The Hebrew phrase “Tikkun Olam” centers on our human responsibility for fixing what is wrong with the world. Essentially, it is the pursuit of and commitment to social, environmental, and economic justice. Since it’s inception, From War to Peace has strived to embody this principle, and worked to build a community of like-minded individuals and organizations who are dedicated to healing the fractures of our world. These partnerships provide us with a tremendous sense of pride for what we accomplish here. Here’s a glance at whom we love:
This Giving Tuesday, we invite you to join us in supporting these and other extraordinary organizations that are working tirelessly to improve the world our children will someday inherit. You’ve still got until tomorrow (11/28) by11:59pm to receive your FREE Hand-Hammered Peace Symbol necklace on any orders of 3 or more items, along with FREE SHIPPING on any order!
But what about our holiday sale!!!
As the tastiest of holidays descends upon us this year, FWTP is throwing all kinds of extra value into your shopping cart. Tomorrow till Wednesday, all orders receive free shipping, as well as a beautiful complimentary Hand-Hammered Peace Symbol necklace along with any purchase of 3 or more items.
I read somewhere recently that respect isn’t about agreeing with others, so much as it is about how we disagree with them. With that sentiment in mind, we want to tip our hats to an organization dear to our hearts this Veterans day, Veterans For Peace™. They are a group of military veterans “dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war.” You gotta love that. These men and women have established over 120 chapters across the United States and abroad. They are organized, compassionate, and experienced in a way many liberals will never truly understand.
And yet, in some communities Veterans for Peace have found themselves unwelcome. This very day in Binghamton, NY, the Broome County chapter of Veterans for Peace has been told that it cannot march in it’s towns Veterans Day Parade. Clifford Post, spokesperson for the Parade Committee wrote, (VFP’s) “positions are inconsistent and distractive relative to the common purpose of this event.” Peace is not always popular. Well, Broome County VFP…we are with you! If any of you ever find yourself in San Luis Obispo, CA, shoot us a line and we’ll break bread together. Read below to learn more about Veterans for Peace in their own words…
We, as military veterans, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others both nationally and internationally
Happy International Peace Day, you beautiful people. Anybody watching the news lately knows we’ve got our work cut out for us. But this day is set aside to honor a higher ideal. It exists to remind us of patience and compassion and inclusion, and a hundred other things that make humanity a kind of miracle. Much in this world may be beyond our control, but interpersonally, each day offers us another opportunity to embrace the best of ourselves, to do a little better, to get it right. Anybody can fight…but Albert Camus said it best, “Peace is the only battle worth waging.”
Check out the front lines of that battle, as a group of Black Lives Matter protesters are invited on stage to share their message with a group of Trump supporters this week. While far from universally welcomed, these brave and articulate activists got way out of their comfort zones, and left a small corner of Washington D.C. a little more united for their efforts.
Today is Women's Equality Day, which sets out to celebrate the 97th anniversary of American women finally winning the right to vote in 1920. That victory came after decades of suffrage activists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fighting for this basic human right.
While we would be remiss not to tip our hats to these extraordinary women and all others whose struggles brought us this far, we are now nearly 100 years down the road. So just what does all this mean today? With that question in mind, the From War to Peace team hit the streets to probe the minds of some of the best and brightest women in our lives. Here is what we found:
There is much to be done. So much in fact, that the very idea of a commemorative Women’s Equality Day is vaguely humorous - if not downright insulting - to many of the individuals it sets out to honor. The most frequent response we got from the women we spoke with was short and sweet: “why not every day?” And who can blame them? After all, available information paints an unfortunate picture of the state of gender equality in 2017.
Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963, our wage gap aggressively persists; a woman is still typically paid 80 cents on average for every dollar paid to a man doing similar work. And this number has barely budged in a decade. Meanwhile, that 20 cent gap really adds up. A recent study suggests that on average, a 20-year-old female entering the workforce will lose $418,800 over a 40 year career as compared to a male counterpart. Simply put, a woman must stay on the job a decade longer than her male equivalent if she intends to earn the same amount. Race and ethnicity only serve to further widen this gap.
Just last year the American people elected a man as President who cuts one of the most appalling figures of our time: lacking anything approaching a social conscience, he is a racist, a reactionary, and a misogynist. His defeated opponent: a woman with impeccable credentials, genuine personal stability and maturity, compassion for the poor, and a real conscience. Had she won, a woman - for the first time in recorded history - would have been the most powerful person on earth. But we blinked.
