Below is our most recent membership letter, sent out in February 2013. We recommend that you view this as a PDF, which will provide an easier read and also allow you to see the pictures we've included. To do this, please click HERE and then click on the download arrow on the left of your screen, toward the top.
Citizen Action for Peace & the Environment
804-C E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201 573/875-0539
Dear Friend of Peaceworks,
As you might have guessed, even before you opened the envelope, this is our annual membership letter. We’ve been hard at it, working to promote a more peaceful, just and sustainable future. To keep at it, we really need your generous support. So, if you appreciate our efforts, and you don’t feel like doing all the reading, you can skip to the last page now. For the rest of you, a bit more information might be useful.
Peaceworks was founded in 1982 as, at least some of you likely remember, a response to the greatest existential threat humanity has faced. We originated as a Nuclear Weapons Freeze group during the Reagan years, when the U.S.-Soviet arms race was spiraling out of control, and there was lots of loose talk about “winnable nuclear war.” Over the years, we expanded our focus to include a broader set of connected issues, but we have always held as a priority concerns that threaten our hopes for a brighter future; thus our major focus on sustainability, starting in the early 1990s.
Today, we continue to advocate for nuclear disarmament and world peace. Much of our energy of late, however, has been focused on climate change, another existential threat that’s not being addressed with anywhere near the urgency it should. In fact, just as with the nuclear arms race 30 years ago, we’re wrestling with a distressing bipartisan combination. We face outright denial on the part of the Right and rhetorical concern, but very little real action by many liberals. So, Peaceworks is collaborating with our allies in the environmental, climate justice and peace advocacy movements to bring our weight to bear.
Over the past year we’ve focused on the creation of a Peace Economy, holding a wide variety of awareness-raising events bringing home the message that we’d produce more jobs and a sounder economy if we invested in people and infrastructure, rather than squandering hundreds of billions each year on war and unneeded military spending.
In 2013 we are continuing this work, with a special emphasis on the notion of Real Security. Throughout the year we’ll be getting out and talking with our neighbors about what the real threats are to our security and well-being. At the top of the list is climate change. We need to redirect resources into addressing this very real threat. We likewise need to invest in our people, including providing decent education and prevention-focused health care for all. And the time has come for serious cuts to military programs—from new nuclear weapons plants to killer drone programs—that have nothing at all to do with defense and actually make more enemies.
Another aspect of Real Security we will give voice to is defending our critical social insurance programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We will continue to advocate for fair taxes, requiring those who can afford it to pay their fair share. Progressive taxation can help get our out-of-kilter economy back on track.
Grassroots, People-to-People Advocacy:
Peaceworks has long taken a grassroots approach to our education and advocacy work. We are the folks who’ll be out at the Post Office from early until late on Tax Day, leafleting our fellow citizens and holding a noon-hour speakout. You’ve likely seen Peaceworks volunteers at events like Earth Day or Art in the Park gathering signatures on petitions.
We hold frequent programs, educating our neighbors about the issues, showing films about climate change or the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons. We hold classes at the Peace Nook and provide speakers for classes at MU and other schools. Our speakers’ bureau is always happy to speak to civic groups or at houses of worship. We also are out each and every Wednesday afternoon for a Rush Hour Peace Demonstration we’ve anchored for the past 11 years.
We regularly visit the offices of our Congressional delegation. We have been to Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt’s offices several dozen times over the past 16 months, repeatedly bringing our concerns to their attention. When Rep. Hartzler opened her Columbia office in January, we were there with a delegation to put her on notice that Columbia constituents want meaningful action on climate change.
We also regularly post alerts, via e-mail and our Facebook pages, encouraging our members and supporters to make their voices heard. Several times a year we come together in larger numbers to demonstrate our concerns. Right now we are gearing up for a peace gathering that will be held Wednesday, March 20, the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War. We will also be gathering Saturday, August 4, to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and issue a call for a future free from the threat of nuclear war.
New Kids’ Programs:
“If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the Children.” Gandhi
Children are the seeds of change. We are in the process of rolling out two new programs for kids in the 7-12-year-old range, Peacemaker Kids and Earth Keeper Kids. The former will kick off in early March with the goal of planting the seeds of peace in order to create a more just and peaceful planet. Children participating will learn the concepts of compassion, empathy and compromise that will allow them to reach peaceful conflict resolution. The class will explore other cultures, learn about famous peacemakers, and develop skills to resolve problems in a fun and creative environment. This is just a start. We hope to ramp up our efforts in the months ahead.
