by Aaron Voldman, Executive Director, The Student Peace Alliance

Dear Friends,

On MLK Day we launched a petition for bi-partisan seating at the State of the Union Address (see below & here). Throughout the last week momentum has built in support of the idea. The Hill has been aflutter with talk of “dates” to the Speech, and 60 Senators have already agreed to join the effort. On Sunday talk shows pundits consistently highlighted the new seating chart.

1,500 people have signed our petition calling for Bi-Partisan State of the Union seating, generating letters to all their Members of Congress. Can you help us reach 2,500? Let’s keep up the momentum, and encourage every member of Congress to embrace collaboration and cooperation.

Haven’t signed? Click here to sign and share with your friends.

Signed already? Ask 5 friends on Facebook, Twitter, or through email to sign the petition at unifycongress.org.

Inspired to embrace bi-partisanship in your community, and Be the Change? Host a “State of the Unity Party” in your community to bring together Democrats and Republicans to watch the State of the Union tomorrow. Learn about and register your action here: www.StateOfTheUnity.com.

Deep gratitude for all you do,

-Aaron

PS: Remember our Letter to the Editor action? A few of our letters got published. Check them out:

The Student Peace Alliance
P.O. Box 27601 | Washington, District of Columbia 20038 | Tel 202-296-1187
www.studentpeacealliance.org

Subscribe: to our emails here.
For General Inquiries, email spa@thepeacealliance.org



Student Peace Alliance

Modeling Civility: Bi-partisan State of the Union Seating

Sign the Petition at change.org

Dear Supporter,

The charade of the State of the Union, a pep rally for half the room and a protest for the other, has always seemed off to me. I ask myself: “Is this really the message that Congress wants to send to the public — and to young people like me — about how our democracy ought to operate?”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.”

Since the Tucson shooting, something extraordinary is beginning to stir in the American public, a renewed commitment to civility and collaboration that would probably make MLK proud. For decades the State of the Union has depicted a divided America: Republicans sitting on one side, Democrats on the other. In Washington, momentum is building to mix seating amongst Democrats and Republicans at the State of the Union.

“Sign here to urge your Representative and Senators to unitedly sit together during the State of the Union address, as a symbolic gesture for a renewed civility and affirmation of our shared humanity.”

Two Senators typically seen on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, Senator Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Schumer (D-NY), have already stepped up, agreeing to sit together during the State of the Union. The bi-partisan seating idea, championed by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (I-AK), is gaining incredible momentum. Already two dozen Members of Congress have signed on.

Will your Representative and Senators cross the aisle for this important symbol of bi-partisanship? Write to them here and ask your friends to do the same.

Forty years after Dr. King’s death, we are still in great need of leadership grounded in King’s love-centered, nonviolent ethos. We need a sense of shared responsibility, an affirmation that we are indeed our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

MLK Day reminds us of the power of nonviolence, of what’s possible when we recognize the immense potential of love in our brothers and sisters. Through the power of nonviolence Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement clearly painted the challenges and injustices before us, and lead us towards an America that more resembled the “Beloved Community.”

Members of Congress sitting together as they listen to a speech is a small step. But particularly at this time, it is an important one, another step towards Congress acting as a functional partner while we work together to secure sustainable peace.

Thank you for your continued support,

-Aaron Voldman
Student Peace Alliance Executive Director




Ask Republicans and Democrats to Sit Together At the State of the Union Address

Targeting: The U.S. Senate and The U.S. House of Representatives
Started by: The Peace Alliance

Has the charade of the State of the Union, a pep rally for half of Congress and a protest for the other half, always seemed off to you?  Like the spectacle alone suggested that the “state of the union” was continually divided?  It has to us.

Members of Congress, for decades, have sat according to their political party.  But this year Members are crossing the aisle in a symbolic gesture towards a more civil way of governing.

Sign the petition to urge your Representative and Senators to bridge the partisan divide by sitting together, Democrats side-by-side Republicans, at the State of the Union address. As Senator Udall wrote,  “It is important to show the nation that the most powerful deliberative bodies in the world can debate our differences with respect, honor and civility. We believe that it is not only possible, but that it is something that nearly all members of Congress truly desire. To that end, we suggest setting a small, but important, new tradition in American politics.”

Petition Text:

Sit Together At the State of the Union

At the State of the Union Address please join your fellow Senators and Representatives by crossing the aisle and sitting side-by-side a member of the other political party.

As Senator Mark Udall outlined in his Letter to Congressional Leadership Regarding Bipartisan Seating at the State of the Union Address: “Partisan seating arrangements at State of the Union addresses serve to symbolize division instead of the common challenges we face in securing a strong future for the United States … The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room – while the other side sits – is unbecoming of a serious institution. And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two… On the night of the State of the Union Address, we are asking others to join us – House and Senate members from both parties – to cross the aisle and sit together. We hope that as the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans will reflect the interspersed character of America itself. ”

Most Americans don’t care about your party affiliation. But we do expect that you will share our sense of responsibility to get things done, for you to join with us in setting a respectful tone as we make critical decisions. Please consider publicly co-signing Senator Udall’s letter, and joining leadership from both political parties in crossing the aisle at the State of the Union Address.

At the State of the Union Address please join your fellow Senators and Representatives by crossing the aisle and sitting side-by-side a member of the other political party.

As Senator Mark Udall outlined in his Letter to Congressional Leadership Regarding Bipartisan Seating at the State of the Union Address: “Partisan seating arrangements at State of the Union addresses serve to symbolize division instead of the common challenges we face in securing a strong future for the United States … The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room – while the other side sits – is unbecoming of a serious institution. And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two… On the night of the State of the Union Address, we are asking others to join us – House and Senate members from both parties – to cross the aisle and sit together. We hope that as the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans will reflect the interspersed character of America itself. ”

Most Americans don’t care about your party affiliation. But we do expect that you will share our sense of responsibility to get things done, for you to join with us in setting a respectful tone as we make critical decisions. Please consider publicly co-signing Senator Udall’s letter, and joining leadership from both political parties in crossing the aisle at the State of the Union Address.




The Peace Alliance link: Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace link: Peace Jam Website


The Student Peace Alliance
P.O. Box 27601 | Washington, District of Columbia 20038 | Tel 202-296-1187
www.studentpeacealliance.org



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