Sunday, September 21, 2008

Update on the Campaign to Nominate Pete Seeger for the Nobel Peace Prize

From the NobelPrize4Pete newsletter, 9/21/08:

Please check out our new web site and use the resources, pictures, sponsors and stories to help promote this campaign. You can also sign the petition by clicking on the "Sign the Petition" link. Who would have thought when I started this petition just about one year ago that it would have been so heartily supported?

By this time you probably want to hear news of the progress of this campaign. The bad news is that our petition was off line due to some sort of "technical difficulties" for almost a month, and I'm sure we lost some signers and confused many people. The good news is that it is up again and has nearly twenty thousand (20,000) signatures!

Now we need your help. Our most urgent goal is to get Pete nominated before February 2009, the Nobel committee's deadline. Do you know anyone who works at an organization that might be officially able to nominate Pete? In order to do this, we urgently need help finding a person or agency that will pledge to nominate him. The American Friends Service Committee was interested but gave us no assurance that they would present his name. Qualified nominators include some elected representatives, university professors, and previous Nobel Peace Prizewinners. Please help us find a nominator! Spreading the word is critical.

BREAKING NEWS: Representative Barbara Lee's office has agreed to consider our recommendations to nominate Pete. Please call and write Maha (, 1301 Clay St., Suite 1000-N, Oakland, CA 94612; 510763-0370 or 202-225-2661.

This campaign is not about making an icon of Pete Seeger, it is significant on a much larger scale: 1) Pete is a life-long activist for peace and social justice, someone we can strive to emulate; 2) As a cultural worker, he exemplifies the under-represented strata of the arts, showing that the arts can be more than a medium of entertainment but one of enlightenment, compassion, participation and joy; 3) This is the first time a candidate has been chosen and supported by a grassroots movement, we are taking charge of our own history, heroes and heroines. Those who tell their stories on the petition convey a feeling of family warmth. They are grateful they have a chance to say thank you to Pete during his lifetime, just as many of us wish we had had with our own fathers. They repeat Pete's one-liners just like uncle Joe's old jokes, such as his saying that "not everybody can talk at the same time but everybody can sing at the same time." He never did a concert or demonstration without teaching everybody to sing, and in harmony! "My voice is shot now," he says, "but I don't have to sing anymore; I just wave my banjo neck at the audience and they do the singing."

People have asked why I feel so passionately about proposing Pete for this international accolade. I refer to another aphorism of Pete's when he speaks about what he calls the "teaspoon brigade." Working for peace, he says, is like adding sand to a basket on one side of a giant scale, trying to tip it our way despite enormous weight on the opposite side; but if we get enough people adding sand with teaspoons, even if everybody else is laughing at us, we can tip the scales. This is my teaspoonful!

Now we need everybody's help to make this nomination a reality.

Eleanor Walden
Coordinator, Committee to Nominate Pete Seeger for Nobel Peace Prize

(at the website,, you can add your name to the petition, order bumper stickers, and also find a flyer you can print out and post at work, at the local coffeehouse, etc.)


1993 - The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

1994 - National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts

1994 - Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Honor

1996 - Harvard Arts Medal

1996 - Induction into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame

1997 - Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for his record "Pete".

1999 - The Felix Varela Medal, Cuba's highest honor for "his humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism."

2007 - The Schneider Family Book Award for his children's picture book "The Deaf Musicians."

2007 - to present - Nominated by email petition for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Elected Officials

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.,
Michigan, Ph: 202-225-5126

The Honorable Barbara Lee,
California, Ph: 202-225-2661
or 510-763-0370

The Honorable John Lewis,
Georgia, Ph: 202-225-3801

The Honorable Jesse Jackson, Jr.,
Illinois, Ph: 202-225-0773

The Honorable Barack Obama,
Illinois, Ph: 202-224-2854

The Honorable Charles B. Rangel,
New York, Ph: 202-225-4365

The Honorable Maxine Waters,
California, Ph: 202-225-2201

The Honorable Harry Reid,
Nevada, Ph: 202-224-3542

The Honorable John Hall,
New York, (Pete's district),
Ph: (845) 291-4100,Fax: (845) 291-4164

The Honorable Bernie Sanders,
Vermont, 1-802-862-0697,

Ron Dellums - Oakland Mayor
510-238-3141, FAX 510-238-4731

Kriss Worthington - Berkeley City Council,

Steve Gold - Mayor of Beacon, NY (Pete's town):

Contact Organizations for Former Nobel Winners

American Friends Service committee,
Phone: (215) 241-7000 Fax: (215) 241-7275

Jimmy Carter/Carter Center:
Ph (404) 420-5100 or (800) 550-3560

Al Gore:
2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate changes and lay the foundation for counteracting it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation,

Nelson Mandela Foundation,

Jody Williams,
1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


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