In this edition of Press Play we interviewed Sandra DeBella Bodley RN EdD, a retired Nursing Professor from Sonoma State University and a Member of Peaceful Tomorrows for the last fifteen years. Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace.
I hope Peaceful Tomorrows continues to be the voice of reason and concern in our society and continues to join with others who do not see war as a meaningful answer to our world communities' problems. I hope we can continue to support respect for others rather than trying to "bully" others by threat of military might.
Sandra DeBella Bodley,
member of Peaceful Tomorrows
NYXT: How did Peaceful Tomorrows come into existence?
Sandra DeBella Bodley: If you haven't read September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: Turning our Grief into Action for Peace by David Potori, I highly recommend this book. It gives a very good picture of how Peaceful Tomorrows came into existence in February of 2002. Basically a number of individuals and families did not want our response to the 911 attacks to be attacks on another country. We saw that this wasn't a Nation attacking us rather it was people (a terrorist group) who hated us for what we stood for.
NYXT: What societal problems are you trying to solve nowadays?
SDB: Now Peaceful tomorrows has a huge task of addressing the strong anti-Muslim hatred in this country. We also can say clearly that two wars after 9/11 have not made this world safer or further any understanding of the Muslim world and the Western world, for wars do not bring people together.
NYXT: Which communities do you support and work with?
SDB: Peaceful Tomorrows works with many other organizations to support peace and understanding, to avoid prejudice and hate of other cultures, church groups, civic groups and nonprofits.
NYXT: What are some of Peaceful Tomorrows’ recent accomplishments?
SDB: My brother-in-law Derril Bodley, with a group of people who did not want wars to be the result of 9/11, formed Peaceful Tomorrows in February of 2002. My husband and I felt the same and were deeply concerned about how our country would respond to the attack. We hoped that our government would look at some of our policies that had given rise to such hate. I have made retreats with Peaceful Tomorrows, done presentations at high schools and universities and responded to several students who were doing assignments related to Peaceful Tomorrows. I support the organization financially in a limited way and stay in contact with members that I know and support their efforts. I'm very proud of the members trying to close Guantanamo and also the members dealing with the strong anti Muslim feelings in our country. I think given the present anti-immigration and homophobic attitudes that are expressed by this administration, Peaceful Tomorrows has its work cut out for it. The idea of welcoming the "other", caring for the "stranger" and trying to understanding different world views is not displayed by our current government officials. So it must come from our citizens.
Andrea Blanc remembers her husband, Bob, who died in a 9/11 plane crash,
and how non-violence and Peaceful Tomorrows became a huge importance in her life.
NYXT: What are Peaceful Tomorrows’ main challenges?
SDB: I was transformed by 9/11; losing my niece who was only 20 at the time in a national disaster was surreal. And watching my country's response deepened the pain of my loss. I believe all those on Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville were heroes trying to take the plane back once they had enough information to know this wasn't a "normal hijacking". But they were not warriors, not the first warriors in the war on terror that the media and government tried to portray. They were American citizens trying to get home to their loved ones. So much of my country's response to everything is WAR. War on poverty, war on drugs, it is totally the wrong image... we desperately need understanding, compassion if we are going to solve our societal problems. I'm not Pollyanna, I know we have enemies who want to destroy our democracy and we must defend against this, but how we defend ourselves may make a great deal of difference in the outcome. I don't think 18 years of war in Afghanistan and the false war in Iraq have created more safety in the world and certainly not more understanding.
NYXT: What do you ultimately want to see the organization become in the future?
SDB: I hope Peaceful Tomorrows continues to be the voice of reason and concern in our society and continues to join with others who do not see war as a meaningful answer to our world communities' problems. I hope we can continue to support respect for others rather than trying to "bully" others by threat of military might.
I'm very proud of my brother-in-law’s legacy in Peaceful Tomorrows. I still miss him (he died in 2005 in an accident) and my niece a great deal.
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