Expanding Our Web Presence:
We are moving forward with websites and Facebook pages for Peaceworks, Missourians for Safe Energy, the Center for Sustainable Living, Peace Nook and Columbia Earth Day. We aim to inform and to activate as many as we can.
Redoubling Efforts on Sustainable Living:
We are expanding our educational efforts. With the cooperation of the Columbia Earth Day Coalition, we’ve brought on board Laura Wacker to work as a half-time staff member focused primarily on sustainability education and Earth Day organizing. This past year, in addition to our tenth-annual Sustainable Living Fair, held in September, we put on both spring and fall Edible CoMo garden tours. These events were well attended and provided great information on gardening and urban agriculture.
We are moving ahead organizing for a May 19 Edible Columbia Tour and are laying the groundwork for fall events, including our 2013 Sustainable Living Fair, as well as our Holiday Gift-Making Workshop. We also hope to hold more sustainable living workshops, seminars and other events in 2013 and invite active participation in this effort.
Advocating for Sustainable Energy:
Missourians for Safe Energy, the Peaceworks energy policy project, works for a Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free future based upon twin pillars: energy efficiency and use of renewables. We are working closely with other local groups interested in climate protection. MSE opposes Ameren’s efforts to circumvent the voter initiative requiring that a growing share of our energy come from renewable sources. We also recognize that their proposal to build small modular reactors is an expensive boondoggle that diverts resources away from cleaner, safer and more productive options. SMRs will only be pursued if given massive taxpayer handouts. We will continue to work for sustainable alternatives.
Meaningful Earth Day:
Peaceworks is a founding member and a leader in the Columbia Earth Day Coalition. We work to assure a holiday dedicated to the environment, with a grassroots focus—not something co-opted by corporate polluters. We’ve put the emphasis on Eco Ave. the area of the festival devoted to sustainability education. We’re working to make April 21, 2013 our best Earth Day yet.
We keep the Peace Nook open seven days a week as a community resource center and activism hub. The Nook provides the community with access to progressive resources otherwise unavailable in the area and offers an institutional presence for the progressive movement. It also presents to the community an economic entity established not for private profit, but rather for community betterment. Dozens of volunteers work with our small paid staff to keep the Nook a vital community space.
Promoting Informed Citizenship & Inspiring Sustained Activism:
Peaceworks provides not only a vehicle for active citizenship, but also a base of mutual support that enables this activism. We bring people together, as noted above, for gatherings throughout the year—some large, some small—that build a sense of solidarity and community. We have an inter-generational base, bringing together people of all ages. And we hold some awesome potlucks. We encourage all our members and supporters to join us for these gatherings.
A grassroots movement requires grassroots support—both active participation and funding. We write to you today holding firmly the belief that there is an urgent need to address the constellation of issues on Peaceworks’ plate, including climate change, Peace Economy, sustainability and economic justice. To move this agenda forward, we need your most generous support.
We have set a goal of raising at least $16,000 in our 2013 spring membership drive. This is an attainable goal, with your support, but it is more than we’ve raised in previous years. We can no longer count on revenues from the Peace Nook, and thus we are coming to you asking for you to give us the wherewithal to keep moving forward. We are frugal and most work is done by volunteers, but we still need to pay our bills
We encourage those who can to join our “Peace Core,” the core group of Peaceworks members who contribute at the level of at least $100 a year. This can be done by way of a one-time contribution at this level or above, or by committing to a monthly pledge level. We encourage you to consider the monthly sustainer option—giving using a debit or credit card—as it is easier on one’s budget and provides us with an income stream throughout the year.
We urge you not to put this off. Please consider how much you value the work of Peaceworks. If you’d like to see this work continue moving forward, your support is needed now. Please give as generously as you can. Of course, your donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. You can mail in your membership or give securely online at www.midmopeaceworks.org. We thank you for your ongoing support. We couldn’t do it without you.
Working for a brighter future and looking forward to hearing from you,
Mariana Morales Quinones
Board Vice President