Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. speaks out against capital punishment traveling around the country and the world for over two decades with this message. She shares her experience as being a spiritual adviser to inmates on death row and what it meant to accompany a man to his death. Helen turned her experiences into a book published in 1993, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty.It made the 1994 American Library Associates Notable Book List and was number one on the New York Times Best Seller List for 31 weeks. It was an international best seller and has been translated into ten different languages. In January 1996, the book was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon, who won an Oscar portraying Sister Helen in the movie.
Sister Helen advocates for an end to the death penalty through her Religious Community - the Congregation of St. Joseph sponsored ministry, Ministry Against the Death Penalty (MDAP) MDAP provide information as a means to end the death penalty as a form of corporal punishment in this country. MADPs mission believes in the dignity of all people and fosters creative, reflective and educational programs that awaken hearts and minds, inspire social change, and strengthen our democracys commitment to human rights. Check their website at: www.sisterhelen.org/about-madp
Sister Helen shares her stories though a play by Tim Robbins for the School Theatre Project, an opera and countless interviews and personal appearances. She is in the process of writing her third book, "River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.
Sister Helen Prejean was born on April 21, 1939, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957 (now known as the Congregation of St. Joseph) and received a B.A. in English and Education and an M.A. in Religious Education. She has been a Religious Education and Formation Director, and has taught junior and senior high school students.
Sister Helen began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisianas Angola State Prison. Upon Sonniers request, Sister Helen repeatedly visited him as his spiritual advisor. In doing so, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process. She was with him when he was executed in 1984, and she has been speaking out against the death penalty ever since. She often says that, "Before that, I had never stood up for something,
Sister Helen and Dead Man Walking have been the subject of numerous media stories and reviews in the U.S., and in seven other countries. She has been featured in major U.S. magazines, and broadcast appearances including 60 Minutes, NBCs Today Show, ABC World News Tonight; the Tom Snyder Show on CNBC, Larry King Live (radio), the Phil Donahue Show, BBC World Service Radio, National Public Radios Weekend Edition and Fresh Air, to name a few.
Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 19851995, and has served as Chairperson of the Board from 19931995. She is also a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. She presently is the Honorary Chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty. She has received numerous honorary awards for her work to educate on and to end the death penalty.
As a board member of Amnesty International, along with others on the board, they presented Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N. with 2.5 million signatures from people all over the world who are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.
Sr. Helens second book,The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, was published in December 2004. She tells the story of two men whom she accompanied to their executions. She believes both of them were innocent. She takes the reader through all the evidence; including evidence the juries never heard either due to the incompetence of the defense lawyers or the rigid formalities of court procedure. Sr. Helen examines how flaws inextricably entwined in the death penalty system inevitably lead to innocent people being executed and render the system unworkable.
With capital punishment still practiced in 34 states, Sister Helen divides her time between campaigning against the death penalty, counseling individual death row prisoners, and working with murder victims family members.
To learn more and support this critical important work visit these sites:
Sr. Helens dedication and perseverance in her work to end capital punishment is rightly our Peacemaker of the Month.
Sheryl WuDunn (born November 16, 1959) is an American business executive, writer, lecturer, and Pulitzer Prize winner. WuDunn has co-authored four best-sellers with her husband, reporter Nicholas D. Kristof. Her third best-selling book, was Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, and WuDunn later was featured in the award-winning PBS documentary made of the book. Her fourth best-seller, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, published in 2014, is about how altruism affects us and how we can make a difference. It was turned into a widely watched PBS documentary, featuring Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Alfre Woodard, Blake Lively, in early 2015.
Half the Skyis a passionate call to arms against our eras most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. WuDunn and Kristof serve as our guides through Africa and Asia to meet with extraordinary women struggling there. Among them is a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth.
Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon.
Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing womens potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; its also the best strategy for fighting poverty.
A senior banker focusing on growth companies in technology, new media and the emerging markets, WuDunn also works with double bottom line firms, alternative energy issues, and women entrepreneurs. She has also been a private wealth adviser with Goldman Sachs and was previously a journalist and business executive for The New York Times. She is now senior managing director at Mid-Market Securities , a boutique investment banking firm in New York serving small and medium companies.
At the Times, WuDunn ran coverage of global energy, global markets, foreign technology and foreign industry. She oversaw international business topics ranging from China's economic growth to technology in Japan, from oil and gas in Russia to alternative energy in Brazil. She was also anchor of The New York Times Page One, a nightly program of the next day's stories in the Times. She also worked in the Times's Strategic Planning Department and in the Circulation Department, where she ran the effort to build the next generation of readers for the newspaper. She was one of the few people at the Times who went back and forth between the news and business sides of the organization.
She was the first Asian-American reporter hired at the Times and was a foreign correspondent in The New York Times Beijing and Tokyo bureaus. She speaks Chinese and some Japanese. While in Asia, she also reported from other areas, including North Korea, Australia, Burma and the Philippines. WuDunn, recipient of honorary doctorates from University of Pennsylvania and Middlebury College, was a senior lecturer at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in the fall of 2011. She is a commentator on China and global affairs on television and radio shows, including Bloomberg TV, NPR, The Colbert Report and Charlie Rose, and has lectured at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations.
WuDunn and her husband won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1990 for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. They were the first married couple ever to win a Pulitzer for journalism; WuDunn was the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer. She also won a George Polk Award and an Overseas Press Club award, both for reporting in China.
