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Sonoma County Gazette
Sebastopol Living Peace Wall

Promoting PEACE - The Sebastopol Living Peace Wall

Sep 1, 2018


By Michael Gillotti

Honoring those who have worked nonviolently for peace and justice

I created the Sebastopol Living Peace Wall in downtown Sebastopol to promote the cause of peace and justice by honoring the peacemakers among us. Every year we infuse the peace wall with life by adding four peoples’ names to the granite panels and by putting on an Induction Ceremony and Celebration. This year’s honorees are: Daniel Ellsberg, Dolores Huerta, Tui Wilschinsky and Therese Mughannam.

This year’s Ceremony / Celebration will be held in the Sebastopol town square, on Saturday, September 15, 11:00 AM to Noon.

Daniel Ellsberg is best known for releasing The Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, which revealed the government’s duplicity and helped to bring an end to the war. Dolores Huerta, along with Cesar Chavez, is the co-founder of theUnited Farm Workers and has worked for many years for farm workers and women’s rights.

Tui Wilschinsky is a beloved spiritual teacher who for many years has promoted peace by leading Dances of Universal Peace, sometimes simply called Sufi Dancing.

Therese Mughannam was born in Palestine and has worked tirelessly for the rights of the Palestinians and for peace in the Middle East.

What motivated me to build the Living Peace Wall was the recognition that peace activists are almost always marginalized and/or not taken seriously. Their voices are seldom heard during the lead up to war. Instead, we hear from ex-generals, hawks, and professional pundits, often without attribution to their connections to the military industrial complex, which benefits from war-making. Non-violent alternatives to war are rarely discussed in any serious manner.

Conflicts between individuals or nations may be inevitable, but violent resolutions are not. We must find nonviolent, peaceful resolutions to conflicts, whether they are personal, national or international.

Of course, all this starts by finding ways to become more peaceful ourselves in our daily lives. The inscription on the granite bench behind the peace wall reads: “PEACE BEGINS WITH ME.” We won’t be able to create a more peaceful world if we are not more peaceful individuals. I believe this begins with listening, listening and connecting with the peaceful spirit inside and really listening to others, especially to those with whom we disagree, in order to find the “common ground” between us.

The inscription on the central granite panel of the Living Peace Wall reads as follows:

“We honor the peacemakers, whose names are inscribed, who have, during their lives, worked for peace and against war, for justice, and against injustice, for nonviolent resolutions and against violence and for the common good and against selfishness and greed.

By honoring these outstanding individuals we also honor all who share in the collective desire to rise above differences of race, religion, nationalities and ideologies to that place where we are all brothers and sisters, where we share a common humanity and a common desire to live in peace with all the people of the world.”

Please watch this video WHY Michael created this wall:

“All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance.”

Michael Gilloti and Richard Retecke, founder of the Sebastopol Living Peace Wall


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