For as long as I can remember, I've always been horrified and appalled by all forms of violence; verbal, physical, violence against people, against animals, and all of the natural world. But I never have been a front line activist. I'm a tree hugger, not a tree sitter.
So I am grateful to have found a place for myself at Lane. This feeling was strengthened during our 2005 In-service Day. In the closing of her speech, President Mary Spilde listed her goals and visions for the coming year. She included creating a Peace Institute here at Lane. And that's when I got up and left the room.
I headed for the nearest computer to send Mary an email saying, "Thank you!
Eventually, I met over 100 of my colleagues who'd had a similar reaction, and a wealth of experience and knowledge I could barely comprehend. So I was in a struggle. I felt completely incompetent, knowing so little about many topics like corporate rule, and water rights... and what is a true democracy really like?
The struggle morphed into motivation, and with Stan Taylor as chair, the steering committee began working on a mission statement and a logo image. Author Margaret Wheatley said, "There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about." And I began to experience this power as the Lane Peace Center brought together internationally recognized organizers, local community activists and students.
The 2011 Symposium Water for Life, Not for Profit, held in the Longhouse was especially memorable. I had never heard of the Winnemem Wintu tribe. The beautiful building was full beyond capacity, with a deep sense of caring.
The focus on water rights, tribal land, and salmon perfectly embraced the phrase," Mitakuye Oyasin: We Are All Related. “
This year we joined in the One Billion Rising to end gender violence, which Kamla Bhasin calls a “feminist tsunami.” There is so much to be done, and so I am really inspired by this new generation of activists. Our keynote speaker Jensine Larsen said it so well, and I continue to replay her words and I hope you will too.