In 2009, WuDunn and Kristof received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, WuDunn was listed by Newsweek as one of the 150 Women who Shake the World.
In 2012, WuDunn was selected as one of 60 notable members of the League of Extraordinary Women by Fast Company magazine. In 2013, she was included as one of the leading "women who make America" in the PBS documentary "The Makers." She was also featured in a 2013 Harvard Business School film about prominent women who have graduated from the business school. In August 2015, Business Insider named her one of the 31 most prominent graduates of the Harvard Business School.
In 2015 she signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.
Women, Food & Agriculture Network
Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) isan organization whose mission is to engage women in building an ecological and just food and agricultural system through individual and community power. Their mission of supporting women and sustainable agriculture reflect the core values of care of creation, and peacemaking by creating communities that provide for just relationships among people and our earth.
Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, and own or co-own nearly half the farmland in the Midwest. A significant number of women are single owners over the age of 65, who have been under-represented on the boards of policy-making bodies, and often encounter communications barriers when accessing information from agencies and institutions. WFAN provides a community in which women network for information, make connections, and receive the encouragement they need to be effective practitioners and supporters of sustainable agriculture and healthy localized food systems. Another goal of WFAN is their insistence on social and ecological justice for current and future human and non-human communities. It works to create networks that support communities of growers, consumers, workers and others who strive for sustainability, increase effective access to and use of existing resources, engage participants in experiential learning, provide safe places for self-expression, and respect the spirituality of the land and people (WFAN Goals -see their website www.wfan.org). The WFAN organization is exemplary in the resources and contemporary needs they address.
Historically Women, Food & Agriculture Network started in 1997, but the name, Women, Food and Agriculture originated in 1994. Founding mothers Denise OBrien and Kathy Lawrence of New York formed a Women, Food and Agriculture working group in preparation for the United Nations Fourth World Womens Conference in Beijing, China in order to remedy the absence of womens voices in food and agricultural issues. The network formed in 1997 to act on the long-standing concerns about systemic rural, agricultural, and environmental problems and gender relation in these domains.
Mr. Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm near Yamhill, Oregon. He graduated from Harvard College, Phi Beta Kappa, and then won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he studied law and graduated with first class honors. He later studied Arabic in Cairo and Chinese in Taipei. After working in France, he caught the travel bug and began backpacking around Africa and Asia, writing articles to cover his expenses. Mr. Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries, plus all 50 states, every Chinese province and every main Japanese island.
He was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times and speaks Chinese, Japanese and other languages.
In 1990 Mr. Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, until recently also a Times journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Chinas Tiananmen Square movement. They were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer for journalism.
In their number one New York Times best seller Half the Sky,the husband and wife team brought to light struggles faced by women and girls around the globe, and showcased individuals and institutions working to address oppression and expand opportunity. Their subsequent book, A Path Appears,is even more ambitious in scale: nothing less than a sweeping tapestry of people who are making the world a better place and a guide to the ways that we can do the samewhether with a donation of $5 or $5 million, with our time, by capitalizing on our skills as individuals, or by using the resources of our businesses.
Mr. Kristof went on to win another Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of the genocide in Darfur, along with many humanitarian awards such as the Anne Frank Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, George Polk award, the Overseas Press Club award, the Michael Kelly award, the Online News Association award, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors award.
Mr. Kristof has taken a special interest in Web journalism and was the first blogger on The New York Times Web site. He has 1.4 million followers on Twitter, 1.3 million followers on Google+ and 600,000 followers on Facebook.
Jody Williams was a driving force and founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) since 1991. By 1997, thanks to her strength and organizational talent, she oversaw the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,000 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in more than sixty countries. Williams served as the chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign. Working in an unpreceded cooperative effort with governments, U.N. bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICBL achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a conference held in Oslo in September 1997. Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize winner later that year for her work. (Taken from Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1997, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1998.)
Williams was born in 1950 in Putney, Vermont. She earned a Master's Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a Master's Degree in Teaching Spanish and ESL from the School for International Training, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Vermont. Prior to her work with the ICBL, Williams worked extensively to build public awareness about U.S. policy toward Central America.
As ICBL coordinator, Williams wrote and spoke extensively on the problem of landmines and the movement to ban them in various forums at the United Nations, the European Parliament, and the Organization of African Unity, among others.
The ICBL remains one of the most active coalitions of non-governmental organizations to work for a world free of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. The Landmine Monitor, a publication of the ICBL, recorded 3,678 mine casualties in 2014, marking a 12% increase from 2013. 80% of those were civilian casualties, compared to military and security forces. There has been an overall trend of progressively fewer casualties since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Over 96,000 mine casualties have been recorded by the Monitor since its global tracking in began in 1992. For more information go to: www.icbl.org/
Williams continues her work as a peace activist struggling "to reclaim the real meaning of peace- a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict but is defined by human security, not national security. She believes that working for peace is not for the faint of heart. It requires dogged persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet. Since January of 2006, Williams has worked toward those ends through the Nobel Women's Initiative, which she chairs. Along with sister Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, she took the lead in establishing the Nobel Womens Initiative(Nobel Womens Initiative website). They were joined by others and the Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and the influence and access of the women Nobel Laureates themselves to support and amplify the efforts of women around the world working for sustainable peace with justice and equality.
