My Films

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vlog: Jazz for Peace

Jazz for Peace
Founder and Jazz Vocalist/Pianist Rick DellaRatta says" When we fill our souls up with creativity, artistry and intelligence, things of that nature, we have a better chance of avoiding the behavior that leads to destruction."
This vlog is from Jazz for Peace's performance at the Riverside Church in Harlem, New York from September 11th, 2004. This event was organized by PeaceBoat.
To watch the video click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Short Film: Peace Begins with Me and You

Please Click Here for Video.
Peace Begins with Me and You
4 min. Director Megumi Nishikura
May 2005

Floor Statement by U.S. Senator Mark Dayton Introducing Department of Peace and Nonviolence Legislation


September 22, 2005
Contact: Press Office, 202.224.3244
Press Release

Floor Statement by U.S. Senator Mark Dayton Introducing Department of Peace and Nonviolence Legislation

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, headed by a Cabinet-level Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence. While I am loath to add another agency to the already-oversized Federal bureaucracy, it is imperative that we elevate peace to at least the same level as war within the Federal Government, inside the President's Cabinet Room, and in our national policymaking.

The Department's mission is set forth in Section 101 of the proposed legislation. It says:

The Department shall hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society; endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; promote the development of human potential; work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures and nonviolent dispute resolution; take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict; •address matters both domestic and international in scope; and encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.

The legislation mandates that an amount not less than 2 percent of the Department of Defense's annual appropriation be expended for those peacemaking and peace-advancing efforts, which does not affect the Department of Defense's level of funding. Now is clearly the time to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. The continuing war in Iraq, a war which I opposed, a war initiated before all attempts at peaceful resolution had been made, should teach us again that war is not the answer. Despite the incredible heroism of the men and women in our Armed Forces who have fought, patrolled, and helped so well and for so long in Iraq, 138,000 of them are still there with no end in sight. More of them are wounded, maimed, and killed every day. Terrorism activities against our troops and against Iraqi citizens are continuing and even increasing in their lethality. Tragically, wrongly, but unavoidably, anti-American hatred also continues to grow throughout the Arab world. Who can doubt that some of the sons and daughters of Iraqis killed during the past 2 ½ years of war will grow up to become vicious terrorists, hell-bent on revenge against America. Our leaders did not intend to create this anti-American backlash, what the CIA calls ``blowback.'' However, they are ignoring it at our peril. Our Nation possesses a military might that is unprecedented in the world's history and unparalleled in the world today. We must remain so. Yet, if we are to remain the world's leader, and if we are to lead the world into a more secure and a more prosperous future, we must become better known and more respected for our peacemaking successes than for our military forces. Peace is far more than the absence of war, although that is the starting point. Peace, to have any lasting value, must be advanced, expanded, and strengthened continuously. Doing so requires skill, dedication, persistence, resources, and, most importantly, people. We need thousands of American emissaries of peace at home and abroad. We need our embassies to become centers for peaceful initiatives worldwide, and we need advocates for peace-promoting policies here in Washington. This country was founded by a Revolutionary War, a necessary war for independence. But our nation's Founders wanted this to be a nation of peace. President Thomas Jefferson said, in 1801: "That peace, safety, and concord may be the portion of our native land, and be long-enjoyed by our fellow-citizens, is the most ardent wish of my heart, and if I can be instrumental in procuring or preserving them, I shall think I have not lived in vain." Mr. President, 158 years later President Dwight Eisenhower, himself no stranger to war, said: "I think people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." To further that goal, in 1984, Congress passed legislation, and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law, creating the U.S. Institute of Peace. Today, the Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan organization funded by Congress to promote peace and curb violent international conflict. The last 20 years have shown that the Institute, and all of us, have much more to do to create and to sustain a peaceful world. As with Thomas Jefferson, peace, safety, and concord for our fellow citizens is the most ardent wish of my heart. If I can be instrumental in procuring or preserving them, I think that I shall not have lived in vain. A peaceful world, inhabited by people throughout the world who have learned how to keep peace better than how to make war, who want peace, who know its benefits, and who insist that their governments let them have it--that would be the best world and the greatest inheritance we could give to our children and our grandchildren and generations that will follow them. Without it, nothing else is reliable. With it, everything else is possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blog: Reporting back from DOP conference

Where do I even begin? 2 years ago when I attended this conference and I felt that I had taken the red pill akin to Neo in the Matrix. I felt I had truly woken up to my life purpose; that what I had been exposed to at the conference: the speakers and the attendees had shown me a world that my heart had always known possible. And I knew that after the conference, that I had been changed for ever.
This 3rd Annual DOP conference was even more amazing than 2003's. From Azim Kahmisa's program that helps reduce gang violence by 80%, to Patch Adams call for us to be beacons of love, to Laurie Meadoff's TV Program Chat the Planet which connects and facilitates dialogues between American and Iraqi youth, this conference showcased only a small slice of what the Department of Peace could do create a positive change in this nation. I cried through out the entire event, and cried right into my congressional meeting with Congressman Henry Waxman's aide Zahava Goldman.
My own personal point during that meeting was my belief in the importance of creating a Peace Academy, where graduates would be taught cutting edge ways to wage peace. To me this is personal, because if such a program existed, I would be enrolled in it right now. Because there is nothing that I want to do more than be a facilitator of peace.
If you have yet to check out the Peace Alliance website, I encourage you to do so. This is necessary work and it's time has come.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blog: Heading to DC to Lobby for a Department of Peace

Hey, I'm hours away from boarding a plane to the east coast. I will be video taping the Department of Peace conference in Washington DC. The conference takes place from Saturday September 10th to Monday September 12th. There is a huge line up of really wonderful speakers, from Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Marianne Williamson, Walter Cronkite and I will be meeting with activists from all over the country.
I also have scheduled a meeting with Congressman Henry Waxman's office. He is my congressperson for District 30, which includes Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, West LA, West Hollywood, and Hollywood. The conference is happening this weekend because Dennis Kucinich will be reintroducing the DOP bill on September 14, 2004. I urge you to call your representative at (202) 228-1793 asking them to cosponsor this important legislation. Yay!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Screening: Peace One Day

A couple of nights ago, I attended a screening of Peace One Day. It is a documentary following Jeremy Gilley as he knocks on the doors around the world, asking our highest officials to endorse the United Nations day of peace. (September 21st of each year) He talks to all of today's big wigs: Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, Oscar Arias.
Interestingly enough, the International Day of Peace has been brought to my awareness in the last couple of years, and it seems Jeremy had a lot to do with it. It is a truly beautiful film about how one person who has enough drive and passion can work towards making a difference.
He is currently on his next project which is the sequel to Peace One Day, which I believe is he working towards having a truly ceasefire day celebrated on the September the 21st.