Feel like celebrating Women’s Equality Day yet?
And here we find ourselves in 2017, with some progress made, but still facing serious issues and few simple solutions. So back to the question: what does all this mean today? Women today - and any decent men who make common cause with them - face an uphill battle. We must spar in corporate boardrooms and in the halls of government; we need to fight it out over kitchen tables with our families, loved ones and neighbors. We will neither forget our history nor accept the status quo.
But we are not without hope. The Women’s Marches of Jan. 21st yielded what was likely the largest series of single-day demonstrations in recorded U.S. history. That remarkable display of unity stands tall as a testament to what we can accomplish when Women lead. It was a moment to make our daughters proud. Here’s to more of them! And to every woman stepping out of your comfort zone and keeping this conversation alive… this one’s for you.
Seventy seven years ago tomorrow we dropped an atom bomb on the Japanese City of Hiroshima, destroying the city and killing literally hundreds of thousands of people. Three days later we did the same to the people living in Nagasaki, Japan. Never again!
An ancient Chinese proverb tells us that “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” At a time when one of the world’s worst people is also the most powerful person on earth, we know that faith, hope, love and supreme effort can still transform our world for the better. It is and has always been darkest before the dawn. Now - more than ever - is the time to stand up, organize, speak truth to power, love our neighbors and make change.
From War to Peace believes that all things and all people are redeemable. We believe that turning swords into plowshares makes for a more productive and loving world. We believe that man & womankind can transform the ugly into the beautiful and the terrifying into the sublime.
All the best work, though hard, is a blessing. We are challenged to learn more than we knew, we are forced to renew our depleted energies as never before, we are compelled to be our better selves in achieving our best work.
Our best work will achieve a less dangerous & more loving world.
Our best work will provide economic justice & eliminate poverty.
Our best work will eliminate bigotry & misogyny.
Our best work will provide universal health care.
And all we’ve got to do is work like hell to achieve this heaven on earth.
So let’s all of us get out there and raise our voices, light the candle of justice, and organize, organize, organize!
Our little company exists for a simple and singular reason: to remind us all that everything and everyone on our planet is precious, and that nothing and no one is irredeemable.
To that end we take the ugliest things ever created in our world - nuclear weapons meant to kill and destroy us - and transform them, through the magic of disarmament and recycling, into simple, elegant celebrations of peace.
This is the From War to Peace mantra:
Turning weapons meant to destroy us
Into art meant to restore us,
Swords into plowshares,
Bombs into beauty,
Hate into love, &
War into Peace
The Celtic Cross was first introduced to our world almost 1,600 years ago by Saint Patrick, who was attempting to convert the pagan people of Ireland to Christianity. Some of these pagans worshiped the sun, so it is said that Patrick combined the Christian Cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian Cross in the minds of his converts.
Another story has Patrick marking the pagan symbol of the moon goddess (a circle) with a cross, and blessing the stone, making the first Celtic Cross. Other explanations of the origin of the Celtic Cross abound. Some believe it was a phallic symbol that was turned into a cross to hide its true meaning, others that the cross in the circle is a Druid symbol appropriated by Christians.
Whatever the truth of its original intent, the Celtic Cross remains one of our most delightful artistic designs. The Celtic Cross offered by From War to Peace features the beautiful design work of Petr Vodicka, a wonderful Polish artist, and is cast from the magical material Peace Bronze. Peace Bronze is an alloy created with copper we have recycled from disarmed nuclear weapon systems, and is used exclusively to create celebrations of peace.
Today, the Celtic Cross has become a symbol of Irish national pride, and simple love of God and each other.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, here's a great opportunity to save money while announcing your passion for the important people in your life. Each of these pieces is lovingly hand-crafted from Peace Bronze, the magical alloy created from disarmed and recycled weapons of war. Each is suffused with beauty, transformation and peace, and makes a wonderful gift.
From War to Peace dedicates 20+ percent of all profits to peace and social justice organizations around our world, in the hopes of helping create a more loving and sustainable planet.
An estimated 65 million Americans have criminal records, meaning that they have been arrested at least once and possibly convicted of a crime. That represents more than one out of every five Americans.
We pride ourselves on being a "law and order" society, and we have the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth to prove it.
While the United States represents just over 4% of the world's population, we house around 22% of the world's prisoners.