Williams holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston where she has been teaching since 2003. She is the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees, among other recognitions. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in the publication of its first such annual list. Her memoir on life as a grassroots activist,My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girls Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize was released by the University of California Press in early 2013. (Taken fromhttp://nobelwomensinitiative.org/meet-the-laureates/jody-williams/
Rais Bhuiyan, Founder & President of World Without Hate, is a peace activist and an IT professional. After graduating from Sylhet Cadet College, a military School in Bangladesh, he joined the Bangladesh Air Force and was commissioned as a pilot officer following two and a half years of vigorous training. He received a BS in Aeronautics from the National University in Dhaka and completed numerous information technology courses in New York and Dallas where he continued his education, taking courses in computer system engineering, programming, and database administration. In 2001, he was shot in the face by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist seeking vengeance for the 9/11 tragedy. Bhuiyan responded to this by forgiving his attacker and attempting unsuccessfully to prevent his execution. Bhuiyan currently holds a position with Sabre Holdings, a global technology company, in Southlake, Texas. His time is divided between managing a team of system engineers and data centers in Europe and touring the globe giving talks about the regenerative power of forgiveness.
Rais is the recipient of the following awards and honors for his work with World Without Hate:
2016 Asian Community Leadership Award, Bangladesh Association of Greater Austin, TX
2014 Human Relations Award by The Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation
2014 American Heritage Awards by the American Immigration Council
2011 American of the Year, from Esquire Magazine
Search for Common Ground Award from Search for Common Ground
2011 Peace and Justice Award from Council on American-Islamic Relations
Bridge Builder Award from CAIR Texas chapter
Excellence for Human Service Award from United for Change
Peace Maker of the Year, 2011 from the Dallas Peace Center
Badsha Khan Peace Award from the American Muslim Voice Foundation
The book, THE TRUE AMERICAN: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas was written about Rais life.
Lawyer and activist Lawrence Lessig spent a decade arguing for sensible intellectual property (IP) law, updated for the digital age. He was a founding board member of Creative Commons, an organization that builds better copyright practices through principles established first by the open-source software community.
In 2007, just after his last TED Talk, Lessig announced he was leaving the field of IP and Internet policy, and moving on to a more fundamental problem that blocks all types of sensible policy -- the corrupting influence of money in American politics.
In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to changing the influence of money in Congress. In his latest book, Republic, Lost, he shows just how far the U.S. has spun off course -- and how citizens can regain control. As The New York Times wrote about him, "Mr. Lessig's vision is at once profoundly pessimistic -- the integrity of the nation is collapsing under the best of intentions --and deeply optimistic. Simple legislative surgery, he says, can put the nation back on the path to greatness.
Its been more than 30 years since the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan when Jim Brady was shot. Since that day, Jim and Sarah Brady, along with the Brady Campaign, have been on a decades-long quest to prevent gun violence. The Bradys tireless efforts culminated in the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993.The Brady law has blocked an estimated 2 million prohibited gun purchases and helped save countless lives. The Bradys continued leadership has been a driving force on gun violence prevention.
This months peacemaker is Sarah Brady who was born on February 6, 1942, the older of two children of school teachers L. Stanley Kemp and Frances Kemp. Her family relocated to Alexandria, Virginia when her father took a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1964, Sarah followed in her parents footsteps, becoming a school teacher. She taught in Virginia public school classrooms for four years before moving on to a decade-long career in Republican politics. She served as an assistant to the Campaign Director at the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1968 to 1970. Sarah then joined the staff of U.S. Representative Mike McKevitt (R-CO) as an administrative aide.
Sarah went on to hold the same position in the office of U.S. Representative Joseph J. Maraziti (R-NJ) from 1972-1974. During the next four years, Sarah served as Director of Administration and Coordinator of Field Services for the Republican National Committee.
It was during her time as a Republican political aide when Sarah met Jim Brady. They were married in 1973. Five years later, Sarah and Jim welcomed a son, James Scott Brady, Jr. in 1978.
Ronald Reagans victory in the 1980 presidential election brought many changes to Sarahs life. Jim, who worked on Reagans campaign, was named Press Secretary in the new administration.
Less than three months after President Reagan delivered his inaugural address, Sarahs life changed forever. On March 30, 1981, Jim was shot during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. He suffered a serious head wound that left him partially paralyzed for life. Sarah and Jims lives would never be the same.
Sarah soon began working with Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI). She was elected to the board in 1985. Sarah became the Chair of the organization in 1989. Two years later, she became the Chair of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, HCI's sister organization.
At HCI, Sarah and Jim led the fight to pass federal legislation to require a background check prior to the purchase of any handgun. Sarah and Jim spent years navigating the halls of Congress, meeting with legislators across party lines to generate enough votes to pass the "Brady Bill, because they knew this new law could save lives.
The original Brady legislation was introduced in 1988. It took six votes over seven years three presidencies, in fact - until Sarah and her team was able to declare victory.
On November 30, 1993, after Sarah and Jims seven-year battle, President Bill Clinton signed the "Brady Bill, into law. Brady background checks would now be required on all handgun purchases at federal licensed firearm dealers. The signing of the Brady Bill was only the beginning. Sarah continued to advocate for commonsense gun laws at the state and federal level throughout the rest of her life.
