PACEM IN TERRIS
Happy New Year!
As my first contribution in these 365 days of giving (see “How It All Began…” above for more about the What Gives project), I’m choosing Pacem in Terris (that’s Peace on Earth in Latin, amica) because it was my mom’s favorite cause.Dorothy Mae was a peace warrior and pro-life in the truest, most complex sense of the word. She believed in babies, family, prayer, Jesus, singing, fresh air, and good posture. She was against the death penalty, war, nuclear proliferation, guns, euthanasia, racism, poverty, abortion, pornography, and prejudice. Needless to say, I didn’t agree with some of her positions (and god knows, it was supremely embarrassing when she’d go out and protest against porn AND get her picture in the paper for it!) but she was utterly committed and utterly consistent in her beliefs– and she wrote more letters to more members of Congress in her beautiful cursive handwriting than probably any person in Wilmington, Delaware. She was given a special award by the Black Panthers (and dragged my dad to the ceremony honoring her) for joining them on the picket lines when they were protesting against an adult video store coming into their community. Her whiter-than-white church friends were horrified when she shepherded them down to inner city Wilmington to protest, but she got them there. Again and again. Probably because she had a beautiful smile, a joyful spirit, and an indomitable will.
Pacem in Terris was founded in 1967 by two rabbis, a Catholic and Episcopalian priest, a Catholic banker and a Quaker businessman… and my parents were early members. It’s an ecumenical organization and still gets its 1200 members out on the streets to protest for peace and justice. (My dad went to Russia with the group a year after my mom died on a cultural mission – a trip my mom never would have endorsed since it involved spending money on herself.) Pacem in Terris works for justice, understanding, and equality — and Sally Milbury-Steen, my parents’ friend, is still deeply involved in all their activities.
So, Dorothy – this one’s for you. With love, gratitude and respect for your great example of activism. Hope I can live up to it!
You can find Pacem in Terris at http://depaceminterris.pbworks.com/