Australien: Jo Vallentine

We did the lovely elm dance about gratitude, sending healing energy to a place or to people to cut through the violence. In no time the atmosphere shifted, the hostile energy just evaporated.

— Jo Vallentine

Jo Vallentine is a Quaker, peace activist, and social justice advocate who made history in 1984 when she was elected to the Australian Senate as the world’s first single-issue peace politician. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades at grassroots, national, and international levels, via People for Nuclear Disarmament, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia, the Alternatives to Violence Project, the Greens (WA), and Abolition 2000 (UN) to put these issues onto the political agenda. She has two daughters.

Jo Vallentine has become the public face of political peace activism in Australia. She is much admired in her local, regional, and national communities, and is known especially for her persistence and tenacity. Her work is characterized by a commitment to non-violence; by a commitment to "holy obedience" to the call of direct action lobbying; and by a commitment to community outreach via education in non-violent conflict resolution processes. She has been arrested five times during non-violent direct action protests. She is an optimist, and was inspired by the events of 14/15 February 2003, when 30 million people around the world took to the streets to protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the United States. She has great faith in people power. Jo is in awe of the natural world and deeply respectful of the wisdom of other beings. She is driven by a responsibility to act on behalf of two voiceless groups: the other-than-human, and future beings. She envisions a future where, with a positive shift of consciousness, humans will be able to manifest spontaneous right actions through reflection on our past and present interactions with the natural world and all living things. In such a future humans will have evolved to the point where they can act like a flock of geese in flight – moving intuitively, harmoniously and in perfect formation towards a positively imagined future time and place. Jo is sustained by her Quaker faith, by the love and support of her fellow travellers – family, activists, communities – and by a daily ritual expressing gratitude to life and love.

People for Nuclear Disarmament (PND) Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) Alternatives to Violence (AVP)