With the current state of the world, OEP wants to focus on the positive and let our communities know what we at OEP are thankful for this November. Regardless of our individual placement around the world, OEP is thankful to join together as a collective with you and help the world become the better place we know it can be. From all of us to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving.
We would love to share some of the things our staff, interns, and board are thankful for this year.
Anna Rodriguez - Kingian Nonviolence Organizer Intern
This Thanksgiving I would like to express my gratitude, especially towards my family. My dad, my brother, and my boyfriend have become my biggest support this last year and I will always be thankful for them. I also want to show my appreciation towards OEP and my current boss Matt Guynn. This year I have learned a lot as part of the OEP intern team and since September, my transition towards the Kingian Nonviolence intern position has challenged me in all possible levels and I am deeply thankful for this opportunity. To finish, I just want to send a message of appreciation to all the OEP staff and interns who make this job so enjoyable and as challenging as social change requires.
Bev Eikenberry - OEP Board Member
I am thankful for a healthy spouse who cares deeply with me, faith, and a set of values that guide our life decisions and expand our love. We daily converse and research and learn more about anti-racism, gender identity, why “Brethren” is still in our church name, dynamics surrounding Israel and Islamic nations, growing nationalism and populism, pollution, climate change, immigration, poverty. Then together we work at the polls, march with Black Lives Matter, support our asylum-seeking Guatemalan family, buy local produce and garden to create delicious meals, recycle. Amid our awareness of so much that needs to be done, our life together feels like heaven on earth. I am incredibly grateful!
Sophia Osuna - Palestine Justice Organizer Intern
I am grateful to the On Earth Peace community for welcoming me into their family this year. I feel so blessed to be part of such an incredible group that does such amazing work. I have loved moderating the OEP-Palestine Learning Action Community, where we come together to research, educate, discuss, and act to create change for Palestinian liberation and rights. I am so privileged to be in a position where I can use my voice to raise awareness, guide others, and myself towards peace. I look forward to seeing all that we accomplish for Palestine.
Emma Gaydos - LGBTQ+ Justice Organizer Intern
I am grateful for the future we will have when we emerge from this pandemic: we will know not to take anything for granted and will live our lives to the fullest. But for now, there is a space for gratitude about the more quiet things; the things we haven't lost. I am grateful to be spending time with family (including 5 koi, 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 3 foster kittens) and, over Zoom, friends. I am thankful for the safe opportunities I have to play tennis, work at On Earth Peace, take online classes, and enjoy artistic and musical hobbies. I am grateful for those who wear masks and take precautions to keep everyone safe. I am thankful for those fighting for justice however they can.
Priscilla Weddle - Children’s Peace Formation Organizer Intern
I am thankful for my family. They drive me crazy sometimes, but they have really been there for me this year. Starting my graduate program, this internship, and getting a new job has been great, but I do get overwhelmed at times. My family makes sure that I take breaks and have fun instead of doing work all the time. Also, I am thankful for being able to see my nieces grow up. Seeing how fast they are growing up has made me slow down and realize how important being present is.
Marie Benner-Rhoades - Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Director
I am thankful for working remotely, adaptability, and creativity. 2020 has given us plenty of opportunities to practice these skills for justice & peace. While I’ve appreciated On Earth Peace’s remote office culture, this year I’ve been truly grateful for it. As a parent, I was thankful that my work life didn’t have to shift as my child’s school life did- that stability is an incredible gift. For our interns, having a program designed to support remote participation allowed us to double our capacity quickly as colleges moved online and students lost their campus employment. I am so thankful for the interns that have become a part of OEP in the past year. Along with OEP interns Priscilla and Laura, we’ve been able to give new life to our work with children and youth. The Children’s Read Aloud program allows us to share books with a wide audience about peace & justice as well as lesson plans. I’m especially thankful for our child readers! The creativity that we see coming from youth groups engaging their communities for racial, migrant, and gender justice is truly inspiring. I look forward to working with our grantees in the coming year!
Skylar Rella - OEP’s Gender Justice Organizer Intern
I am very thankful for everyone who is a part of OEP, and for the opportunity to have been a part of the team these many months! It has been a joy to witness the unique and creative ways in which each person takes on their role, both individually and in collaboration. I’ve learned so much and am still always learning from our webinars, group discussions, and one-to-one conversations, as well as the variety of posts in each LAC. I want to extend a warm thank you to the folx of OEP for consistently and continuously sharing both knowledge and kindness, within our community and beyond.
Matt Guynn - On Earth Peace's Director of Church and Community Organizing
I'm thankful for gardening together with neighbors this year; for the support my family has received from our close community as we parent in the midst of the COVID pandemic; and for the Beloved Community that has formed through our Kingian Nonviolence leadership programs this year, especially the 2019-2020 KNV Deep Dive and the fall 2020 Level One Certification program.
Thank you so much for being a part of the OEP community, have a very merry Thanksgiving, and be safe this season!