About

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Mission

The Peace Center works to educate and empower students by providing the tools, knowledge and space necessary for mobilizing around issues of justice and peace and creating effective and positive changes in our community and on our campus. By acting in solidarity on a local level, we hope to contribute to the achievement of social, environmental and economical justice worldwide.

History of Peace Center

The Peace Center’s roots are in the Swords into Plowshares movement of the 50’s. There was a United Methodist pastor that went to Wesley Foundations around the state starting up peace centers on university campuses. With the decline of the movement, the WMU Peace Center shut down. The Peace Center opened once more during the 80’s anti nuclear movement, but as the Berlin wall fell and the movement lost momentum, the Center again closed its doors. In the early 2000s a group of students came together and presented the Wesley Foundation with a new plan to jump start the Peace Center.  Leadership, structure and activities have changed over the past decade, and since its rebirth, the Center has provided WMU students with opportunities to take leading roles in social change.

Organizational Structure

The Peace Center strives to be as horizontal in its decision making process as possible. While we are not an egalitarian organization in structure, we are working towards the creation of a horizontal structure. Every member decides their level of participation and thus qualifies their own amount say in any decision we make as a group. Historically, the hiring board accepts applicants for co-directors for a 2-year term. The director, or co-directors, handle the day-to-day communications and maintenance of work in the group. The (co)director(s) then makes the call on which work-study students to hire. The board, director, nor the work-study students, have any official power to determine who is part of the collective voluntarily, but like any organization, pre-existing members will make the effort to make our existing collective as accessible to newcomers as possible, updating them on whatever ongoing projects at the time.

Our Elevator Speech

The Peace Center is a hub for community and student organizing at WMU. We area community center, office, temporary storage space,  and we are continuing to explore the ways our space can be expanded to fit the needs of our community. We organize lectures, film screenings, concerts, open forums and other events that bring together ideas and provide a space for discourse, as well as political and personal development.

pcretreat

Organizational Culture

The Peace Center Collective constitutes of two co-directors and interns and/or collective members serve as key components to the group. The organization is personal and paced to the schedules, abilities and desires of those who join. Everyone is on a first name basis and begins their relationship with intersecting goals and interests — whether it be voter registration, direct action training or the topics of a favorite speaker. While we recognize the goal professionalism has in communication in non-profits, friendships and the connection over our passions is more important. Members have a wide variety of interests in topics that are both popular and trending or historical. We also consider both cultural and policy changes in our communities.  Actions are based locally but we have ventured outside of Kalamazoo to gain experience in national protests, such as the School of Americas Watch. Our volunteers like to be involved in multiple projects and embrace their full capabilities, and is self-motivated by their desires to change societal conditions.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. This is a description about the Peace Center by the College Republicans

    MONDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2006

    Kalamazoo Peace Center
    This week has been declared “Peace Week” by liberals on campus. So this seems like a good time to examine some of the nutty liberals on campus. Many of their efforts seem to revolve around the “Kalamazoo Peace Center,” located in the Wesley foundation on campus.

    According to their website, the Peace Center is a group of “students and others” dedicated to promoting liberalism. The center also refers to “the collective:”

    Collective

    The role of the Collective is to keep the Peace Center alive and productive.

    Members of the Collective volunteer their time to cooperatively staff the office. The Collective participates in day-to-day activities and in long-term developmental goals of the Peace Center. If you are interested in being a volunteer or joining the collective feel free to download an application, send us an email, or stop by!
    The Center was started 25 years ago as a project of the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodists, which says a lot about the decline of mainline Protestant denominations.

    In the 1980’s, it was used to promote the Nuclear Freeze movement. This movement demanded that the United States unilaterally stop building our nuclear capacities. Strangely, this was exactly what the Soviet Union wanted us to do. So what happened? Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite of what the liberals wanted. He increased military spending. The Soviet Union went bankrupt trying to keep up, was demoralized, and collapsed. Four hundred million people were freed from communist tyranny, and there was no war. Today, the peace center’s website acknowledges how wrong they were. Yes, I’m kidding.

    Their “coalition” included the “anti-nuclear Valley Alliance, Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Pushkin Institute, United Nations Association, and many faith-based groups such as the Presbyterian Church and Pax Cristi.” I’m pretty sure that the “people of El Salvador” means the communists trying to overthrow the government of El Salvador.

    Today, the Peace Center works with the Progressive Student Alliance, uniting such leftist organizations as “Students Against Sweatshops, Students’ Kalamazoo Non-violent Opponents to War, NAACP, Western’s Organization for Women and many more.”

    Then, the Progressive Student Alliance made a “daring” step–becoming the “Progressive Community Alliance.” They work with organizations such as “Beehive Collective, Global Exchange, Oxfam and other national and international organizations.” That’s the Peace Center’s “herstory.”

    As an organization championing peace, the Peace Center naturally supports banning jobs and racial discrimination. They demand a “living wage,” which would ban any jobs that pay less. Of course, they oppose the MCRI:

    The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban both discrimination and affirmative action programs. This campaign exists to bring awareness to the community on the unethical aspects of this proposal and to get citizens to VOTE NO ON PROP 2 in November.
    The Peace Center’s calendar of events includes meetings of the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network, which has provided some of the funnier moments in local politics.

    Their community and links pages provide links to plenty more crazy liberal organizations. Ugh–I need to read Ann Coulter.

    • My name is Pal MacNellis. I was out of town this past week for the rally at Asylum Lake for the Colony Orchard. I am interested to hear what was said at the rally and would like to contact the folks to see if there are any recordings of the talks that day. Can you help me, please?
      Thanks
      Paul MacNellis
      paul.macnellis@wmich.edu
      swmcc@stewardshipnetwork.org
      269-744-7718

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