East Point Peace Academy envisions a world in which historic conflict is fully reconciled and new conflict arises solely as an opportunity for deeper growth.
East Point Peace Academy works to build a powerful, nonviolent army of peace warriors: leaders and active participants invested in creating, supporting and nurturing the Beloved Community.
Our Core Commitments
1) Fierce Vulnerability
We believe that vulnerability is our strength—made evident as a lived combination of love, truthfulness, and courage.
We seek to show up authentically in our work and in our lives, standing for what we believe in, with strength and firm resolve, and with openness, love, and respect for all we encounter. We endeavor to express this love for all without timidity, and without deference to those who would exploit and demean us and others. We are part of a beautifully complex movement ecosystem. We seek to bring our unique gifts into the struggle for wholeness and restoration without casting judgment on those who see things differently or who show up in different ways.
We seek to bring our full selves into this work, and recognize that doing so requires us to excavate the dark and forgotten places in our hearts, to heal from past and present traumas, and to embrace restoration and reconciliatory practices with one another. We make space for our heartbreak and anger, uncertainty and regret. For our joy, wonder, laughter, tenderness, grief and praise.
The phrase “fierce vulnerability” represents an umbrella, encompassing the core teachings and practices of the great nonviolence traditions upon which our organization has been built, and inclusive of each of the commitments that follow.
Our work is rooted in the belief that the Beloved Community and collective liberation represent the framework for both the present and the future.
We work to build bridges across demographics, geography, experiences, and compartmentalized “issues”, acknowledging that our own liberation is dependent on the liberation of all people - not only of those we agree with - and with the liberation and wellness of the more than human world.
Violence hurts us all, and we seek to lovingly hold one another accountable to the ways we are implicated in causing personal harm, systemic exploitation, and ecological devastation. We center the building of trust and love between us, knowing that ultimately the strength of our relationships with one another will be the measure of our contribution to the movement for justice and wholeness.
We observe that authentic reconciliation across lines of division requires concrete expressions of restitution, forgiveness, and accountability. We are committed to these key practices, and to diligently working to reconcile conflicts both internal and external to our group. We envision a socially just society upheld by the pillars of equality, equity, and reciprocity.
Rather than placing our hope in five-year plans and rigid organizational structures, we turn instead to the magic of emergence, which we believe can take us far beyond where analysis and strategy alone can ever go.
Inspired by ancestral wisdom and direct observation of nature’s patterns and systems, we have come to trust life’s capacity, when given the chance, to resolve incredibly complex problems and to thrive. Life is diverse resilient, experimental, iterative, spontaneous, dynamic, nonlinear and beautiful beyond description. We seek to emulate all of this to the best of our imperfect, limited abilities.
We recognize the great value of analysis and carefully wrought strategy, and we can see that our attempts to analyze, solve, and control often reflect the system of domination that we struggle to dismantle, heal from, and replace. We have come to accept that ultimately we do not know the best way forward. We are committed to making on our best guesses and following through on them through creative experimentation. We are committed to following life’s lead in discerning our way forward.
4) Holistic & Integral
Injustice and oppression show up in a vast variety of interwoven forms. We recognize, therefore, that our analysis and our response must be comprehensive in nature.
We work to address conflict at each level of society, from the internal and interpersonal to the community, societal, and global levels. Our work is grounded by the personal and collective practice of integral nonviolence, which encompasses three interlinked areas of experimentation and development: self-transformation (aligning principle and practice at the personal level), constructive program (building a just, life-sustaining society within the shell of the existing society), and satyagraha (bold, love-based, embodied resistance to the structures and forces of separation and domination).
We believe that the work of our organization belongs to our community, and so we endeavor to maintain full transparency to the greatest extent possible.
This commitment extends to a variety of levels, from our internal processes to our decision making to our finances. What’s more, we bring our practice of transparency into the realms of community organizing and direct action. As practitioners of fierce vulnerability we prioritize a culture of transparency over a culture of security. We feel called to leave our faces and hearts exposed, while respecting those who have found other practices to be necessary for themselves.
We strive to support each person in our organization to live their heart’s calling and activate their gifts to the fullest extent possible.
We endeavor to recognize and benefit from the wisdom and experience of everyone in the organization, and to share our collective power in a way that reflects our Beloved Community/collective liberation vision. Toward this end, we commit to dismantling barriers that stand in the way of individuals discovering, embracing, and living their purpose, especially those experiencing marginalization.
We experience that generosity is infectious and healing. We seek to practice it in all of our relationships.
Life is beautifully interconnected and interdependent, and we observe that human beings delight in being helpful and generous to one another. We encourage and celebrate generosity in an array of gift-giving forms. Our time, energy, inspiration and financial resources are put in service to the uplift of all, without a transactional expectation of a “return on our investment.” We are committed to growing our practice of gift economics, recognizing that the current prevailing economic system is not sustainable or life-affirming. An economy based on generosity rather than winner-loser competition will hasten the transformation of the dominant culture of separation.
Human civilization has been investing in violence and injustice for millennia, and we have been resisting and healing for just as long. Our vision of building Beloved Community signals a multi-generational struggle.
We aim to follow a strategic arc that spans generations, not election cycles or nonprofit strategic plans. In this era of climate emergency and the interwoven social crises that gave rise to it, we are painfully aware that the coming few years are of indescribable significance in terms of the form this intergenerational work will take.
We see ourselves as a bridge between our ancestors and our descendants, tasked with transforming the intergenerational trauma that has been passed down by leveraging the intergenerational wisdom that we also received. In order to pass down resiliency to the coming generations, we must collectively discover and live out answers to critical questions: What is enough? How do we establish equity? How do we heal our relationships with one another and with the earth?
9) Shugyo (disciplined practice)
We commit ourselves to a discipline of consistent practice and creative experimentation, and we cultivate our willingness to make and learn from our mistakes.
What we do and how we do it are most meaningful to us, not the eloquence of our written materials, our professed values, or our desired outcomes. We don’t know what will bring about a just world. We don’t know how we can best serve the restoration of balance and wellness on our planet. We commit ourselves, therefore, to disciplined, ongoing practice and experimentation, so we can strengthen our ability to sense and respond to what’s happening in our world, and so we can better understanding where our gifts intersect with the needs of our beautiful, interconnected planet. In this way we hope to be of more meaningful service to life.