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My View: 3 Women Share Peace Prize and Hope*Written by Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith
What happens when you put together a national presidential leader, a woman of faith working at the grassroots level, and a mother with three children who chooses to stand up for not only her own children but children in her country? One would hope that this kind of effort representing the public sector, civil society and faith would yield positive results that enhance the betterment of all people.
For the first time, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee recognized this in awarding the prize to three women from Liberia and Yemen. While sex trafficking, human slavery, rape and all manner of evil are committed against women in war-torn countries and even in countries such as the United States, the Nobel Peace Prize had the wisdom of choosing three women of hope who have chosen to fight for the betterment not only of women and children but for all of us. So who are these women?
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia was the first elected woman president in Africa and has been sustaining peace and nurturing development since her election.
Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network-Africa, "mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia" and encouraged women's participation in elections. I have worked with Gbowee to tell this story through Fork Film productions. The film, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," will be featured in a series on Women, War and Peace on PBS.
Tawakkul Karman has played a leading role in the struggle for women's rights for democracy and peace with the Women Journalists Without Chains, a group campaigning for press freedom.
I would propose that these women remind us of several things.
First, that real and sustainable change takes vision, courage and faith to see and believe what is possible when others say it is not possible. It also may mean sacrifice of life itself. Second, that
poverty and lack of access to wealth and privilege are not necessarily social determinants that negate the possibility of all people mobilizing their intellect, faith and resources for positive change. Third, that education does matter and that it comes in many forms, formally and informally. Fourth, that there are
seasons that bring about the fullness of one's work where the impact and recognition of the work are felt. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Another Nobel Peace laureate, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., understood the connectedness of all of us in our diversity. He said: "All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."
In this rancorous election season, it is my hope and prayer that we, like the Nobel committee and these courageous women, will see the "network of mutuality" not only among government, civil
society and faith but with all those concerned with the betterment of our city, state, nation and world.
Walker-Smith is executive director of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
*First published in the Indianapolis Star, 10/15/2011
Click here for additional information about these women, including:This story
CNN Report on the Nobel Prize winners
Report on the World Council of Churches Living Letter Visit to Liberia & Sierra Leone
Mission Day Highlights - June 2011 - Indianapolis, IN
Click here for Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith's Vice Chair Report
View Mission Day Slide Show Presentation on IndyFaith.org
Recent ArticlesCut, Cap and Balance Time in the Church
Rev. Charles Mock - August 2011
The Neo-Lunch Discrimination Controversy: Fifty Years Later
Rev. Charles Mock - June 2011
Obama & King: Messengers of a Dream Seeking Fulfillment
Rev. Charles Mock -
FEATURES: Cut, Cap and Balance Time in the ChurchBy Rev. Charles Mock
Executive Secretary, Home Mission Board
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Cut, cap and balance is the summary slogan for the bill passed by the House in July of 2011. While I do not agree wholeheartedly with what they want to cut, where the caps would be, and how they wanted to balance the budget, I appreciate the slogan. It is quite useful for church matters in this season of financial restraints, “mouth-all-mighties” and unbalanced lifestyles that tip toward cruel and harsh judgment on the scales of justice.
As the Churches seek to make ends meet under tough financial circumstances, perhaps its leadership should be reflecting on what needs to be cut, capped and balanced. Allow me to share a few suggestions to ponder...
First of all we might prayerfully consider cutting the waste in time spent to get certain things done...
Secondly...we might consider capping the amount of money budgeted for administrative purposes. ...
Thirdly, we should prayerfully consider our harsh moral judgments on others by balancing the scales of justice with mercy...
This long season of recession for some and depression for others calls for a re-examination of how we are doing church and its mission ministries. If we choose “the same-old-same-old” we risk being similar in our purpose to gas stations that used to be Gas and Service Stations. Without the servicing of broken down and lost lives, all our churches will be good for is pumping gas in people’s tanks on Sunday to get them to Wednesday, or in most cases, through to next Sunday.
Cut, cap and balance is a useful slogan for the church in summarizing the kind of creative, strategic planning desperately needed to save what’s left of our service capacity in too many of our churches that used to be Worship and Service Stations.
“The Neo-Lunch Discrimination Controversy: Fifty Years Later”By Reverend Charles E. Mock
Executive Secretary, Home Mission Board
“Students in the traditional public school must now eat lunch at 10 a.m. so that charter school students can enjoy lunch at noon. The regular school’s children had library access for a little over four hours so that the ‘new charter school’s kids’ could have access for almost seven. Traditional school students were moved to a basement, where they were next to the boiler room, to make room for their charter school peers, and teachers of the regular students were forced to teach in the halls due to lack of space. “
The issues of space, education discrimination and place are accentuated by the NAACP’s research findings that no aggressive and affirmative strategy has been applied to assure parental engagement in decisions leading to these monumental changes in how New York does Public Education. The fact that lines have been legally drawn in this lawsuit is sad commentary on the state of “parent-student-community” relations.