Tom

Maine Delegation, 2001

IMPACT: POLITICAL

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

I was very innocent and curious when I went to Camp and I remember asking my bunkmates a million questions—I had never paid any attention to foreign conflicts prior to going to Camp.

My experiences pushed me to understand the world in ways that most people are never challenged to do so. When Camp ended and I returned home, I continued reading Seedsnet, the daily listserv of discussion, birthday wishes and warm memories of Camp. I was fascinated by the high level discussion going on about war and peace from people my own age and I soaked up as much as I could.

When someone would post a really interesting thought, I would email them for more information. Through this, I established some of my closest Seeds friends. I’ve traveled to the Middle East, Cyprus, and the Balkans to see for myself what these conflict zones were really like and to see my friends on their own turf.

Seeds of Peace helped give me the courage to go beyond the boundaries of a typical Maine young person and I am incredibly thankful for the experience.

How are you impacting your community?

Seeds of Peace has inspired me towards a life of solidarity with others. As a teenager at a multi-ethnic public high school, myself and the other group of Seeds of Peace graduates worked to overcome the ethnic, cultural, class and gender divides which were all too present. I am doing the same work now, though on a much larger scale.

In 2011, I joined the Maine Green Independent Party’s Steering Committee and, in 2012, I ran for State Representative in Portland for the Maine House of Representatives. Though I did not win, my campaign was focused on speaking to the needs of the vast majority and bringing social and economic justice to the State.

I have also worked on several petitioning campaigns that focus on promoting democracy and social justice. I knew that running for State Representative with a third party was a long shot; however, I did not run with the sole focus on winning that election. My focus was on having conversations, which include listening, a skill that is actively promoted at Seeds of Peace.

My work has shown me that we must work to overturn the drivers of violence, including inequality of all sorts, if we want a lasting peace. It is much more difficult to change the underlying causes of violence than to simply freeze the problems for a moment. Peace-building is a long term commitment and one that Seeds of Peace has prepared me to undertake for my entire life.

“Seeds of Peace has inspired me towards a life of action and solidarity with others.”