Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year,

Most of my waking moments are spent thinking about the Journey Of Hope.
This year I am making a resolution to write more about the Journey of Hope.

The Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing will have an interesting year.
We are applying for a prize from the Fetzer Foundation that I think we have a good chance to win. There will be one twenty five thousand prize grant given to a nonprofit in the USA. If we win that the
Journey will go to places we have never been before.

In December the Journey of Hope expanded its board to eleven members.
Prior to 2012 we had 7 members. With our board election the Journey now has in place the most powerful board of directors in our history.
Ans speaking of History, 2013, is the twentieth anniversary of the Journey of Hope.
In 1993 the Journey of Hope traveled through the state for 17 days on its inaugural events.
The Journey isreturning to Indiana, February 22 to March 10. We are looking to returning to Indiana again in October with even more speakers and events.

For me, my work began in Indiana in 1985, when my grandmother was killed by high schools in Gary, Indiana.
Paula Cooper, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime, was sentenced to death becoming the youngest female on death row in this country.

On the night of November 2, 1986, my life was transformed.
I went from supporting the death penalty sentence to campaigning to have her death sentence overturned.
It was commuted in 1989 on the automatic appeal that is given to all death row sentences.
I learned the lesson of the healing power of forgiveness. It became my mission to spread the seeds of love and compassion.

I have spread the seeds of love and compassion in 15 countries and about 40 states.
2013, will be different for me, in that Paula Cooper gets out of prison on July 17. I intend to be at the gates of the prison when she gets out.
I believe in restorative justice. I want to help restore Paula to her place in society.
I have friends that want to help.It will be a very interesting year.
I have been told in places I have spoken the last few years like Germany, Belgium and Italy that they want Paula an I to come to their countries and organizations.
It will be interesting to see what Paula wants to do when she gets out.
Paula is not the same person who committed that terrible crime in 1985 and I want people to see that she has changed.
The people in Europe worked hard to save Paula`s life.
It would be so cool to be able to go with her and let the people who worded so hard, see what their work has accomplished.

The Journey of Hope has been asked to be one of the organizations on the working committe for the 5th World Congress Against the death penalty.
The conference will be in Madrid, June 18 -20. Just yesterday I was asked by a friend and Journey supporter if I needed help to get to Madrid.
When I said yes, he offered to fly me to Spain. Happy New Year!!!

2013 also brings us the 20th annual Fast and Vigil June 29 - July 2. If we get the grant I mentioned earlier I hope that all of our board members can attend a face to face board meeting in DC and do some work stategizing on how the Journey can be an even bigger impact on worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
This would be fantastic and much needed.
The grant is Fetzer Compation for NGO`s working on Love and Forgiveness, Call for Entries ( Win 25,000 dollars, open to orgs around the world)
I think we have a good chance.

We are about love and forgiveness.
We will know on February 14, who the winner is. We have a five minute video prepared for this and we are working on a 500 word synopsis. We would appreciate your prayers.
Award winning producer Micki Dickoff prepared the video and Anne Feczko, one of our new board members is working on the written part.

In January I will head to Omaha, Nebraska for an interview on a documentary called:
"There Will Be No Stay"

It looks to become an exciting year.

Bill Pelke


No comments:

Post a Comment