Metta’s Opinion

Join a Peace Team in Palestine

Meta Peace Team seeks potential members for its upcoming Peace Team work in Palestine.

Meta Peace Team (MPT) has been creating nonviolent alternatives to militarism and violence through empowered peacemaking since 1993. As part of their practice, they have been placing peace teams in places such as Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, Egypt, Panama, Mexico, Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and within the US.

MPT’s peace teams act to reduce and prevent violence, utilizing a practice known as third-party nonviolent intervention, which includes tools like protective accompaniment; human rights monitoring/reporting; a peaceful presence; and interpositioning (getting in between conflicting parties to deter them from using violence against one another).

The Palestine Peace Team will depart for the West Bank on January 21, 2018, and the program will run 4 – 6 weeks. Team members must have completed MPT’s basic 8-hour Nonviolence Training and the preparation process (includes a 5-day intensive training November 9 – 13, 2017, in Michigan).

Estimated cost per person is $3,800 for 4 weeks, $4,600 for 6 weeks. Fundraising is done as a team.

Apply by October 11, 2017. Learn more on the MPT website and in the program flyer. Download an application.

Metta Center in the New York Times

Yesterday, the New York Times ran an op-ed about—get this—nonviolence. Published in the wake of the horrible expressions of white “supremacy” in Charlottesville, VA, the piece extols the effectiveness of humor and nonviolence principles/strategies to dispel displays of racist hatred.

The op-ed, written by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, quotes two members of our Metta Center staff. Here’s the snippet featuring Michael Nagler, our founder and president:

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Should I go to the Neo-Nazi rally to fight back?

Members of white-supremacist groups are met by counter-protestors in Charlottesville, VA

When we hear that the Neo-Nazi movement is coming to our town, most of us naturally feel called—or pushed—to some kind of action. But not every action is going to be effective, especially if we are walking into a situation where the level of dehumanization is extreme—where people are prepared to harm or kill others. How then can we draw from the power of nonviolence in a situation of escalating violence? (more…)

The Community in the Forest

I spent last week visiting friends who live on a mountain in Northern California. Two years ago a massive forest fire tore through the community, burning 9 out of 10 homes. While the black skeletons of singed trees still dot the landscape, the forest’s regenerative energy fills every niche.  What I have seen is not a collection of individual trees and shrubs struggling to claim their spot in a barren land, but a forest community in regeneration.

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Why Wednesday was Awesome

Training with Meta Peace Team’s Mary Hanna at the Metta Center…

 

Lou leans into the kitchen, “If we need more room, we can do this training at my house.”

“We’ll be fine,” I reply with a grin.

Walking back into our office, I see that all the chairs have been filled, and some people have moved to the floor. About 16 people, and one or two people spilling out of the door. We’ve all gathered in about a week’s notice to spend four hours with Mary Hanna of the Meta Peace Team who kindly offered to train us in skills related to unarmed peacekeeping (the work of MPT) as well as bystander intervention while on an important visit to our headquarters in Petaluma.

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Global Spirit and Nonviolence

Usually I prefer not to work on Sunday evenings. It’s my one chance for a day to myself, to work on my weaving or sewing projects or even get more involved in a book that I’ve been salivating to read all week long. (Currently on my table is Kamala Subramaniam’s version of The Ramayana.) There are some occasions that warrant a slight change in routine, however. Last Sunday was one of them.

Michael Nagler and I were invited to represent the Metta Center for Nonviolence at a small gathering—about 25 people mostly representing rather effective large-scale organizations (think Pachamama Alliance, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Attitudinal Healing International, etc)—on a houseboat in Sausalito, California (it was much more house than boat). It was for strategy meeting for the PBS/Link TV Series, Global Spirit, to help them brainstorm for their third season. We were broken into three groups to have small circle discussions about what topic might be particularly relevant for the times we are in, while holding fast to their vision that timeless wisdom and a higher image of who we are must underlie the subject matter. Up our ally, alright!

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Press Release: Metta Center at the UN

Metta Center Named a Special Consult to the United Nations
Petaluma nonprofit granted status with the world body

PETALUMA, CA, May 10, 2017 – The late peace researcher Kenneth Boulding once articulated a tongue-in-cheek theory called “Boulding’s First Law.” It states that if something can happen anywhere, then it is possible everywhere. As far as the Metta Center for Nonviolence is concerned, the most urgent and possible “something” needed today is nonviolence. The United Nations seems to agree: it has granted the Petaluma-based Metta Center special consultative status with its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Consultative status permits the Metta Center to engage with ECOSOC, along with the United Nations Secretariat. The nonprofit may also participate in UN events and attend meetings at the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other decision-making bodies. (more…)

We’ve moved: Join us!

Since mid-March we’ve been moving into a new office in downtown Petaluma. Now that we’ve vacuumed up the last bit of sawdust from the floor (all our shelves were hand-built and crafted by our own Michael Nagler), placed the final book in our Gandhi library, arranged the last piece of furniture for our nonviolence home—and inaugurated our meditation corner—we are ready to open our doors to our community.

We are now located at 205 Keller Street, Suite 202D, Petaluma, California. (For mail, please continue to use the PO Box 98 address.)

We hope you’ll join us in person. Here are a few ways of getting involved and taking action:

1. Volunteer in person at our office: Volunteering is an opportunity to put your skills to the service of the larger nonviolence movement worldwide while also deepening your learning of how nonviolence works. Choose your frequency: once a month, once a week, etc.

2. Monday Meditations: 3:15-3:45 pm every Monday to nourish the mind, body, and spirit of the Mahatmas-to-be in our midst. (Or, join us from wherever you are at, at that very time, and we’ll be united in heart.)

3. Restorative Justice Strategy Team: Meets first Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30. This is a project open to those living in Petaluma who feel passionately that the time is now for restorative justice to play a bigger role for our youth in our community’s school system. The Metta Team kindly invites all interested and committed community members to join us on our strategy team and TAKE ACTION.

4. Nonviolence Mentoring: We work with people around the world on the dynamics of nonviolence, to practice this great power more safely and more effectively. We are now offering in-person mentoring and nonviolence study at our office.

5. Family Program: Second Tuesday of the month from 3:30-4:30 pm. Bring your child to the Metta Center for a story, craft, and snack. Spaces limited.

To join any program, kindly email Stephanie Van Hook to arrange your visit: stephanie@mettacenter.org.