Read Aloud Project: May Books

The Read Aloud Project was created by Priscilla Weddle and Marie Benner-Rhoades to provide homeschooling resources in peace and justice during the pandemic. For the project, members of the community record themselves reading children’s books about peace, courage and justice. The response from the community has been great and we appreciate those who have participated. If you are interested in recording a video for the project, please email Priscilla at Here are the books that were read for the project in May:


The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio and Queen Rania of Jordan

Summary: The Sandwich Swap tells the story of best friends Lily and Salma. Lily likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, while Salma prefers to eat hummus on pita. The girls get into an argument because they think each other’s lunch is weird. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out at school. In the end, the girls try the different sandwiches and enjoy it.
Reflective Question: Have you ever swapped a sandwich with a friend? What is your favorite sandwich?

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Reality Check: Children's Book Audit

Written by Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Director (Originally written in 2018, updated for this blog.)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about raising my white children in a predominately white place. I want them to understand race and their role in social justice efforts, and it already feels too late. My children are six and two years old. What we know about implicit bias includes that children as young as six months already make judgments based on race. We have to be intentional in our efforts to be anti-racist.

Reading to my kids is a favorite activity in my family. We all take part- kids, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles- in person and online. Bookshelves are full in my house, but are they full of the right books? I decided recently to do a children’s book audit after viewing an EmbraceRace webinar, “Reading Picture Books with Children through a Race-Conscious Lens,” where the idea was introduced to me.

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Preserving the Beloved Community

Some of the beloved community that OEP thanks and appreciates for
their collected support; 2019.

Written by Mary E Boria, of the Anti-Racism Transformation Team, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Beloved Community. 

Two months ago, around the beginning of March 2020, this would have been a very different discussion. The ongoing realities of life's struggle and increasing disparities between those with and those without privilege was a very familiar refrain. The stress and strain of poor and communities of color was evident in all aspects of people’s lives from health to income and feelings of safety and security in the world. Many made do (while others did not), and some at least held the hope that things would get better for their families and communities. A more direct and public outcry challenged the status quo to eliminate oppression and inequality. The Anti-Racist Transformation Team (ARTT) of On Earth Peace has helped to shape an understanding of the Beloved Community within the context of these realities. Dismantling systems that oppress, and transforming others, is a slow and arduous undertaking. Understanding the role of racism, gender oppression, and poverty have become foundational to the work of OEP. Changing culture and institutionalizing new practices takes time (even as we think of its urgency); 

But, in the midst of our slow but determined progress, out of the ashes comes the Coronavirus (COVID -19 ) early in 2020. The world stopped, and our lives have rapidly changed, leaving uncertainty, pain, and death to follow. For some, our relative comfort and security has turned to fear and massive loss.

What is the hope for the Beloved Community in our yet to be determined new reality? And how do we live out our values of anti-racism, non-violence, action towards justice, welcome and hospitality, and Radical Christian love?

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Work Towards Equality

Protestors at the US/Mexico border call for welcome

Written By Ben Leiter-Grandison, member of the OEP Anti-racism Transformation Team, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Anti-racism/Anti-oppression.


For at least the past five years, On Earth Peace has been moving, in fits and starts, from a multicultural institution to an antiracist one. Making this shift has meant moving from a mindset and practice of hospitality to one of accountability. A multicultural institution opens its doors to people of color and other socially oppressed groups but does little to change the preexisting culture, policies, and decision-making structures that tend to favor superiority. It extends a welcome, but one that is implicitly conditioned on following rules “the welcomed” did not write, much like being a guest in someone else’s house. Hospitality, while generous and kind, keeps unequal power relationships intact. Indeed, to be hospitable, one first must have, and remain in control, of the power and property to host. 

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Intergenerational Leadership

A quick snapshot from the 20th Song and Story Fest in 2016.

Written by Bev Eikenberry, OEP Board Member, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Intergenerational Leadership.


Parent to a three-year-old son: “Maybe Grandma would like to play on the Wii with you.” 

Three-year-old son: “Grandma doesn’t like killing”

 -- a moment of teaching from an elder.  

“Sometimes [people] just need a friend rather than a time out;” a four-year-old reflects on how to support a fellow preschooler who is being disruptive in class

 -- a moment of teaching from a child.

As a young adult, I thought as we grow older, we become wiser. So I often asked questions of elders. I realized with time that my generalization’s thought, we grow wiser with age, was not always true. There were some who became wise and some that offered me no wisdom. 

One learned professor, who traveled widely and regularly, presented on current events with astute historical knowledge and understanding and offered a unique kind of wisdom. His conclusion was that “history repeats itself.”  While living with that understanding, this man actively worked for peace and supported efforts of justice. His choice to pursue peace and justice, when he understood the world to not be changing, is an inspiration for me.

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