Petition to Excellency Secretary General, United Nations Organization New York, USA
Establish a Universal Center for Dialogue in Lebanon & Designate Lebanon Land for Dialogue
This petition to establish a UN universal center for dialogue in Lebanon and to designate Lebanon as a land for dialogue Amon civilizations and cultures is addressed to His/Her Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization in New York, USA. This is a civil society effort. In his address to the UN General Assembly on the Dialogue between Cultures and Religions (Item 45: Culture and Peace) on November 12th, 2008, His Excellency, President Michel Sleiman, stated that “the philosophy of the Lebanese entity is based on dialogue, reconciliation and coexistence”. He declared that the Lebanese people would like Lebanon to “become an international center for the management of the dialogue of civilizations and cultures and consequently a global laboratory for that inter-entity dialogue”.St. Pope John Paul II, Ayatollah Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddine, the Muslim-Christian Summit at the Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon and hundreds of thousands of people in Lebanon and around the world, we believe that Lebanon is more than a country it is a message of freedom, a model of pluralism and a special space for dialogue and coexistence of different cultures, ethnicities and religions. We also believe that Lebanon’s vocation is to embody this message and to strive to live it and to promote it despite all the challenges and the obstacles faced. We started this petition to capitalize on the call by former President Michel Suleiman to the UN to designate Lebanon as “an international center for the management of the dialogue of civilizations and cultures and consequently a global laboratory for that inter-entity dialogue”. Your signature will make a difference because the world needs a place where dialogue takes place not on the macro levels but also on the micro levels – on the levels of people in their daily lives as it is the situation in Lebanon. Your signature will give people hope and strengthen their resilience not only in the Middle East, but also around the world for an alternative to disputes, conflicts and wars. The Middle East needs Lebanon to be this space and your signature will make it happen. The Initiative is Notre Dame University project using civil society track to achieve its objectives. It is supported by Lebanese people, friends of Lebanon, people of good will, civil society advocates and organizations who believe that Lebanon is a land of dialogue and needs to be internationally acknowledged as such by the UN and its member states. My name is Dr. Guita Hourani. I am the Director of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center, member of the Initiative's Steering Committee and the Petition Campaign Coordinator of the Initiative. On behalf of Notre Dame University, the Steering Committee, the Executing Director and the Advisory Committee of the Initiative thank you in advance for supporting this initiative and for signing the petition. "Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence." Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846 – 1912).
Petition to Mayor Ken Moore, City Of Franklin, Board of Aldermen
Remove the Confederate Monument in Franklin, Tennessee
We hereby request that the monument to Confederate soldiers that stands in Franklin, TN be removed by the city in a show of respect for the African American residents of our community and a sign of the social progress that has been made in the past 150 years. We believe that this monument no longer represents the ideals and values that we uphold as a community. Remembrance is important, but a monument celebrating those who would hold others in bondage is inappropriate. Franklin, TN has many things to offer as a community and is a tourist destination for people from all over the world. We find this statue, and its placement at the center of our town, to be an embarrassment. Surely there is a more appropriate person or group of people we could honor than those that would choose to fight a war so that slavery of human beings could continue to be a societal norm. Perhaps a monument to Ben Franklin, for whom our town is named, would be a fitting replacement. Let us show the world that racism and hate have no place in our beautiful town. We have made considerable progress since the Civil War but there is still work to be done and this would be a strong symbol of the desire for racial reconciliation. Removing this statue would show the world that we hold dearly the American values of freedom and justice for all.
Petition to Forgive.Us
Forgiveness Will Heal Our Nation
Our mission is to catalyze forgiveness and reconciliation across racial lines in America. The societal relational state of Americans of European descent and Americans of African descent is at a crossroads. In the last year we have experienced a spate of police shootings of unarmed individuals, fatalities that have caused rioting, and a mass shooting in a house of worship. Behind a veil of political correctness, we pretend that segregation no longer describes the landscape of churches, neighborhoods, and nation. How long will we let this wound fester and divide us at present as well as divide our future that has yet to be written? In my heart I realize the best of us all has yet to be seen. It has been said that as it goes in the heart, so it goes in the Nation. It’s easy to point fingers at the government, or other segments of society and blame them for the present state of segregation, bias, and discrimination. However, if the country is segregated along racial lines, catalyzing change in the nation starts with bringing change in our own hearts. Protesting injustice is easy. It's much more difficult to confront the pride, un-forgiveness and hatred in our own hearts. We plan to invite people to sign the Declaration of Forgiveness (“The Declaration”) as a manner of confronting the injustice in our own hearts and society. Ideally, a local organization or church would partner with another church of different racial disposition (where applicable) in their city to jointly host a signing for individuals to participate in. We are asking for a move of God that will lead to a move of racial reconciliation in America. Declaration of Forgiveness: Over the course of the history of this country it has become clear we have overcome a bevy of insurmountable odds. By way of Europe, explorers arrived and displaced many Native landowners. Africans were forcibly led into the New World to serve the ambitious aims of our founding fathers. The despotism suffered on behalf of England was violently confronted. We have a history riddled with wars on scales large and small with a death toll reaching the skies. In the midst of our nation building we have lost sight of the humanity that connects us to the past, present and future. Yet we are still here with a tremendous capacity as a people to feel empathy for each other, and act in compassion. We hold that there is a fabric connecting the heart and soul of every man woman and child. We are distinctly created for a great purpose that grows in quality, equity and clarity when shared with all people. We as a people have come to a crossroad littered with contested police shootings of unarmed black men, deeply ingrained segregation, guilt, demonized government and offense that bubbles at the surface of all discussions concerning race. Our resignation to division confirms the lie that our best days are long gone. Yet we are here and the Dream will be awakened. The love and brotherhood as declared by one man one sunny August day, is more accessible than ever and hope cannot wane in the face of vibrant belief. Now is the time to let go of any disdain, bitterness, offense, indifference and apathy that exist between the races. This action is necessary to let the rain of right-standing produce the fruit of a healthy nation; Love, compassion, peace, empathy and hope for a greater quality of life for ALL. Although many have made admirable efforts through protests, policy reform, revolutionary movements, education, philanthropy and community programs, we are still here. We, Therefore as representatives of the richly diverse United States of America, by the grace of a generous and loving God, declare adherence to a new state of governance in which our hearts are awake to the plight, miscasting and misfortune of our neighbors. We offer Forgiveness to those who have wronged us whether by perception or truth. We declare: Let Love reign in this great land.