I am very humbled and overjoyed by two major events yesterday.
A gentleman named Heinz, a customer at my coffeeshop, donated a generous sum of money to the gas fund. His donation of $250 covers a large portion of petrol. I placed his name on the Peace map. The Peace map is how I will fundraise money, the majority of it going to 3 chosen organizations. A small part goes to food, gas, lodging for me. The more free food and couches to stay on-the more money raised goes to nonprofits. You get to sponsor a part of the Peace sign, and are free to donate as much or as little as you like.
I also humbly offer you this piece that Daphne submitted to One Million Peace Signs (OMPS). If you haven’t visited them yet, please “run FAST” to see one of my favorite websites. On the 1st of this year, the creator behind OMPS had a flash of brilliance. Why not host a website where people can submit their Peace photos and make it really easy using flickr and facebook?
What is in a name? Well obviously-they are still a long from the goal-but it’s all about the journey-not just the destination! As of Saturday, March 29, 2008 they have 6,447 photos from 2,335 members in 88 days. Right on! When I can, I help blog on their website. It’s the most fun ever, I’m so happy to help out…and look at all those cool photos from around the world. In addition to hosting amazing photos, they moderate discussion, post Peace events and showcase Peace Hero articles. OMPS asked Daphne to write something about me. (blushing here but honored) Honestly, after I read it, I was so happy that my intent does shine out to some people. And it definitely gave me that surge of energy I need whilst making all these preparations. BECAUSE REALLY, THIS IS ABOUT US. Not about me, I was a little bashful ’bout the whole thing. The current Peace hero over there is Eric Burdon from the group, The Animals. This particular statement of his jumped out at me:
….I asked, “Where can Peace be found?
He replied, “In the eyes of a well-nurtured child or animal that’s not under threat, usually from a human. Do you think I know peace? Personally, at the moment I do…but do I live in a peaceful world? I do not. So it’s within.” I followed that question with, “How can a person help Peace manifest in their life?” He said, “Do the right thing, breathe, and do it again.”
If you have some photos to post at OMPS…it’s really easy. Just join the OMPS FLICKR group, http://www.flickr.com/groups/575360@N25/
Alix Bryan (a.k.a P.E.A.C.E Scooter, a.k.a Scooter Girl) of Charlottesville, VA is my Peace Hero. Last year, she quit her job, put herself into debt and climbed on her scooter to “put Peace on the map.” What that meant to Alix was an 11,000 mile ride (originally estimated at 9,000 ) over the span of 13 weeks (originally estimated at 8 ) on 1o inch tires, riding 4 inches from the ground to ask people all over the US “How do you define Peace? How do you teach it to your children?”
She was inspired while visiting an art exhibit where she saw a quote by a John Lennon which read, “If a billion people were thinking about peace, there would be peace in our world.” About 40 days later, she hit the road to find the truth in that statement. She set out to make a documentary, and wound up making a bunch of friends and a big difference.
Alix called the ride P.E.A.C.E Scooter (A Patriot’s Exhibition Advancing Community and Environmentalism, on a Scooter) She didn’t take a political message with her, or a predetermined notion of what the “right” answers to her questions were. She did take genuine curiosity, minimal gear, and the least detrimental form of motorized transportation to put both of those to work– at about 55miles an hour and 90miles(!) per gallon.
Her route started on July 15th at the White House and traced the inside of a peace sign on the US map. When it ended on October 13th at the Bush ranch in Crawford Texas, with a warm welcome from the Crawford Peace House (and CNN) Alix said, “but it doesn’t end here.” And she meant it—she ‘s hitting the road again this year to ride 9,000 more miles (count ’em up folks, that’s 20,000 miles in all), put the perimeter on the peace sign, and ask people to join her in defining peace. She says, “Defining Peace is how I believe we can create a wave of awareness in our world…I believe more Peace will occur when people define it, become it, and teach it.”
Alix maintained a blog and a Flickr account during her ride and continues to share her journey at www.peacescooter.com. This year she hopes to meet up and work with other peacemakers and mow a lawn into a peace sign in every state! She will also be helping to raise funds for Peace organizations. She says, “This ride is a tribute to those working for Peace and an invitation to everyone to think about Peace with me.” She will continue blogging-this year with video blogs too. Her website recently got a makeover and some neat new features, including an interactive map which lets people sponsor sections of the peace sign. The majority of every dollar raised will be given to peace organizations such as the Peace Alliance.
Yes, but is she a Republican or a Democrat? It doesn’t matter. In fact, I had hundreds of conversations online and on the phone with her between hearing of her trip last June and finally meeting her in August, and even after spending the first day with her, I still didn’t know the answer. She recently said (in the trailer for her documentary) “It doesn’t matter if we have differences in opinion, I want to know how we can make a difference. It is up to us to co-create a better future because if Peace doesn’t matter today, how does tomorrow even matter?”
It isn’t only because of what she believes, or what she writes that Alix is my Peace hero; it is because she is DOING something about it. She is taking to the streets (literally) and deciding not only to speak her Peace, but to live her truth and to make Peace a priority.
And the haiku part of this assignment:
A Peace Hero Named Alix
Because she lives Peace,
Sunrise to sunset, breathes it
She is my hero.
Respectfully submitted by:
Daphne Comeau Lewiston, Maine