In 1994, Sarah and Jim received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. In 1996, she and Jim received the Margaret Chase Smith Award presented by the Secretaries of State.
In December 2000, the Boards of Trustees for HCI voted to honor Jim and Sarah Bradys hard work and commitment to gun violence prevention by renaming the two organizations the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Sarah continued to serve as Chair of both organizations until 2015.
Sarah passed away on April 3, 2015. She was 73.
In Her Own Words
"Most people think I got seriously involved in the gun violence issue when Jim was shot. But it was actually another incident that started my active participation with gun violence prevention efforts.
It was back in the summer of 1985. Our family was visiting Jim's hometown, Centralia, Illinois. At that time, our son Scott was just six years old. We had some friends who owned a construction company and they had a lovely home at the edge of town that had a swimming pool.
One day, our friend and an employee stopped by in a company pickup truck and asked if Scott and I would like to go out to the house for a swim. We thought that was a great idea. Scott got in first, and I climbed in behind him. He picked up off the seat what looked like a toy gun, and started waving it around, and I thought this was a perfect chance to talk to him about safety. So I took the little gun from him, intending to say he must never point even a toy gun at anyone.
As soon as I got it into my hand, I realized it was no toy. It was a fully-loaded Saturday-night special, very much like the one that had shot Jim. I cannot even begin to describe the rage that went through me. To think that my precious little boy had come so close to tragedy. My friend hopped in the truck and then the employee got in. I gave my friend the gun and asked her to put it away immediately. They both knew I was upset.
The rest of that day I could think of nothing else. I was disappointed and shocked. My father had been an FBI agent, and I'd grown up with a gun in my home. But this didn't make sense -- someone allowing a gun to lie around.
From that day on, I decided that much more needed to be done to help keep children safe from guns. And since that time, I have fought against the gun lobby and anyone else who wants guns "anywhere, at any time for any one."
She and Jim were the 1991 recipients of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations' "Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award". In 1992, along with her husband, Jim, Sarah received the "C. Everett Koop Health Advocate Award" from the American Hospital Association's American Society for Health Care Marketing & Public Relations. In 1993, she received the "Communicator of the Year" Award from the League of Women Voters of the United States. Sarah received "America's Finest" Award presented from the New England Institute of Technology. In 1994, she received the Lenore and George W. Romney Citizen Volunteer Award with her husband, Jim.
In 1996, Sarah and Jim received the Margaret Chase Smith Award presented by the Secretaries of State. In 1997, the Violence Prevention Coalition honored Sarah with the Angel of Peace Award and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine presented her with the 1997 Spirit of Achievement Award. Also in 1997, Sarah, along with poet Rita Dove, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Washington Post Chair Katharine Graham, was named one of Sara Lee's Frontrunners by the Sara Lee Foundation.
Sarah Brady quote: "We are not for disarming people. When you have an epidemic it's a public health issue, a safety issue.
When Baitul Aman a mosque affiliated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a subset of Islam that believes that a messiah has already come outreach director Zahir Muhammad Mannan and others learned that their neighbor shot up their mosque, their first reaction was shock. But then Mannan asked, "Where did we go wrong, not reaching out to our neighbors properly?" He explained their focus was on absolution - not retribution or resentment - which stems from their Muslim faith. This is why Zahir Muhammad Mannan is our May 2016 Peacemaker of our time.
Zahir Mannan is the Head Teacher and Administrative Associate at the Early Learning Program, Inc. at Central Connecticut State University, and a previous Associate Research Scientist at Yale University School of Medicine. He leads a weekly Holy Quran study group at Baitul Aman "House of Peace" Mosque in Meriden, CT, where he also teaches an advanced Holy Quran class for Tahir Academy. He has served the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in diverse capacities including national follow-up coordinator for 1-800-WHY-ISLAM, local Youth President, local Interfaith Outreach Director, local Holy Quran Education and Temporary Devotion Director, and local Youth Publication Director.
Zahir has written about as well as lived out the example of peace. In a recent article in Muslim Writers, Zahir writes:
" Who are we? We're your friendly neighborhood Muslims for peace, life, loyalty and love who believe the Promised Messiah has come in the person of his holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. We believe God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed, and reinstitute morality, justice, and peace, championing Islams true teachings.
We're grateful to live and serve alongside you under God with indivisibility in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
During 2015, we collected enough bags of blood to save hundreds of American lives through our American Red Cross biannual blood drives, hosted and spoke at numerous interfaith gatherings in diverse centers of worship, and held community engagements.
We look forward to another promising year of unifying forces in advancing education and combating radicalization while strengthening our ties of affection, as true Islam teaches."
While the Islam faith continues to face persecution and radicalization, those who believe in the Islam doctrine of peace and unity must continue to fight extreme hatred and misunderstanding. Zahir is an example of someone who is working to correct the ignorance and fear surrounding Islam, knowing that if people just got to know each other, ignorance and bigotry would be resolved and appreciation and understanding would reign.
Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management. He is a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple, Inc.s board of directors. Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit devoted to solving the climate crisis.
Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years.
He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, and most recently,The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.
