WASHINGTON CITY — A veteran journalist is taking her mission for peace on the road with a cross-country tour, from Washington, Utah, to Washington, D.C.
Susan Beaver Thompson received a sendoff for her “Trip For Peace” at the Washington City Hall Friday morning, the first leg of her journey across the country to interview and showcase everyday people working for peace.
“People are waking up, and they’re really starting to see, I think, that we’ve got to do some different things,” Thompson said. “There’s no way to have peace when you’re still waging war and talking war all the time.”
Thompson, who’s worked in all levels of journalism for 25 years – from reporter to managing editor – will be showcasing her peace journey on a blog on Medium. She’s calling her work a form of “solutions journalism” that will largely be written in first-person perspective.
Thompson’s work will focus on those she refers to as the country’s “peace builders,” including some scholars and high-profile activists, but mostly focusing on “everyday, regular people” who are contributing to peaceful causes in their communities.
“I say peace builders instead of peacemakers because I believe that peace is already here, it’s just that we’ve forgotten it,” Thompson said, “we just need to build it.”
Given the divisive climate of the country, she said, now is the time to engage in open dialogues.
“When people see the violence in our schools or on the streets and they wonder why, but yet we have more warheads than any country in the world and we spend more money on war and violence,” Thompson said. “When people wonder why we have violence in America, they don’t put the two together.
“I believe the solution starts with the people because the status quo has no reason to change it. It’s not going to happen overnight, obviously, but I believe it’s where the human species is evolving to and that we’re capable of it.”
Thompson’s trip is being made in conjunction with major peace events across the U.S.
Her first stop will be in Memphis, Tennessee, during the MLK50 Conference April 3-4. The conference focuses on the nonviolent principles of Martin Luther King Jr. and how they can be taught to today’s youth, five decades after King’s assassination.
The next stop in her journey will take her to Independence, Virginia, at the Peace Pentagon for a retreat featuring activists David Swanson and Glen T. Martin on the history and future of the peace movement.
Other stops are planned in the Washington, D.C., and New York.
Thompson said she has met many doubters in the years since she has started working as a peace journalist, but she was surrounded by several believers and supporters at Friday’s sendoff event.
“Somebody has to start somewhere and that’s what I see happening with Susan,” Trip For Peace supporter Anne Carlson said. “She had the idea and has been thinking about it for a long time and acted on it.”
“She has shared some ideas with us that are wonderful,” supporter Welton Myers said. “Peace has to start in the heart and the mind.”
In addition to her blog, Thompson will be chronicling her journey in real time via regular video conferences with supporters over the teleconferencing platform Zoom.
Thompson’s trip for peace is the first phase of a much larger vision. She has a business plan in place for a “Peace Pirates” voyage, documenting in real time peace journalism trips to various ports around the world.
Thompson is funding her peace journalism endeavors in part through crowdsource donations.
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