Action Groups

Action groups are the heart of The Race to Peace. Here’s how to form one. Invite some friends and neighbors to your home. Share this book with them and explain why it’s so important that they join you in the Race to Peace.

Now, with your group, start exploring the organizations listed to see which one you will build your Race to Peace action project around. Visit the websites and talk to the people who staff these organizations. Find out if that particular organization is the one for you. Decide on a concrete project with measurable steps and a goal you believe in.

Keep your group small -- no more than ten people. If it gets larger, split off into smaller groups. The idea is for groups to keep expanding.

Important: Every person in your group should do the “Finding Your Path” process in Chapter 8. It’s critical that people contribute their talents and unique strengths.

When you run your meetings, rotate the role of facilitator, or if the group is comfortable, have the same person facilitate each meeting. So the process of your meetings reflects peace, follow these groundrules:

- Listen with an open mind.
- Work through dissenting viewpoints respectfully
- Suspend judgment, and work with a spirit of compromise.
- Be peace-- remember above all else to be welcoming and kind.
- Share warmth, care, and support.
- Make it fun.

Have refreshments and meet in a comfortable room. Even though you’re doing important work, your meetings should be fun. Start each each one with an opening exercise -- a reading from this book or another, a prayer, or an affirmation. Light a candle to signify the flame your work will ignite this world. Rotate doing the opening so everyone gets a turn to lead it and select the reading.

The body of your meeting should be devoted to action steps -- choosing them, giving yourselves deadlines, and reporting on what you have accomplished. If you are in touch with any other Race to Peace action groups, set aside part of your meeting to share what they’re doing. Make sure someone takes notes at every meeting. Create a Race to Peace Notebook where you keep a purpose statement, action steps, and notes from past meetings.

End with a review of the action steps people will take and “by when’s.” Like, “I will contact the principal of our local school by April 1st to offer that we coordinate a Peace Fair.” Also, at the end of each meeting and have each person affirm the other in partners. This is a time to offer sincere compliments about positive qualities you’ve observed, courageous actions, or innovative ideas. Always leave your meetings on a note of affirmation. This gives people energy and a sense of being appreciated -- essential for keeping going in the long-term.

Also, tell everyone what you’re doing. Remember what I said earlier? Word of mouth can be the most powerful way of spreading a new idea. Talk to people, call your friends, send e-mails -- make the Race to Peace a household word.

Organizations to Choose From
One guideline -- the organization you work with needs to be one that helps others or directly creates peace. If you prefer to work with an organization that’s not on this list, go ahead. There are many others to choose from at the end of Chapters 7, 8, and 9. The following organizations are just a starting point. Whatever organization you choose, be sure to register at so other people doing the same thing can find you. We need to support and inspire each other.

Ending Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty

Oxfam America

The Hunger Project

Kids Can Free the Children

America’s Second Harvest

National Coalition for the Homeless

Habitat for Humanity

The Children’s Defense Fund

Eliminating Gun Violence

Million Mom March

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence

Ending the Production of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Age peace Foundation

Peace Action

Building Tolerance and Equity

Teaching Tolerance

Do Something

Local or Global Action for Peace

The Hague Appeal for Peace

UNICEF’s Voices of Youth Program

ACR Association for Conflict Resolution

Youth M-Power (for young people)

Peace Angels Project

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