Former Vice President Gore was born on March 31, 1948, and resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
TED Talk: Al Gore "The Case for Optimism on Climate Change
Why is Al Gore optimistic about climate change? In this spirited talk, Gore asks three powerful questions about the man-made forces threatening to destroy our planet and the solutions we're designing to combat them. (Featuring Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)
The Peacemaker of the Month for March is Ameena Matthews who starred in the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Interrupters in 2011. The Interrupters presents unforgettable profiles of courage of three former Chicago street criminals who place themselves in the line of fire to protect their communities. Matthews, employed by the organization Ceasefire, used her street recognition to stop conflicts and instill a sense of respect and responsibility in the youth.
Matthews grew up in a tight-knit family in Chicago. She was raised by her grandmother and was the daughter of Jeff Fort who has been labeled as a notorious gang leader. At the age of 15, she left home and took care of herself by selling drugs. She continued this lifestyle for 15 years then decided to change and embraced a life steeped in spirituality to make a difference in her community. She married Shaykh Dr. Abdur Rashied Matthews, leader of a Muslim community on the South Side of Chicago and together they had a daughter.
In 2006, Matthewsreceived a call from the Executive Director of Ceasefire, Tio Hardiman, who had witnessed her work interrupting violence on the streets. Hardiman shared that "There was no conflict at any given time that was too big for Ameena to handle. She would go out there and get in the face of some of the toughest guys in Chicago and work things out. At the same time, I never met anyone that had such a passion for the work. I used to call her the 21st century Harriet Tubman. She began working with Ceasefire which eventually led to her starring in The Interrupters.
Matthews life after The Interrupters has included interviews on "The Colbert Report, NPR,USA Today,New York Times,Chicago Tribune,Chicago Sun-Times,Jet, CNN, BBC, "Frontline, and more. She has received the TedX Midwest Heroes Award presented by Illinois Gov. Quinn, the 2011 Chicagoan of the Year, The Community Activist Award from Black Girls Rock, and The 2013 Freedom for Fear Award.
In 2013, Matthews was diagnosed with multiple myeloma but continues her work in the streets and mentoring programs in the community and schools. She also works on a national level and created a foundation and non-profit organization Pause For Peace to continue the fundamentals of training to give youth the resources to get life skills, decrease violence, and learn conflict resolution skills. She testifies that she "is in a learning process in her life about who and whose I am. God continuously shows me humbly and mercifully who I am and for that I am grateful.
Gun violence in our country causes 30,000 deaths each year.Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries.Researchers have forecast that 2015 will be the year that bullets kill more Americans than car accidents, which had long been the leading cause of injury death in the U.S.There are many factors that contribute to this tragedy, but the most direct action we can take is to enact common sense gun legislation.
In January of this year, President Obama took historic action on gun violence through a number of common-sense reforms -- including giving law enforcement the power to crack down on gun sellers who feed illegal firearms to our communities.The executive actions he outlined will expand background checks during gun sales, beef up enforcement of existing gun laws, try to improve care for the mentally ill and information-sharing to prevent them from buying guns, and boost gun safety technology.
"We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it," the president said. "People are dying and the constant excuses for inaction no longer do."
These are simple ways to prevent many who have criminal intentions from getting weapons they would use to harm other people. And these laws would not infringe upon responsible gun owners such as hunters and sports enthusiasts.
His administration is also proposing a new $500 million investment to expand mental health treatment across the country.
Gary T. Guthrie, dubbed the "The Carrot King, calls himself a humble servant and says, "There is nothing in the world more honorable and joyful than feeding healthy, tasteful food to families. Gary has grown carrots, onions, sweet potatoes and other vegetables on his ½ acre Growing Harmony Farm in Nevada, Iowa since 1997 (a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA). In the magazine Edible Iowa River Valley, journalist Jay Wagner, gave Gary the title "The Carrot King" after biting into one of Garys tasty, nutritious Bolero carrots which was sweeter than candy. These organically grown carrots are sold directly to families and restaurants within a ten mile radius of his acreage. Being part of CSA combines Garys passion for "feeding the hungry of the world with creating a sense of community with those who purchase and eat these healthy and nutritious foods.
Before starting the GHF Gary graduated in Agronomy from Iowa State University and worked in corn breeding for a few years after college. He then joined with up the Mennonite Central Committee and worked for 3 years in Bolivia with peasant farmers. There he met and married Nancy and then they moved to and worked in El Salvador for three years working with local farmers assisting them in growing their own food.
Working with farmers in Latin America in sustainability led him back to Iowa to start Growing Harmony Farm. Embracing both the Catholic and Mennonite faith traditions, he has attempted to weave his spirituality and agricultural experiences with the sacredness of healthy food. For Gary, growing carrots has come to symbolize abundant life when "one is faithful to tending the soil of our earth and the soil of our own lives.
Gary was recently featured in the Iowa Ingredients Show, produced by the Iowa Public Television. His blog Thecarrotking.blogspot.com offers great recipes about all types of locally grown foods, not just carrot recipes check out the caramel apple pie! He has recently established prairie strips for water restoration and now keeps bees on the larger farm he manages. He has recently scaled back his food production while tending to elderly parents.
We recognize and thank Gary for his efforts to build right relationships and community. He integrates faith, food and farming that provide affordable healthy and nutritious food to feed the hungry while caring for our planet earth. Gary - you are "The Carrot King.
Erica Chenoweth, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and an Associate Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO). An internationally recognized authority on political violence and its alternatives, Foreign Policy magazine ranked her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2013 for her efforts to promote the empirical study of civil resistance. Chenoweth received the 2014 Karl Deutsch Award, which the International Studies Association gives annually to the scholar under the age of 40 who has made the greatest impact on the field of international politics or peace research.
