Background and Mission
Peace Works is an annual project of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice in the form of a lecture, conference, or other event that provides a forum for exploring the meaning and practice of justice and peace as they affect the social, economic, political, environmental, and spiritual aspects of people’s lives. We proceed with the understanding that all people share not only human rights, aspirations, and needs, but also the foibles of fear, aggression and domination. With this in mind, we encourage Peace Works participants to explore their own hearts first as they connect to the world community. Striving for fundamental social change and a just society, we focus on individuals and groups who work on local, national, and global levels to resist oppression, inequality, and war. We explore racism, poverty, global economic inequality, oppression of women and other forms of injustice. In doing so, we strive to formulate and communicate a hopeful vision of a world community that responds constructively to its inhabitants’ rights, aspirations and needs.
Peace Works is inspired by and recalls the life and work of Rachel Corrie, who stood against oppression and for human rights and international law when on March 16, 2003, at 23 years of age, she was killed by the Israeli military as she opposed the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. In her hometown of Olympia, Washington, Rachel Corrie was a student and activist. She wrote, “I think it’s important for people who oppose war and repression to speak about who we are as a community in addition to speaking about war and racism and injustice. We are not outside. I think it’s important that human rights and resistance to oppression be included in the way we define ourselves as a community…Ignoring all other factors, I would choose to spend eight hours a day for the rest of my life making things in a giant room full of other people.”
Through Peace Works, we strive…
- To bridge differences by increasing awareness about the issues that separate human beings.
- To recognize inherent connections across borders and areas of study, and to honor our shared struggle for the peaceful and just world that we deserve to live in.
- To address issues of injustice including war, racism, economic inequality, environmental degradation, and oppression of individuals, groups, and peoples.
- To foster the activism that brings light to the darkness of oppression, learning how each of us can work effectively for justice and peace by educating, advocating, organizing and agitating in our own communities and beyond.
- To affirm values which reflect Rachel Corrie’s spirit, including intellectual and geographical exploration, cross-cultural appreciation, creativity, and willingness to stand up to oppression.
- To celebrate the immense contribution and sacrifice made by those who visualize this better world, and to inspire all of us with the knowledge that one day we will get there.