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Dec. 30th, 2011 @ 12:19 pm A Project for Peace

Everything we need to know can be learned in a children's book (or from children's book authors). Last week, I blogged about the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the MSI, highlighting the lyrical quality of Seuss's plea for world peace. It seems so simple. You in your comfortable paradise and me in my house with tiny feet to warm and paws to wipe, joining together to create world peace. It seems so simple.

As Seuss says:

Please tell all men
That Peace is Good.
That’s all
That need be understood
In every world
In Your great sky.

(We understand.
Both You and I.)

So when Elizabeth Potter of Unity Productions e-mailed me to say, "Lowe's Home Improvement recently pulled its ads from the TLC show 'All-American Muslim' in response to an organization claiming the show 'falsely humanized Muslims in America,'" I got a little upset. To say the least. As Potter states, "This controversy has exposed more Islamophobia in America which falls directly in line with what the My Fellow American project is trying to prevent and overcome in America." 

We could say that all reality TV "falsely humanizes" people, can't we? Do all people from New Jersey have an obsession with hair gel and tanning? Do all overweight people yearn to leave their families in order to be on "The Biggest Loser"? Do all women strive to produce nearly a dozen children in order to have their own show? Do all wealthy couples divorce after just a few months? Clearly, we cannot form opinions about others based on "reality" shows. And why do we need a reality show to teach Americans that Muslims are normal everyday people? Muslims ARE normal people. It's time for us to realize this.

Mid December my children asked me if they could be Jewish.  I said sure, of course, they would just need to convert. My family is already omni-religious. My oldest is baptized Greek Orthodox, my youngest is baptized Methodist, and I'm baptized Lutheran, attending church in my heart and soul--not in a pew. I also read the Qur'an when I need to relax. It's the only book that I've found that is written in verse with words like the breaths we take. In fact, after hearing the plea of a children's editor at an SCBWI conference I created a story for a Muslim character in In Her Skin. Not only do we need more Muslim characters in children's books, but we need more awareness in general. Understanding breeds peace. And it starts with opening a book.

If you want to join the My Fellow American Project for peace, click here:  http://www.myfellowamerican.us/pledge#submitted .
Maybe we can all resolve to extend our arms out to Peace in the new year. It seems so simple, doesn't it?

Below you can make fun of me or agree with me...you choose.