Together with Maria J. Stephan, she won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding proposals for creating a more just and peaceful world order. Their book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011), also won the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, given annually by the American Political Science Association in recognition of the best book on government, politics, or international affairs published in the U.S. in the previous calendar year.
Before coming to DU, she taught at Wesleyan University, where she was the 2010 recipient of the Carol A. Baker Memorial Prize for excellence in junior faculty research and teaching. She has also held visiting appointments at Harvard Universitys Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. She is currently an Academic Adviser at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, a Councilor at the Peace Science Society International, and a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Chenoweths research program involves three main questions: why do state and non-state groups use political violence, what are the alternatives to political violence, and how can these alternatives be promoted? In 2008, Chenoweth established the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research, a think tank that produces policy-relevant research on the causes and effects of insurgency, terrorism, and strategic nonviolent resistance. The center, now part of the Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Korbel School, houses multiple projects and provides students with opportunities to engage in research related to the programs mission.
Chenoweths work is published in International Security, The Journal of Politics, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Political Science, The Journal of Peace Research, Mobilization, Political Research Quarterly, Defense and Security Analysis, and Review of Policy Research. She edited Political Violence (Sage, 2013) and also co-edited Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (MIT Press, 2010) with Adria Lawrence of Yale University.
Chenoweth has presented her research all over the world at various academic conferences, government workshops, and international governmental organizations including a recent appearance at the 2013 World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates held in Warsaw. Her research and commentary has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Economist, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, TEDxBoulder, and elsewhere. Along with Barbara F. Walter of UCSD, Chenoweth hosts the blog Political Violence @ a Glance, which won an OAIS Award for Best Group Blog in 2014 and Most Promising New Blog in 2013. In addition, Chenoweth won an individual OAIS blogging award for Best Blog Post of 2014. She also hosts a blog called Rational Insurgent and has been an occasional blogger at The Monkey Cage and Duck of Minerva. As Senior Consultant at Denver Global Security Analytics, LLC, she has provided analysis to a variety of private, government, and educational groups.
Chenoweth received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton. She resides in Denver, Colorado, and spends much of her free time fly-fishing and trekking in the Rocky Mountains.
The Stanley Foundation is based in Muscatine, Iowa and is built on the belief that greater international cooperation will improve global governance and enhance global citizenship. It was created by C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley in 1956. Working from this small community in the heartland of Iowa, their mission and work embodies active non-violence in peacemaking internationally connecting the global community.
The Stanley Foundationseeks multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. It seeks to secure peace with freedom and justice with advocacy as a core aspect of their programming. They build networks of support for specific outcomes and are nonpartisan. Their forums are respectful of all voices and they have maintained a long-term, independent perspective.
Michael Pollan is the author of several books on food including four New York Times Bestsellers.In his book, The Omnivores Dilemma, he explains how our food not only affects our health but has far-reaching political, economic, and environmental implications.
Pollan was named to the 2010TIME100, the magazines annual list of the worlds 100 most influential people. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 "New Thought Leaders.
A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, Mr. Pollan is the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
He has received the Reuters World Conservation Union Global Awards in environmental journalism, the James Beard Foundation Awards for best magazine series in 2003, and theGenesis Awardfrom the Humane Society of the United States. His articles have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing(2004), Best American Essays(1990 and 2003), The Animals: Practicing Complexity (2006) and the Norton Book of Nature Writing (1990).
In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire as well as in the documentary, Food Inc., which received an Academy Award nomination.
In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment.
His website, michaelpollan.com, provides a wealth of information about food systems and includes links to resources such as a directory of local and sustainable food producers, tips on sustainable eating and nutrition, tools for learning how to cook and how to grow food, politics and policies, animal welfare.
Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man discovered fire. But as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, as the dawn of the twenty-first century, may determine our survival as a species. Packed with profound surprises,The Omnivore's Dilemmais changing the way Americans thing about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.
What to eat, what not to eat, and how to think about health: a manifesto for our times
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan'sIn Defense of Food, the well-considered answers he provides to the questions posed in the bestselling "The Omnivore's Dilemma. "
Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." These "edible foodlike substances" are often packaged with labels bearing health claims that are typically false or misleading. Indeed, real food is fast disappearing from the marketplace, to be replaced by "nutrients," and plain old eating by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Michael Pollan's sensible and decidedly counterintuitive advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food."
View a TED Talk with Michael Pollan below:
Sister Mary McCauley
Sister Mary McCauley, BVM is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa. She does all that she can to educate and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. She is a woman who "walks the talk. Sr. Mary tells that one of the most transformative days of her forty-five years of ministry took place on May 8, 2008- the day of the infamous immigration raid at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. At that time, she served as the pastoral administrator of three rural parishes including St. Bridgets in Postville. It was on that day and for many days to follow that she offered pastoral presence and support to over 400 devastated and traumatized women, children and men.
