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About us

Nonviolence is a way of life

We are a group of committed individuals who care about a diverse set of issues of justice and peace. We are a blend of lifelong activists and new leaders with extensive experience in social ministry, justice, outreach and nonviolence. What unites us is our passion to stand in solidarity for social change and to teach others about active nonviolence, as a worldview, way of life, and a means of working toward that change. We collaborate with Campaign Nonviolence, Pace e Bene foundation, and activists from San Jose Peace and Justice Center, Metta Center fro Nonviolence, and the Diocese of San Jose. We are Joanna Thurmann, Lorin Peters, Monica Rising, George Stachnik, Stan Taylor, Andre Sosinski, Chris Katsura, Kim Vanderheiden, and Ashley Walker. 

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Joanna Thurmann

Joanna Thurmann bridges a successful 30-year career in technology with a deep commitment to social justice, especially those on the margins. Since 2007, she helped lead service and solidarity trips to Tijuana, Mexico. She ministers to the unhoused and teaches at the Institute for Leadership in Ministry. Joanna is an advanced lay leader in the Diocese of San Jose and has a Masters in Pastoral Ministries from Santa Clara University.

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Lorin Peters

Biography 

  • AB Physics, University of California, Berkeley 1965

  • Peace Corps, Thailand 1965-69

  • Married a Thai Catholic, chose to join her practice

  • Received a death threat 1968, which eventually led him to Gandhi,

  • And back to his father’s Mennonite roots

  • Taught physics at Bishop O’Dowd HS, Oakland, CA 1971–2001

  • Created and taught a course on war, peace and nonviolence 1972-2014

  • Still trying to save the United States 

  • Supporting the United Farm Workers 1970s

  • Working against nuclear weapons since 1972

  • Resisting war taxes since 1975

  • Studied nonviolence under Michael Nagler at UC Berkeley 2001-02

  • Began meditating September 11, 2001

  • Spent summers with Christian Peacemaker Teams, Palestine 2002-09

  • Teaches Gandhian nonviolence at the International Institute of Peace and Development Studies, Bangkok Thailand winters 2011-2019

  • Active with the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education,

  • And with Pax Christi Northern California

  • Steering committee forming a small UCP team to break a siege in Western Sahara

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Ashley Walker

Ashley Walker currently works at Works at Casa de Clara Catholic Worker.

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Monica Rising

Monica Rising started volunteering as an education advocate working at an inner-city school in Chicago and then later became a teacher in San Jose.  In 2005, she started an annual mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico to teach about poverty while helping others.  She has renovated and supported Casa de Clara Catholic Worker House, a shelter for the homeless and started a program to provide showers and services for the unhoused.  In 2016, she helped form the Gandhi Group to study nonviolence and promote safe Marches.

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Stan Taylor

Stan Taylor is an activist working for peace, nonviolence, and social justice. After 6 years in a Catholic seminary, he enlisted in the Navy. That began his journey to nonviolence and a rejection of war. He served as a co-coordinator for Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, later discovered Pax Christi, the Catholic peace and nonviolence movement, served on the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, and is a member of the Gandhi Team.

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Chris Katsura

Chris Katsura works in technology, sings, and serves as a peace ambassador.

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George Stachnik

George Stachnik (Geo) worked alongside wife Monica in Tijuana Ministry and other efforts for many years, but has taken a much more active role since his retirement from HP/marketing. Does music and youth catechism at St Julie's. The rock concerts that he attended in Lincoln Park in the 60s were formative entry points into activism around the time of Vietnam.

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Kim Vanderheiden

I explore the connection between justice and relationship through art, writing and community action. My visual art, including drawings, painting, & printmaking, is often a form of meditation or contemplative prayer. My writing includes articles, meditations, and prayers and often reflects on justice, connection, brokenness, and restoration. 

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Andre Sosinski

Andre Sosinski has served as peace ambassador liaison and is a glider pilot.

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