are directly impacted, talk to people who cause war to happen, and talk to people who are working to change it--here's a tool we have to help with this: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others. People in each of these groups may end up also being supporters/leaders in your project, too! Let me know if you'd like to think together about who it makes sense to reach out to--here's one group doing important work: https://www.veteransforpeace.org/

Your updated insight looks great--I love how you've gotten to the root of this problem as legislators' indifference! This is so true!

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Best,
Adrian

Adrian B.
23 May 2018 13:14

Sounds good! How's everything going now?

Adrian B.
23 May 2018 13:36

IT LOOKS SO GOOD. Yay!!

Adrian B.
7 June 2018 13:29

Hi David!

Congratulations on finishing this step in your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Strengths:

I am floored by the way you are collaborating with an older generation of peacemakers--learning from them, deepening connections, and showing the importance of youth voice. These kinds of authentic collaborations across peace movements are so important, and I think this is a deeply powerful way your work will have impact.

Also impressive is your grasp on peace, violence, and war--you clearly already had a high level of understanding when you started this project, and you've continued to dig deeper. It's vital for peace activists to understand the intricacies of conflicts all over the world, and I love that you're continuing to seek out opportunities for learning in this area.

Things to consider:

I'm curious about how your project would grow if you apply your curiosity and understanding of this issue to deepening understanding and collaboration with people who are directly affected by the violence of war. There are a number of US based organizations and groups I'm aware of that I can share with you. Hearing from people who are directly affected--and then finding ways to collaborate with them/amplify their work/be strategic about how the Peace Pledge can support their work will allow you to create a huge impact that's sourced from people who experience the violence and death resulting in US imperialism and war. Here's a link that can dig deeper into this: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others

I have one other question--I noticed that you didn't mention the grant specifically in your reflection. Have you spent the $250 yet, and if you have, what did you end up spending it on? I know that you joined forces with another organization, so perhaps your plans to use it for the website changed, and that's totally OK. Just want to make sure you've still been able to use the funds!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Best,
Adrian

David G.
10 June 2018 4:19

Hello Adrian,

Thank you for the feedback! I deeply appreciate all the help and guidance you provide!

I will take you up on that offer: could you send me a list of those US based organizations and groups that work with those directly affected by war? And if possible, could you introduce PeacePledge to them? (if you are already in contact with them)

And about the funds, after I applied and received them, I realized that I'm not exactly sure what to use them on. There are a few different things we could use them on and I'd want to consult you or another Peace First staff on what you think would be best!

David

Adrian B.
11 June 2018 18:12

Hi David,

I don't have many direct contacts, but I can give you a list! It will take a little bit of time for me to compile, but watch this space. :)

As for your mini-grant, I'd be happy to think with you about what you want to prioritize for spending. Let me know if you want to talk about it on the platform, or we can find a time to talk on the phone/video.

Since you no longer intend to to spend the funds on what you applied for with the mini-grant, you'll need to go through the process of re-submitting the mini-grant application form so that we can approve his new plan for the spending officially. So, you can resubmit the form and send us an e-mail with additional context about how this fits into your larger work/what step or action it relates to, etc. Let me know if you need support with this part of it as well!

Excited to connect more.

Best,
Adrian