She recalls those days and the impact of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in her parish community. "I saw faces filled with fear. Children crying as they feared they would never again see their mother or father. I think of women walking with GPS devices on their ankles carrying signs that read: We are not criminals. We came to work. We came to feed our families. We are mothers. At that moment my heart stirred and I realized that while our government claimed to uphold the integrity of the law it had totally ignored the integrity of the person, the integrity of the family, the integrity of a community, as well as the integrity of the values for which our country stands. She continues,
The profound respect and love for every person affected by the Postville raid and a desire to uphold American values demands we find a humane solution to the Postville scene and those like it. The rendering of relationships in ICE raids, the ripping apart the fabric of families, of children from parents and husbands from wives, demands we find ways to bring people together to benefit all. After viewing what horrors the ICE raids wrought, we now have the opportunity to create humane solution to the broken immigration system and to reach out to government, to employers who unscrupulously take advantage of undocumented workers, to neighbors who fear the stranger, and to legislators who have been slow to rewrite our broken and callous laws. (Network and U.S. CCCB)
Sr. Mary is steadfast in her efforts, "Now is the time to say: Let us move on, let us respect and honor the dignity of all persons, let us recognize that laws have but one purpose to ensure the common good. Now is the time to restore the integrity of the law, of the family, of our American values, of our country. Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. We can to turn the tragedy of Postville into victory for justice." (Taken from the U.S.C.C.B. Blog, August 29, 2013; The Postville Project Postville.org "Reflections from Sister Mary McCauley, BVM
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan is one of the 2014 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in advocating for the basic right of education for children and women.
Malala was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. She attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls' schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?"
In early 2009, Malala began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban's threats to deny her an education. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai. However, she was revealed to be the BBC blogger in December of that year.
With a growing public platform, Yousafzai continued to speak out about her right, and the right of all women, to an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize.
When she was 14, Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Though Malala was frightened for the safety of her fatheran anti-Taliban activistshe and her family initially felt that the fundamentalist group would not actually harm a child.
On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a gunman of the Taliban fired at Malala, hitting her in the left side of her head. Two other girls were also injured in the attack. The shooting left Malala in critical condition, so she was flown to several hospitals to receive medical care. She endured multiple surgeries which paralyzed the left side of her face but she recovered and began attending school in Birmingham, U.K.
Malala continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. She was nominated again in 2014 and won becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In her speech in Oslo, Norway, Malala, addressed the group imploring, "I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."
May the witness of her life be a reminder to us that each persons voice, no matter how young or old a person is, can be an advocate for the basic rights and dignity of others. Her courage and tenacity is truly an inspiration.
Watch her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech here:
Lavina Engle is an elementary school Guidance Counselor with the Clinton Community School District here in Clinton, Iowa. Recently, she was selected to receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award for her work in the schools and in the community at large.
In nominating Lavina for the award, Eagle Heights Elementary School Principal Roger Winterlin praised her efforts pointing out ways she utilizes her position within the school district to advocate for peace and social justice in all aspects the lives of her students.
Lavina started a Diversity Club for students in 4th and 5th grades. The group's activities focus on acknowledging and appreciating diversity in our community and it quickly became a big hit with both students and parents alike. The students work not only on addressing diversity issues, but also anti-bullying efforts. Under Ms. Engle's direction, the students made a video on the topic and created posters to display at the schools. She also urged the students to participate in the communitys annual Stop the Hate - Show the Love Walk which is held in Clinton to raise awareness of tolerance and acceptance for all. The Peace Pole which was part of this celebration still stands in the hallways of Eagle Heights Elementary School.
In addition to her work with the Diversity Club, Mrs. Engle works closely with students and parents of various backgrounds to assist them with whatever social or emotional needs they might have. She is instrumental in helping to guide them to other resources in the community to get help.
Ms. Engle is also the Chairperson of the Clinton Community School District's Diversity Committee. The Mission of the Clinton Community School District Diversity Committee is to provide activities, materials and/or experiences that would impact staff and students and provide opportunities for them to develop a deeper level of appreciation of diversity.
Maggie Tinsman, former Iowa Senator and Scott County Supervisor, is our January Peacemaker, designated as such because of her work with Human Trafficking. While in the Iowa Senate, in which she served for 18 years, Maggie drafted a bill criminalizing Human Trafficking and has since become a major speaker on the "Global and Local Problems of Human Trafficking."
Maggie serves as Chair of the Board of Braking Traffik, a Quad Cities-based organization whose mission is to support and enable the discovery of and response to incidents of human sex trafficking through a victim-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative community effort. I work to combat human trafficking in the State of Iowa, and am available as a speaker on the subject.
Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking deprives people of their rights and freedoms, is a global health risk, and fuels the growth of organized crime. It has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, and even death.
Maggie states I am proud to have contributed to Iowas becoming the 14th state to pass a law criminalizing human trafficking, making it a serious felony with social services available to victims and training available to law enforcement.
Mother of three, grandmother of eight and resident of Bettendorf, Iowa, Maggie is an active member of her church, serving as a lay minister and a leader at the diocesan and national levels. Both University of Colorado (BA, Phi Beta Kappa) and University of Iowa (MSW) are Alma Maters. She also holds an Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree from St Ambrose University. In 2007, she launched a policy analysis and consultant business called "Maggie Tinsman, LLC", specializing in advocating for early childhood education development, in lobbying for health and human services issues. She promotes public service in elected politics for women through a partnership with Senator Jean-Lloyd Jones called 50/50 in 2020, designed to achieve political equity for women in Iowa by the year 2020. She has served on various positions including:
Maggies past and present National, State and community work include:
Senator for District 41 from 1989 to 2007.
