Declare July 17th National Peace Day

Declare July 17th National Peace Day

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Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation started this petition to President Barack Obama

Millions have been inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek. He left a legacy of hope and peace for our world. Today, our nation is divided in so many ways. But peace is a unifier. On July 17 – Mattie’s birthday – we want our country to celebrate peace, as a choice, together. The life and messages of Mattie J.T. Stepanek offer inspiration for doing so, and an achievable “pathways to peace” guide.

Who is Mattie J.T. Stepanek?
Jimmy Carter called Mattie J.T. Stepanek “the most remarkable person” he has ever known. Oprah Winfrey named him as one of her top three most memorable guests across her 25 years of programming. A congressional resolution was passed in his honor after he died during June, 2004 and a flag was flown over the US Capitol to honor his great contributions to society. Another congressional resolution was passed on July 17, 2014 to honor his 10 year peace legacy and the growing effort for the President to declare a National Peace Day. Members of the Catholic church are gathering information on his heroic virtues for a possible Cause for Canonization. All this, and more, in honor of a child who died just before his 14th birthday due to a rare neuromuscular disease, but who left a legacy that continues to grow and inspire people. A legacy of hope and peace, guided by a simple, clear, and achievable message rooted in personal choices.

What is the petition?
In a time of increasing division and unrest in our great nation, we are committed to peace, and commemorating Mattie’s peace mission and legacy by campaigning President Obama to declare July 17, his birthday, National Peace Day!

What is being asked of President Barack Obama?
We are requesting that President Barack Obama sign the proclamation request submitted by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and supported by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), State Senator Jennie Forehand (MD), numerous local politicians and national celebrities, and more than 8,000 citizens for a National Peace Day to be celebrated each year on July 17.

Why does a national peace day matter?
A national day designated for peace matters because peace matters! Our country is in desperate need of non-violent conflict resolution, anti-bullying programs, and simple kindness. Peace is possible – if we make peace something that matters to us and for others, and if we choose to reflect on how peace begins and grows, and then learn to respond and reach out with peace through deliberate attitudes and actions.

How is a national peace day different from the international one?
The mission of the International Day of Peace is to promote the absence of war and violence, even if only for a temporary humanitarian aid related ceasefire. The mission of the proposed National Peace Day is very different. Rather than “pause violence” this day would bring diverse individuals and communities together to “begin peace”- through both education and cerebration. Through understanding how peace begins with deliberate choices in attitude and action, it becomes a sustainable reality that grows across time.

Why is the day linked to Mattie J.T. Stepanek?
Mattie J.T. Stepanek is the late teen poet and peace activist who penned seven NY Times Bestselling books of poetry and essays, each filled with inspiration and information about hope and peace and purpose. Mattie took the abstract concept of peace and explained it in ways that make it understandable, desirable, and achievable. He offered a “Three Choices for Peace” template that can move peace from a possibility to a personal, community, and national reality. Mattie’s birthday is July 17.

Now, we need your voice, and support.
Please sign our petition for Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peace Day -- make peace your choice, and the news! And visit for information on how to support this campaign in your community!

NOTE: The video with this petition was created during 2014. We have since learned that the White House is more likely to proclaim National Peace Day than a day named after a particular citizen, so we removed Mattie's name (though kept the date on his birthday). Although the "Mattie Peace Day" language in the video has been changed, the rest of the video content is accurate, and relevant. 

For more information about Mattie, peace, and the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, and to join Mattie in a continued mission for peace, visit   Thank you!

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on!