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The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
Posted: April 25 2010,21:46 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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Postal address of organization/institution

9 Laurel Road, Riverton, NJ  08077

E-mail address of organization/institution


Website address of organization/institution

Telephone of organization/institution


PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity


TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity


PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

We engaged our entire community at many levels – school superintendent (including children, parents & teachers); borough council & mayor; the town women’s club and local library; in addition to the peace groups of local churches (Quaker, Catholic, Science of Mind and Episcopal).  We received networking support from the World Peace Prayer Society (the peace pole initiators) through whom we are connected to all the many peace pole folks all over the world.  We network with individuals and organizations from other communities in assorted states who had been through the process of erecting peace poles with varying degrees of success. News reporters were attracted to our great story from the passions aroused by our conflict and helped keep it alive in the public's eyes until it was happily resolved much later!

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

A group of local peace advocates desired to plant a Peace Pole in town to raise awareness about the culture of peace.  We naively thought everyone would welcome our generous contribution to enhancing neighborhood peace and nonviolence.  After all, one of our messages was “May Peace Be in Our Homes and Communities.”  That’s why we were stunned to find ourselves at the center of what turned out to become a challenging and controversial long-term ordeal in our small borough (right across the river from Philly).  Begun around the mid-point of the decade (during the second Bush administration when public opinion about the Iraq War was still tender and touchy from not having yet soured) the project initially created huge opposition from a vocal faction of veterans who felt it was disrespectful and unpatriotic,  in spite of the fact that many other veterans wanted it.  

Through attending a series of council meetings to educate the community on what a Peace Pole is and dispel the many misconceptions that had spread around town, we eventually obtained council’s approval. The superintendent of schools supported our idea to have a “pennies for peace” campaign for the children to raise funds to help purchase it.  The issue became whether we had the right as individual citizens to erect something on public property that was perceived as religious and political.  Lawsuits were being threatened until we discovered a precedent had been set in Holland, Michigan (which actually made NPR news) where it was determined that Peace Poles CAN go on public ground because their “universal” message does not advocate any particular religion or politics -- as presumably EVERYONE wants peace.

We patiently persisted in confronting the misinformation, constantly challenged to try to “walk our talk” and model Non-Violent Communication (NVC) when we were frustrated.  Four years after our initial proposal, we finally succeeded in peacefully resolving the conflict in a win-win way … which had subsequently developed into just WHERE the Peace Pole should go on public soil. We conducted a participatory town-wide “location” survey, soliciting input from the entire community to determine its best possible location.  The   second entrance to the park won out, which has proven in many ways to be the perfect location, bearing out the value of the collective wisdom of the community.

Joyous community-wide Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony on the International Day of Peace September 21, 2008 to officially acknowledge its planting on municipal soil.  Featured speakers were various town folks including elementary school children with Superintendent; Reverend from the Episcopal church; two Councilmen, town librarian ... and Native Americans from the local Powhatan Renape Nation who ended festivities with a "friendship circle."

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

The fact that we succeeded in eventually planting a Peace Pole in our challenging little small-town on borough soil, in spite of vehement opposition, shows progress.  We believe that if a Peace Pole can come to OUR town, then world peace is possible!  Our Peace Pole has been up now for two years and has become an accepted and increasingly valued landmark in town.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

What caused the initial problem was lack of understanding about the concept of positive peace – plus intolerance of a different worldview (namely ours) during the early stage of the Iraq War.   This project provided a great opportunity to educate (at council meetings and through our many news stories) on “culture of peace” during a tender time.  It was a challenge that required constant effort, energy, focus ... and courage.  Some in town are still opposed to the Peace Pole.  Most everyone though (including us) grew in community awareness, tolerance and understanding.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

Many are stunned to finally see our Peace Pole for it looks insignificant compared to the drama that surrounded it.  On the fourth of July during park festivities, we read the Thomas Jefferson Peace Prayer around it.  Last year a Thomas Jefferson impersonator dramatically read it, accompanied by a Betsy Ross impersonator, both decked out in colonial garb.  We also had a MLK reading on a freezing cold Martin Luther King day and plan to make these annual traditions.  We hope as it gains wider appeal through time, even more local peace events will take place around it.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

The World Peace Prayer Society has already created a uniquely strong, supported global Peace Pole movement.  Our local project -- in relation to it -- is a living example of the profound motto "think globally, act locally."  Here we are in our nice little suburban community with a Peace Pole which connects us to the chain of Peace Poles that exist now all over the world.  This consciousness of dispersed Peace Poles around the planet creates a synergy ... they are like "giant accupuncture needles" pricking the energies of the planet to make it balanced and in harmony.
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