Kali Akuno Given the 2023 Gandhi Peace Award
by Laura Schleifer, Program Director, PEP
Over the years, Promoting Enduring Peace has realized that creating enduring peace requires social justice. Decades ago, the Board voted to give the peace award to Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Daniel Ellsberg, and recent recipients, including the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement founder Omar Barghouti and peace activist Kathy Kelly.
Today, we have realized that not only does peace require justice, but the time for waiting for those in power to provide that justice has passed. It is time for people to create and implement ways of addressing the current social, economic and ecological crises ourselves. We need strategies that put the power directly into people’s hands–especially those most severely impacted, disenfranchised and disempowered.
In recognition of that paradigm shift, this year’s Gandhi Peace Award recipient has been chosen for creating an innovative way of addressing these issues through collective action on the local level combined with a broader long-term strategy for regional, national, and global change. This year, Promoting Enduring Peace gave its Gandhi Peace Award to Kali Akuno and Cooperation Jackson.
In Kali Akuno and Cooperation Jackson, we have found a community of activists who exemplify our organization’s mission of creating, “peace on earth, peace with earth.” Kali and his fellow members of Cooperation Jackson are creating a model for how the rest of us might be able to achieve that goal by transforming our communities on the local level and then linking them together to create a new system that provides for human and ecological needs, and also recognizes the interdependence between the two.
Based in Jackson, Mississippi, one of the nation’s poorest cities, Cooperation Jackson is a Black-led semi-autonomous community with a visionary “Jackson-Kush Plan” to build Black autonomy throughout the U.S. South and eventually challenge and replace the current political and economic systems with a new system rooted in mutual aid, food sovereignty, community care, ecological regeneration, collective self-governance, land reclamation, community-controlled production, and cooperative and solidarity economics through its People’s Network for Land and Liberation.
Read the article in its entirety at https://newpol.org/kali-akuno-to-get-2023-peace-award