Opinion: Peace be with you

The current political climate has given rise to a surge in the organization of groups trying to bring some sense of order and reason to the world. This is also true on our local level where several new groups have formed, each working on topics and issues that boil down to the interest and desire for peace.
No matter what your political affiliation is or whether you agree or disagree with current policies, a spark of civic involvement can only be a good thing. In Morro Bay, at least two groups have formed: Together We Will Morro Bay/The Huddle and Yes We Can Peace Builders/Campaign Nonviolence. My friend and neighbor Meredith Bates formed Together We Will and I formed Yes We Can Peace Builders.
The Huddle is a long established national activist organization. Campaign Nonviolence is also a national activist organization operating under the umbrella of Pace e Bene.org. Together We Will and Yes We Can Peace Builders are made up of local citizens interested in doing actions on a local, state, and national level.
Recently I met with Meredith Bates to discuss our two organizations and how we could collaborate.
“Together We Will came out of the recent Women’s March with people who are like minded and wanting to challenge the agenda of the current federal administration,” Bates said, “and we desire human rights, women’s rights, how government works on a local to national level. We want to register people to vote and have them more inclusive in local, state and national politics.”
This group has worked diligently to form a set of shared values not the least of which states that they “value the foundations of our democracy, such as the living Constitution and the separation of church and state.” They believe in “the rule of law, with civil disobedience when necessary, and the ability to articulate ideas in order to maintain a civil society.”
They value, justice in all forms including social, economic, and environmental; education and the agreement to listen to other viewpoints; working together to focus on issues and solutions, not people or personalities. They are willing to take responsibility for the community in helping others and serving in formal and informal ways and to be custodians of the resources in the community and the earth.
Yes We Can Peace Builders came out of my personal need to see our city become less divisive and more compassionate and to build upon what is positive and uplifting in the community. With this as my interest I also found like-minded people who wanted to work with me and I signed up with the national Campaign Non-Violence to enter Morro Bay into the Non-Violent Cities Project through them.
While the two groups share many similar values, each is attacking problems in a different way. Together We Will is broader in concept working on national, state and local issues. Yes We Can Peace Builders is solely concentrating on elevating the attitudes of residents and city fathers in relation to living the non-violent life. Therefore, Yes We Can is not a political organization. We are public, not political.
Yes We Can asks the question, what would Morro Bay be like if it were truly a non-violent city? In attempting to answer that question, we approach every issue from a positive aspect. For example, we are not against the current national proposed health care policy and would not demonstrate in that manner but are for affordable health care for all citizens and would so demonstrate in that manner.
Non-violent Cities is looking to put into place a paradigm shift in the way the community and city government approach their thoughts, words, and actions to effectively create an environment that is opposed to war, poverty, discrimination of any kind, and environmental degradation. We are not protesting persons in office but are concerned with actions, policies, and laws that affect us all.
It is both my belief and my friend Meredith’s belief that our two groups can work side by side sharing ideas and actions. Soon we hope to collaborate on some non-violent training sessions and on activities to take place during International Peace Week, September 16 – 24. Interested people can join these groups with Together We Will meeting on the third Wednesday of the month at Coalesce Bookstore Garden Chapel, 835 Main Street, at 5:30 p.m. and Yes We Can Peace Builders meeting on the first Wednesday of the month at Massage and Bodyworks, 736 Main Street, at 6:30 p.m. For more information, anyone can contact me at 805-771-9565.
In future issues, I will go into more depth on the activities of both groups.

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