A brief history of Eugene City of Peace

Although the Eugene city government hasn’t created an official declaration or office for peacebuilding, I and other team members have been busy. I had to go back through the eugenepeaceteam.org website and files to remember what all we had done since Feb. 7, 2009, when a group of about 20 people gathered to brainstorm the idea of a City of Peace. Two months later, we had a conference of 60 people and then in November, 2009, another event, titled “Each One of Us Matters,” attended by 139 people. I built the website, started publishing the newsletter, and with a small team began two initiatives to intervene on multi-generational poverty by increasing local circulation of money into the hands of the poor. We started F.E.A.S.T., Financing Eugene Area Sustainable Talent, a series of fundraising dinners, and an experimental patch of potatoes planted in leaves collected from city streets. 

In 2011, I created a database of 75-plus local peace, justice and sustainability groups, which was useful in drawing out 20 organizations and over 200 people for a Peace Feast and Walk on the anniversary of the Iraq war. That was the first year we organized a celebration of the International Day of Peace (which continued annually to 2014), building awareness of the significance of Sept. 21. We networked local schools with peace teaching resources, and the mayor proclaimed Sept. 21 to be “Peace Day Eugene.” In October of 2011, we helped to convene an outrageously successful problem-solving meeting between representatives of Occupy Eugene and the city’s police and government.

I’ve attached at the foot of this page a report to the World Bulletin for a Culture of Peace written in 2013 which samples all the peacebuilding actions taking place in Eugene that year, plus a letter explaining the benefits of the International Cities of Peace network.

In 2015, we shifted our focus to education concerning strategic nonviolence, promoting Michael Nagler’s “Nonviolence Handbook” and hosting a workshop by Rivera Sun of Campaign Nonviolence. We also documented a forum on youth homelessness and began to recognize the faith community as a potent resource for changing cultural values. We collected socks from 7 different churches for distribution to the homeless in February of 2016, changed the name of Eugene Peace Team to Emerald Compassionate Action Network, and held our first interfaith event in September, focusing on the issue of homelessness. 126 members of 53 different congregations attended, and since that time there have been two, smaller follow-up events. The database and map of local peacebuilding efforts has been greatly expanded.

We finally became an incorporated and federally-recognized non-profit this year, 2017. We’re zero-ing in on a short and long-range strategic plan for organizing our city’s compassion, placing our bets on it as a root cause of a culture of peace. 

Gratefully,

David Hazen

President & Founder, Emerald Compassionate Action Network

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Eugene 2013 Update for World Bulletin.rtf
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David Hazen,
Jul 24, 2017, 9:21 PM
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David Hazen,
Jul 24, 2017, 9:22 PM
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