For those of you to whom it seems that I showed up out of nowhere, this is how I came to be involved with the Peace Resource Center. In 2007, I created my first club called The Gathering. The Gathering was based upon my Purpose in Life, which is to “Break down the barriers between belief systems and build bridges that support people in finding their own paths to spirit, healing and wholeness.” The Gathering was essentially a multi-cultural interfaith discussion group which “promotes dialogue and cross-cultural understanding.”
I eventually made The Gathering a student club at CSU Monterey Bay where I was an undergraduate. Another idea for The Gathering was to ground our activism with many streams of spiritual sustenance. We formed relationships with three primary churches, Inner Light Ministries in Soquel, Unity Church of Monterey Bay, and Pacific Coast Church in Pacific Grove.
It was at Pacific Coast Church that I became good friends with Marty Lewis who is the 17th congressional district’s representative of The Peace Alliance.
In 2009, we decided to transform The Gathering into the Student Peace Alliance at CSUMB. By this time the Peace Resource Center had moved from Pacific Grove to Monterey and finally to its location at 1364 Fremont St is Seaside.
The mission of our Student Peace Alliance was to become the premiere source of information for the CSUMB campus community on all peace and social justice issues. We were especially keen on forming institutional relationships in order to do this. One of our first meetings was at Peace Resource Center where we our group invited members of the Peace Coalition to meet us and we invited professor Deb Burke from the CSUMB’s Service Learning Institute to be our keynote speaker.
Shortly after that our Student Peace Alliance joined the Peace Coalition of Monterey County where I became our club representative on their Steering Committee. The following year, our club was producing a peace and social justice newsletter called, The Illuminator, and we produced Peace Week at CSUMB which featured 13 events in just one week including a Peace Coalition at CSUMB day and a Peace Chat at the Peace Resource Center.
After I graduated in the summer of 2010, I was approached by board members of the Monterey Peace and Justice Center to join their Board of Directors and in December I was asked to be the president of the Board, so that our original president, Joyce Vandevere could at last retire from the position she had held for the last 5 years!
Now my role as an interim president is to be a bridge that carries the inspiration and legacy of the original and early Monterey Peace and Justice Centers leaders like, Valerie George, Joyce Vandevere, Sylvia Shih and Helen Rose into a new era of expansion and activity that attracts new leadership and passes the torch to a new generation of peace and social justice activists!