At the end of 2010, there were 2,266,800 people in U.S. prisons and jails. And an additional 5 million folks are on what's called Community Supervision, meaning that they are on either parole or probation.
Amazing, really: well over 7 million Americans - right now - are either in jail, in prison, on parole or probation.
Homeboy Industries helps young gang members recreate their lives with honor
The young, the male, the Black and the Latino are disproportionately incarcerated. Of men in their late 20s almost 9% of all Blacks and 4% of all Latinos are behind bars in our America. It’s little surprise that young minority men who represent our nation's highest levels of unemployment are so often found in our jails or prisons, folks with too little purpose and too much time on their hands.
My late wife, Sandra Gardebring Ogren, spent many years as a Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Often, while at home of an evening, she could be found reading copious legal briefs for cases before the court. On many occasions I heard her exclaim, "Damn, it's another B in B case!"
"B in B" was court slang for "Black in Blaine," Blaine being a St. Paul suburb notorious for pulling over black motorists under the thinnest possible pretext for the sin of having driven through their fair city.
Sandra and her colleagues on the Court routinely threw out those convictions resulting from Black in Blaine arrests, but by then huge damage had already been done as folks were dragged through the court system, their lives upset and their venial sins magnified. I'm afraid that same damage is still being done to Americans of color in too many communities across our nation.
I thought about this question a lot in recent months, as case after case of police killings of unarmed black men filled the news. And I was particularly disturbed when I saw a video of a little boy, just 12 years old, shot to death by the police for proudly displaying his new BB Gun. When I was a boy having a BB Gun was just about the greatest thing any fella could have. Hell, I still have a BB pistol I play with occasionally.
An old friend of mine, Joe Quinn, was a District Court Judge back in Minnesota. We had lunch one day after Joe had been on the bench for several years. "The most frustrating thing about my job" he explained, "is that most of the defendants in my courtroom are really there for the crime of being poor."
If you're poor it often comes down to something like this: you are pulled over while driving your car because one of your brake lights is out, and found to be driving without proof of insurance. You haven't fixed the taillight and don't have insurance because you have a lousy job that doesn't pay worth a damn, and can't afford it.
As a result of your offense you lose your Driver's License and are subject to fines you can’t afford to pay. You still have to get to your low paying job somehow, and are subsequently pulled over and arrested, this time for driving without a license and failure to pay the court-ordered fines. More fines are added on, and now you are looking at jail time as well.
Pretty soon we have managed to turn that poor guy with the crummy job into a genuine criminal.
Over 7 million people in our jails, our prisons, or on parole and probation makes no sense, and is simply unsustainable. It is not true that Americans are somehow worse than folks everywhere else in our world.
The real American crime is a criminal justice system that routinely turns inoffensive behavior into law breaking, and decent citizens into outlaws. And the further crime is a refusal to invest adequately in programs to alleviate poverty, improve public education, and provide good and consistent job programs and job training for young Americans.
I'll let you in on a little secret: I am one of the 65 million Americans with a criminal record.
When I was a teenager and a young man I thought I was of little interest and little value. I took a variety of drugs, whatever was available, in a vain attempt to become someone else. For a number of years I was simply lost, floundering about in a desperate attempt to reinvent myself. I was arrested for drug related offenses on several occasions, and only because my loving father was a well-connected lawyer and law professor did I avoid doing time in prison.
When I was first elected to the Minnesota State Legislature in 1980 I was 29 years old, and still on probation in the State of California for the crime of Marijuana cultivation. Those were the days before the Internet, thank God, and my sordid past was not common knowledge in my new home of Minnesota. And that's a good thing: I managed to help a lot of people with my work in the legislature, and found value in myself in the process.
These days I am again feeling lost in much the way I did as a young man. I've allowed unrecognized depression to curdle into anger, and I've been too often unkind to the people who love me most. I don't think I hurt people back in the day with my drug use. But hurting the people who love me is my true, and more recent crime.
It is so very hard to find someone who will share the center of your life, who knows who you really are, and who loves you anyway. If you are lucky enough to have such a person in your life, please know that he or she is a treasure beyond measure. And make sure you return the love. It might not come around more than once in a lifetime.
I won't be turning to illicit drugs for help this time, though a little Prozac might help. I need instead to get back in touch with that insight from the scripture, "I am wondrously made." And I need to realize that each of you are as well.
There are sometimes revelatory moments in our lives, often beaten into us one way or another, that allow us to reassess and move forward. Here's an aspirational prayer for us all:
I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see