Assistant Minority Leader - 6 years
Legislative Committees: Judiciary, State Government, Local Government, Appropriations, Education, Human Resources, and Health & Human Services Appropriation Sub Committee (Chair)
Scott County Board of Supervisors 11 years (First Women)
Bettendorf Civil Service Commission
Bi-State Early Childhood Co-Investment Team,
Skip-a-Long Child Development Services,
Scott County KIDS Board
Child Protection Response Clinic
Volunteers for Symphony Past President
American Lung Association of Iowa,
Iowa Legal Aid Foundation,
Prevention of Disabilities Commission of Iowa,
Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies,
Iowa Board of Health
Mental Health Institute Taskforce.
50-50 in 2020 Co-chair
National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
ACLU QC Elfreida Hershal Civil Liberties Award 2010
Iowa Quad-City Rotary Club Citizen of the Year 2007-2008
Quad Cities Woman of the Year 2007
American Heart Association Award of Excellence 2007
Iowa Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission Award 2006
Child Abuse Council Priorities Award 2005
American Academy of Pediatrics Citizen Award 2005
Friends of Older Iowans - 2004
Iowa Defense Council Association Public Service Award 2004
American Lung Association of Illinois-Iowa Volunteer Recognition Award 2004
Iowa Coalition for Housing and the Homeless Recognition Award 2004
Coalition for Family & Children Services Protector of Children Awards 2003
World Food Prize laureate David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry and poor people. He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and around the world.
Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutionsMuslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions, and universitiesin building the political will to end hunger.
Currently Beckmann is co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. He has served as a board member of InterAction, the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the ONE Campaign, the National Anti-Hunger Organizations, and the U.N. Millennium Hunger Task Force.
Prior to joining Bread, Beckmann worked at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large development projects and driving innovations to make the bank more effective in reducing poverty.
Under his leadership, Bread for the World has garnered an impressive record of achievements. Due in part to the persistent, bipartisan advocacy of Bread members, the U.S. government has tripled funding for effective programs to help developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Bread has also helped double funding for U.S. nutrition programs, assisting millions of families in the United States who struggle to feed their children. During the budget controversy that started in 2010, Bread for the World has worked with other faith groups to maintain a circle of protection around programs focused on hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world. Although Congress and the President have cut $2.5 trillion from federal deficits, programs focused on hungry and poor people have so far been spared from large cuts.
Beckmann has been asked to testify in Congress numerous times, appearing before such committees as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives.
Beckmann has appeared on Bill Moyers Journal, PBSs Religion & Ethics News Weekly, CNN Español, and C-Span, and in radio interviews with NPRs Morning Edition and The Diane Rehm Show. He has written many books and articles, including Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in Gods World. His latest book is Exodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger.
Beckmann is a Lutheran pastor as well as an economist. He earned degrees from Yale University, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics. Six universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. In 2010, he was named a World Food Prize laureate.
Beckmann has lived in Bangladesh and Ghana, overseen projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and visited more than 70 countries. He speaks Spanish.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread for the World members meet with and write personal letters and emails to their members of Congress. It is one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to building the political will to end hunger.
Watch his speech at Feed the Future in May of 2014:
Vice President Joe Biden
Vice President Joseph Biden has often said that the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 is the legislative achievement he is most proud of from his many years in the Senate; and yet, he knew then that it was just the beginning.
For all the victims today, and for future generations, VAWA represents a promise to end violence against women. VAWA transformed the nations response to domestic violence and sexual assault. It has provided funding to states and local communities to develop specialized law enforcement units, provide services to victims, and improve prosecution of these crimes. Since the passage of the Act, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped by more than 50%.
As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, Senator Biden established himself as a leader on some of our nation's most important domestic and international challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, then-Senator Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues including the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and VAWA. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, then-Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
Now, as the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden has continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation. The Vice President was tasked with implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helping to rebuild our economy and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. As part of his continued efforts to raise the living standards of middle class Americans across the country, Vice President Biden has also focused on the issues of college affordability and American manufacturing growth, key priorities of the Administration.
Vice President Biden continues to draw on his foreign policy experience, advising the President on a multitude of international issues. He helped secure the Senates approval of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, together with significant new funding to maintain our nuclear laboratories. He played a lead role in ending the war in Iraq responsibly.
He most recently stood with President Obama and Americans across the country to launch the "Its On Us initiative -- an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses.
It's On Us asks everyone -- men and women across America -- to make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be part of the solution to campus sexual assault.
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, is the Executive Director of NETWORK, a nonprofit Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington, D.C.
Sister Simone Campbell has served as Executive Director of NETWORK since 2004.She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.
During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous "nuns letter supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.
In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the "Nuns on the Bus tour of nine states to oppose the "Ryan Budget approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. "Nuns on the Bus received an avalanche of attention across the nation from religious communities, elected officials and the media.
She recently led a new cross-country Nuns on the Bus trip (May 28 through June 18, 2013), focused on comprehensive immigration reform.
Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including recent appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is also the author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community, published in April 2014 by Harper Collins. A documentary film by Melissa Reese titled, Nuns on the Bus highlighted Simones leadership.
She has received numerous awards, including a "Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award and the "Defender of Democracy Award" from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action.In addition, she has been the keynote or featured speaker at numerous large gatherings, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She is the 2014 recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa.