Local Peacemakers Barbara Talley and Patricia Ann Talley to be Honored

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Local activist and peacemaker Barbara Talley and her daughter Patricia Ann Talley are being honored for their peacemaking work at an upcoming Hope United Methodist Church Women’s Day luncheon on April 18. Barbara Talley is being recognized for her work as the Director of the Detroit Renaissance Peace Center. And Patricia Ann Talley, also a member of Hope United Methodist Church, who lives in Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico, is being recognized at the luncheon for her peace work in Guerrero Mexico.

Barbara Talley was the founding Executive Director of the Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center, United Methodist Church. The Center provides leadership in Peace with Justice transformation, consulting, and training. Talley has developed a peace curriculum that covers interfaith dialogues, workshops and forums, mediation, conflict resolution and action to promote peace initiatives from local to international levels. She held this volunteer position for ten years.

Her peacemaking efforts include coordinating a peace mission to Liberia, West Africa, meeting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and conducting peace workshops for post-civil war teenagers.

She also headed a delegation to Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico yearly to participate in a Peace Celebration and helped her daughter, Patricia Talley lay the groundwork for the community to build a sustainable culture of peace with community leaders, build a peace pole monument and create an on-going peace education program.  In February, 2015, the peace work culminated with the Twin City becoming the world’s first “Certified” International City of Peace.

Peace, says Talley, is “where people co-exist, interact and work together for the advancement of humankind and its environment and respect diverse cultures and religions based upon God’s principles of love, reconciliation and forgiveness.”

Her book, “Pathways to Interfaith Dialogue: An Innovative Model for Peace And Community Building” based upon her six years’ experience as Facilitator for the Southfield Interfaith Clergy Group, helps other work toward that goal.

Talley’s local peacemaking efforts include founding the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. in 1986, and planning the first Southfield Peace Walk in the state, which continues as the largest in Michigan.

She was appointed by former Gov. James Blanchard to the Michigan Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Holiday Commission, chaired by the late Senator Jackie Vaughan, III.   In 1985, as an elected member of Southfield City Council, and received a letter from the Senator to make plans to celebrate the first Dr. MLK, Jr. National Holiday in 1986.

This year the Task Force celebrated its 30 year Peace Walk and year-long programs.  More than 2,000 community members of diverse faith and cultural backgrounds participated in this year’s Walk.  The organization also has year-long youth peacemaker, non-violence, education programs, scholarships, global diversity.

In 2011, a delegation from Ixtapa- Zihuantanejo, Mexico visited Southfield and a Dr. MLK, Jr Task Force delegation visited Mexico.  As a result, the MLK formed a global diversity outreach program. The Task Force received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council to research and create a 40 ft. traveling exhibit showing the similarities of the history of slavery and freedom in Michigan and Guerrero, Mexico. As a result a collaboration was formed between two Universities, WSU and the Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero, Zihuatanejo to exchange students and faculty.

Talley says that daughter Patricia was inspired, during a visit to the Peace Center in Southfield, to expand the peace activities to Mexico where she lived.

“In early 2011, while I visited Ixtapa, Zihuantanejo,” says Talley, “we both saw a need to bring together segments of the community who were isolated from one another – tourists, residents, indigenous people and government and to learn about the definition of peace, and how to have sustainable peacemaking activities.  It was thought that people living in other parts of the world viewed Mexico as a place of drugs and violence.  To dispel that view, the idea of showing that an area in Mexico was dedicated to building a culture of peace was needed.”

Mother and daughter first conducted a seminar in three languages with representatives of these diverse constituencies. The outcome was a definition of how a group could qualify to be recognized by the Peace Center as a Culture of Peace. Talley says that qualification is based on recognizing the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21st each year, building a peace pole, having a sustainable year-long plan for peacemaking and peacebuilding.

“We helped the group with all aspects of the requirements including raising funds for a large peace pole located in downtown Zihuatanejo with the name of the contributors at the base.  Each year since, the twin city has increased their activities to include a Peace Walk.  I have been involved and participated yearly in their activities and was instrumental and conducted an Interfaith Dialogue as an essential component for peacemaking in their international webinar in February 2015,” says Talley.

Patricia Ann Talley, also a member of Hope United Methodist Church, who lives in Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico, is being recognized at the luncheon for her peace work in Guerrero Mexico over the past five years beginning with the peace seminar. The municipal government of Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico has continued the efforts and the community now celebrates its recognition as an “International City of Peace,” joining a sisterhood of 100 other such recognized cities around the world and the first city in Latin America to have such distinction.

Patrcia Talley was invited and spoke before the NGO Committee of the United Nations on the subject of Peace in February, 2015.

Following that, the Education Peace Team of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the U.N. in collaboration with Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero, Zihuatanejo, and Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich signed an agreement to exchange students and faculty.

Barbara Talley has been recognized many times for her work, including being recognized  with  distinction  by  Mayor Fernando V. Silva for her work in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice and Equality Award;   The National Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business  and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.;– Drum Major for Justice Award for the Beloved Community, from the United Methodist  Church;  Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Award, Distinguished Warrior from Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan.