We are sometimes asked how to get involved in the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center, or how to become a member.
It’s simple. You just show up. Our organization is not set up the way most other groups are.
This was discussed early on, and it was felt that we would be wasting time and energy to keep track of who is, or is not, a member, sending out reminders about dues, etcetera. That sort of club mentality is vain and needless. We decided our efforts are better spent working on things that are meaningful.
Instead, Plowshare is organized on a practical basis. That is, your connection with us will be however you want… If you want to be very active, be very active. If you want to be less active, be less active. Sometimes people are very active and at other times, much less so. People come and go (and often come back when their lives are less hectic, or some social issue moves them).
In short, you’re automatically a part of Plowshare if you want to be. And there’s never any dues for membership. If you ever want to make a contribution towards expenses (if and when you can), it’s appreciated, but it’s never expected.
Here’s Gary Sandman’s experience on this topic, paraphrased. (He’s the Director of Plowshare Peace and Justice Center):
If you might be interested in working with Plowshare, then give us a call, and we’ll talk. We can speak about what is possible. We can also give you an overview of our current projects.
You may even become interested in joining the board, which we would welcome! We are a volunteer organization, so we will definitely appreciate the help on whatever you feel led to work on. To join the board, you would first attend a couple of board meetings to see if we are mostly in tune with each other. (We usually hold them on Zoom. Also, we recommend you read the Plowshare mission statement at the end of this page.) As a 501(c)3 organization, Plowshare does need board members, so if you do join the board you will be expected to attend the monthly meetings when possible, and to serve on at least one committee you are interested in (or as a coordinator for some program or initiative). Know that being on the board is on a practical basis, that is, some board members are very active, some much less so. All levels of activity are valued.
If you can’t, or don’t want to attend a board meeting, that’s okay, too. We still want your help and can discuss your involvement via phone or email. Also, many Plowshare members/participants have no interest in ever attending board meetings, much less being on the board, and just show up to the things they’re interested in, for example, marches or vigils. This works, too, since every event or program we host is open to everyone.
Plowshare operates on a committee or a coordinator basis. They are autonomous, that is, the board doesn’t tell them what to do. We ask them not to spend money without asking us first, and not to make statements or do something (major) on Plowshare’s behalf without running it by the board first. So, in general, people work as they see fit on the causes they care most about.
Committees have risen up from heartfelt concerns. That is, someone sees a need, like holding peace vigils or distributing alternative newspapers; then they approach the Plowshare board to see about it being taken as a project; and then, when approved, they run with it. We are always open to new projects – or even revival of old ones. (Personally, I would like to see our Truth-in-Recruitment Committee going again.)
Here are several of our current committees: Vigils, Programs, Death Penalty, Carpooling, Lobbying, Outreach and more… For additional information, visit: Committees and Coordinators (which has links to details about the individual groups).
How Things Are Paid For
As noted earlier, like most charitable endeavors, Plowshare depends on individuals and organizations to support us. Some contribute occasionally, others pledge monthly, quarterly, biannually, or yearly. We also have a few other small income streams. Everything is deeply appreciated. For more details, see our finance committee link.
Prayers and Good Thoughts
Lastly, I believe the spirit wheel moves when prayers and good thoughts are sent our way. Some people do this for us, and it’s important!
So, very personally put, there are many ways to get involved in Plowshare Peace and Justice Center. Want to do more than feel bad after you listen to the news? Check us out!
Plowshare Peace Center is committed to the creation of a just world peace by connecting with our local community. We are peace facilitators and social justice advocates, who nurture educational opportunities that engage and inspire actions for a culture of peace.
Gary Sandman, Director
Plowshare Peace and Justice
Office: 214 Summit Way, Roanoke, VA 24014
Mail: PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015
Facebook: Plowshare Peace & Justice Center