"My work as a fundraising executive has led me to my personal mission of educating practically every person I meet that each of us can create a lasting and meaningful legacy regardless of financial resources that can positively impact the world.
Submitted by Marilyn Turkovich on Mon, 2010-08-16 18:29
After her death, the Friends of Peace Pilgrim, a non-profit, all-volunteer group composed of people directly touched by her life was set up in California in 1981. Ann and John Rush, who gave their home for this purpose, have devoted their retirement to this service, in the spirit of Peace Pilgrim. The Friends' purpose is to publish and disseminate the words and work of Peace Pilgrim. They also serve as a repository and distribution site for her teachings. They write, compile and send out a newsletter that serves as an information source describing on-going Peace Pilgrim work, related activities and influences.
Peace Pilgrim Book Soon after Peace Pilgrim's death, five friends of Peace Pilgrim got together and compiled a 224-page book, Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in her Own Words, first printed in 1983. This book pulled together the major teachings and talks of Peace Pilgrim in one place. It has been reprinted many times, with 500,000 copies in 11 languages in circulation-all without marketing or funding. Contributions from supporters have been sufficient to keep it in circulation. It is now distributed commercially by Ocean Tree Books, Santa Fe, NM.
Spirit of Peace, 1st Documentary The Friends created a documentary film, Peace Pilgrim: The Spirit of Peace, in 1997, and several other shorter video clips of her speeches recorded live as she preached and spoke. Spirit of Peace is a 71-minute video that captures the life and teachings of Peace Pilgrim, and provides a sense of the impact her life had on those who knew her. It has been widely distributed and served as a forerunner for the 2nd video film.
An American Sage, 2nd Documentary The Friends also produced a TV-quality, 60-minute documentary in 2000, entitled Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk. This film contains extraordinary television footage from Peace Pilgrim's early pilgrimages in the 1950's and early 1960's as well as testimony from well-known religious leaders, spiritual teachers, academics, cultural figures, writers, poets and everyday people who had either known Peace Pilgrim or were deeply affected by her life and teachings.
Peace Pilgrim Movie A full length, professional feature film portrayal of the life of Peace Pilgrim is currently under development. A script has been produced, industry supporters are working to make the necessary connections, and it is expected to be under production in the near future. The goal is for the Peace Pilgrim's life to go beyond entertainment and serve to inspire a global renaissance of the eternal principles of peace, as taught and lived by Peace Pilgrim.
Web Site In 1995, a web site, www.peacepilgrim.org, was created, bringing together many important aspects of Peace Pilgrim's life and achievements. It was originally set up by volunteers and is regularly updated by a volunteer webmaster, Bruce Nichols.
Steps Toward Inner Peace Pamphlet The Friends continue to reprint the Peace Pilgrim's Steps Toward Inner Peace pamphlet. Today, over 1.5 million copies of Steps are now in print in English. It has been translated into 25 languages including Russian, in which over 30,000 copies have been printed and distributed, and a Peace Pilgrim Center in Moscow has been established. Reports come to the Friends Center that the Steps pamphlet keeps "showing up" in distant places - African villages, in the shadow of the Pyramids, in the jungles of Thailand, at a Bedouin inn, in the ancient ruins of Central America, in an Ashramic Library in the Himalayas, and in China.
Steps Prison Project For years, the Steps pamphlet has been an important source of inspiration to this nation's prison population. The Human Kindness Foundation now sends a copy of Steps to all new prisoners who contact the organization. On average, they send out 15,000 copies a year. In addition, prisoners have initiated "inner peace" projects and study groups within state prisons, using the Steps pamphlet. It is reported that there is a near 100% non-recidivism rate for all prisoners who have participated in a program, or come in contact with the Steps pamphlet.
Legal Mediation Project Because of contact with the Peace Pilgrim's message, lawyers who wished to find an alternative to the combative, adversarial legal system started mediation projects such as the one in Dallas, TX. Through the local Bar Association, the Dallas Mediation Project trained 1000 attorneys as mediators for settling civil disputes. They have been using Peace Pil- grim's principles since 1987, trying to find creative solutions and win-win-scenarios for their clients. They say the difference between mediation and litigation is that in litigation, the dispute is resolved by somebody "dying", whereas in mediation, dispute is resolved by everybody finding a solution that they can all live with. The project uses the Peace Pilgrim's "golden rule of resolution" as its primary teaching principle: Have it be your purpose to resolve the dispute rather than to gain an advantage. In their first six months, with 1000 cases in Dallas County referred for mediation, approximately 80% of them settled voluntarily.
Peace Pilgrim Statue, Costa Rica On November 19, 2000, a life-size bronze statue of Peace Pilgrim, created by sculptor Fernando Calvo, was dedicated at the United Nations University of Peace in Colon, Costa Rica. It was placed near that of Gandhi and other world peacemakers such as Tolstoy and King on the grounds of the University. Rodrigo Carazo, former President of Costa Rica, gave the keynote address at the dedication ceremony. Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and chancellor emeritus of the UN University for Peace, originated the idea of the statues a few years ago. He wanted to honor individuals who "dedicated their life's work to world peace." Costa Rica is the first and only country to unilaterally abolish its army, which occurred 50 years ago. The University of Peace, founded in 1980, is the world's only United Nations-sanctioned learning center dedicated to peace studies.
Peace Pilgrim Statue, Egg Harbor, NJ Another statue of Peace Pilgrim has also been created - in ceramic - by New Jersey artist Sally McInermey. It is destined to be placed in her hometown of Egg Harbor City, NJ, sometime in the near future.
Awards: She was posthumously awarded the Sherborn, Massachusetts-based Peace Abby's "Courage of Conscience" Award in 1992. Described as "the wandering mendicant and peace activist," she was awarded the honor "for her unprecedented 28 year trip across America, in which she walked over 25,000 miles, talking to everyone she met about peaceful living.
Nominations In the spring of 1981, Peace Pilgrim was recommended for nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. (However, the Prize cannot be awarded posthumously.) In 2003, she was nominated for the National Women's Hall of Fame. She has also been entered in the Encyclopedia of Notable American Women, Vol. V, published by Harvard University Press, 2003.
In July 2000, the Dalai Lama tried to sum up the impact of her life, for the documentary film, Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage. He said, while holding a copy of her book:
Her motivation and activities are effective methods. Her commitment to propagate peace through actions, the peace walk, without seeking money or fame, is wonderful. We need such determined people everywhere, irrespective of culture, race, religion. It doesn't matter. We are all brothers and sisters. Peace Pilgrim is a real peacemaker.