to Watch Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich on CNN
an Audio Post card about the Peace Alliance
Listen to excerpts
from Southern California
Department of Peace National Campaign Coordinator
"It isn't enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it.
Once must work at it."
The campaign for
the DOP is more than a movement of the mind, but one filled with heart
and soul. Below is just one of the experiences that has touched us all,
as we come together; "Peace is our destination AND the journey."
Share your stories of inspiration by
Representative Susan Davis and the Six Grandmothers
by Nere Lartitegui, Ph.D.
Can just six grandmothers make a difference? This is the story of how
persistence and ingenuity convinced a Congressional Representative that
the Department of Peace is important and worthy of her support. Billie
Delawie, Pat Payne, Nelisse Muga, Tanja Winter, Sunny Harper-Owen and
myself, Nere Lartitegui are the six grandmothers. All of us belong to
San Diego’s 53rd Congressional District and Susan Davis is our Representative.
For Sunny and me, everything began at the Awakened World Conference in
Palm Springs in September, 2003. Saturday morning at the Conference, Marianne
Williamson talked about HR 1673, the Bill introduced by Dennis Kucinich
two years previously, to create a Department of Peace at the Cabinet level.
Fifty Representatives had already sponsored the bill. She told us we needed
to educate ourselves and become knowledgeable about the Bill and be articulate
talking to our Congressperson about how important it is to us and ask
him/her to endorse it. “What marching in the streets was in the
60’s, walking in the hallways of the Congress will be today”,
she said. After her speech Sunny and I looked at each other and we knew
we had just found our cause in spiritual activism; make the Department
of Peace a reality.
Back in San Diego we began learning about the Bill and intelligent and
effective ways to approach our Congressional Representative the national
DOP campaign website. Sunny and I met weekly and began writing letters
and e-mails to Representative Davis, talking to her during her public
appearances in San Diego and meeting at her office with her aides. We
found out about Susan’s life, her interests and her involvement
with different committees in Congress. We joined forces with Pat Payne
and Billie Delawie who already had taken the DoP training in Washington
and had been pursuing Susan Davis’s endorsement for a year.
On a rainy evening in November 2003, Representative Davis made a presentation
outside the Whole Foods Store in La Jolla and Pat, Billie and I talked
to her about the Bill and asked her to sign it. She said that for her
to sign the bill it was necessary to create momentum in San Diego. I took
her words seriously; we began creating the momentum here in her District.
We talked to individuals and groups, took flyers to any meetings we went
to, and met to create a plan. Many people in the District began sending
her letters and e-mails as more and more people got informed and became
interested in the Bill.
In August 2004, Susan Davis was in San Diego during the Congressional
recess. She had different public appearances that we, the six grandmothers,
monitored and at many of which we were present.
At this time Nelisse Muga became very active with the DOP work, delivering
inspiring speeches about the need for the DoP to Representative Davis
and her aides and getting herself well known at the Congresswoman’s
office. Tanja Winter was extremely resourceful in scheduling meetings
with Representative Davis to talk about different issues and included
us to talk about the DOP.
Saturday, August 14, was a very important day in our quest. Representative
Davis did a public presentation at a park in La Jolla in the morning and
in the afternoon she and her office staff had organized a Health Fair
at the Point Loma Library. Nelisse and I went to the park and both of
us spoke to her after her presentation. We related our comments to the
content and concerns in her presentation, such as working for the Veterans
and the housing and well-being of military families. Our interventions
were independent of each other; both of us were personal and passionate
about finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts and ending
the old story of war as a means to find peace. (It sounds like an oxymoron,
We profusely acknowledged Representative Davis’s work and were
never confrontational. The DoP, we said, adds tools offering non-violent
solutions to our conflicts at home and abroad. At the end of my speech,
I reported we had been active in creating the momentum in San Diego for
the DOP as she asked us to do. Then, I asked, implored, begged her to
endorse the Bill; she said she would, after the elections.
the afternoon that Saturday, Nelisse and I went to the Heath Fair. Sunny
also showed up with an exquisite bouquet of two-dozen long stemmed white
roses. When Representative Davis sat down on a couch by Sunny, happily
exhausted after a day of hard work, she admired the flowers asking for
whom the beautiful roses were intended. Sunny responded: “For you,
Susan”. I saw her face relax and felt she melted while receiving
the bouquet. Needless to say, the bouquet contained a card about the Department
of Peace Bill.
The next week Nelisse and Tanja went to Representative Davis’s
office and were told she had decided to sign the bill before the elections.
September 7, Congress resumed. That day, the first back in the Capitol,
Susan Davis endorsed the DOP Bill! When Nelisse broke the news to me,
I couldn’t believe it. It was so fast! It took less than a year
of consistent focus and work from a group of people, the six grandmothers
I have mentioned, and the many citizens from the District who petitioned
We were persistent, focussed, and passionate. We had a vision for a society
with nonviolence as the organizing principle and we had a clear and common
intention. We became a loose team with no rules, regulations or obligations
and had lots of fun working/playing together.
We all treated Congresswoman Davis with respect and actively listened
to her, understanding and acknowledging her hard work. We just wanted
to include her on our team… and we did.
we did, anyone can do.
We are all powerful.
We all can make a difference.
Get informed, become articulate, get together with like-minded
people and have fun with it. And please, remember to romance your Representative…
Flowers are optional.
Americans for the Department of Peace (AFDOP)
is a citizens’ group advocating passage of the Bill to establish
a cabinet level U.S. Department of Peace.
We are the Southern California chapter of the national organization to
advocate for this Bill, “The Peace Alliance”: