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Conyers on Department of Peace
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CONYERS’ REMARKS
Conference on Establishing A Department of Peace
Washington, D.C. 9/12/2005
Congressman Conyers was scheduled to give the following remarks at our September 2005 conference on Monday the 12th, just prior to our attendees going off to lobby on the hill. Due to unforseen circumstances, he was unable to make it. He wanted us to share with our network the comments he was prepared to make. Below are his inspiring words about our campaign and the work we have before us.
I’m delighted to join you again for several reasons:
· I share your passion to build a peace-making capability to match America’s war-making ability, and to reduce violence at home and abroad.
· Since your last Washington rally, my admiration has only grown for Marianne Williamson’s vision for healing humanity..
Your presence is not only a tribute to Marianne's inspiring leadership. It reflects your own commitment to making America, and the world a safer, better place.
I also wish to recognize the deep commitment to peace and social justice of my good friend Dennis Kucinich, the chief sponsor of the bill to establish a Department of Peace. His dedication to peace and social justice is widely recognized in Washington. I was an original co-sponsor and I will be again when he re-introduces it on Wednesday.
It is fitting we meet here today. Back in 1792, Dr. Benjamin Banneker, the famed African-American inventor and scientist in Washington, proposed a Department of Peace for the new Nation to his friends George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. His prophetic suggestion was not implemented; but now, more than 200 years later, the need for a Peace Department is too compelling to ignore.
Since we met 2 years ago, we have seen new eruptions of violence in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and even Western Europe. Here at home gang warfare persists, along with the tragic levels of domestic violence. Even Hurricane Katrina has shown how desperation and frustration can lead to senseless violence within a community.
Some of you have come to Congress before. Those of you lobbying Congress for the first time should remember this. You are exercising a right so basic to democracy that it is named in our Constitution: the right to petition your government. President Eisenhower put it well when he said that “Politics should be the part-time profession of every American.