A Look Back at Our 2023 Calendar: Proponents of Peace

Original artwork depicting two hand shaking on top of the globe with a banner reading Proponents of Peace

Vanguard Communications has long been inspired by courageous individuals of all backgrounds who have worked to make our world more equal, inclusive and just. Annually, our Communicator of the Month series showcases many individuals whose voices have made a lasting impact on our country.

In 2023, we recognized 12 Proponents of Peace who were dedicated to resolving conflict and envisioned a world without violence. Whether they advocated for civil education classes or found the common link between the civil rights and peace movements, the efforts of these activists mitigated hostile conditions in many of the world’s most divided countries — including our own. Their cooperative processes led to negotiation, reconciliation and growth — and are still teaching us how to connect back to our shared humanity, even in times of strife.

In case you missed one, below is a recap of all the blog posts that highlighted these inspiring people.

JANUARY

Original artwork depicting Marting Luther King Jr.

In January we fittingly showcased Martin Luther King Jr., who was one of America’s most prominent proponents of nonviolence in both word and deed. His many speeches, sermons, lectures and letters promoting peace are still studied, memorized, quoted and celebrated. Learn more about the life and achievements of this influential American civil rights leader and proponent of peace.

FEBRUARY

In February we featured W.E.B. Du Bois — a major international peace activist who opposed war and advocated for the disarmament of nuclear weapons across the globe. Throughout his life, Du Bois collaborated with labor unions and socialist-affiliated organizations worldwide to establish networks for peace and democracy. Learn more about how he exposed racist and militaristic policies within the U.S. government, making him an unpopular figure.

Original artwork honoring W.E.B Du Bois

MARCH

In March we spotlighted Concepción Picciotto, who held vigil in Lafayette Park outside the White House gates for 35 years. In her time as vigil keeper, Picciotto was neighbor to five U.S. presidents and witness to wars and military conflicts while protesting everything from nuclear weapons to government deception, gun control, homelessness, hunger and U.S. intervention in foreign wars. Learn more about the life and legacy of Picciotto.

APRIL

In April we showcased Fannie Fern Andrews, a diligent educator driven by her conviction for peace studies both nationally and internationally. Her devotion to education, combined with her pacifistic ideologies, helped to establish organizations that would teach the principles of international justice in all nations. Learn why she believed that an international bureau of education would promote understanding among nations.

MAY

In May we highlighted Japanese American human rights activist Marii Hasegawa. When atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and Hasegawa and her family were forcibly removed from their own home in California, Hasegawa began what would become her life’s work: advocating for peace and equality for all. Learn more about why she remains an inspiration to women around the world.

JUNE

In June we featured peace activist Samantha Smith. At the age of 10, Smith wrote a letter to the newly appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov. To her surprise, Andropov responded and invited her to visit the Soviet Union so she could see for herself that civilians in the Soviet Union were for peace. Learn more about Smith’s trip to the Soviet Union and how she proved that only one person — even a child — can make a profound difference in the world.

JULY

In July we spotlighted one of the greatest peace activists of our time, Nelson Mandela. Born in South Africa, Mandela’s remarkable efforts and tireless pursuit of peace transformed the country and left an indelible mark on the world. Mandela’s leadership and vision have been recognized with numerous international accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Learn more about his unwavering dedication to justice, forgiveness and inclusivity.

AUGUST

In August we showcased William Ladd — an early American peace activist and the first president of the American Peace Society. A disbeliever in war for any purpose, in 1823 Ladd wrote the first of 32 “Essays on Peace and War,” which laid out a Christian case for pacifism. His antiwar ideologies would come during a time of heightened reform in America — women’s rights, abolition, mental health and prison reforms. Learn how Ladd’s efforts toward unanimity in America established him as the Apostle of Peace.

Communicator of the Month original artwork, William Ladd

SEPTEMBER

Original artwork depicting Alfonso Garcia Robles' peace work

In September we highlighted Alfonso García Robles — a Mexican diplomat, lawyer and statesman who is best known for his significant contributions to international disarmament efforts and nuclear non-proliferation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his dedicated work in this field. Learn more about his crucial role in advancing peace and security through diplomacy, and how he earned the nickname “Mr. Disarmament.”

OCTOBER

In October we featured English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist John Lennon. Lennon may have gained worldwide fame as the founder, co-songwriter, co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of The Beatles, but he used his music and his celebrity status to advocate for peace and raise awareness about various social and political issues. Learn more about his unwavering dedication to promoting love, unity and nonviolence.

Original artwork depicting John Lennon and his pear work

NOVEMBER

Original artwork world peace - bright orange, yellow and pink with the words Dekha Ibrahim Abdi

In November we spotlighted peace advocate Dekha Ibrahim Abdi. From her origins in rural Kenya, she became a global peacemaker, helping transform violent conflict in many of the world’s most divided countries. Learn more about her many accolades, including the Swedish Right Livelihood Award (2007), often regarded as an alternative Nobel Peace Prize.

DECEMBER

In December we showcased Jane Addams — a name synonymous with feminism, social work and dedication to international peace. Her principles were deeply rooted in social and political reform, as her father was an Illinois state senator who fought as an abolitionist during the Civil War. Learn how her intrinsic motivation to promote peace for the greater good led her to become the second woman ever — and the first American woman — to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Original artwork with a green and blue background with to hands in black and white over a red megaphone that says Stop the War!

We hope that you enjoyed learning about these inspiring and brave individuals. To learn about additional individuals who have been featured in our previous calendars, be sure to check out our Communicator of the Month series right here on the blog!

Over the past few years, more and more narratives — often those that explore love, representation and experience — have been labeled dangerous to our society. In many instances, these important cultural materials have been banned from schools and entire communities. From environmental awareness to racial justice, storytellers have used their books to open our eyes, walk us in the shoes of others and move many to action. Forbidding the circulation of these commentaries only reinforces their value.

In 2024, we will celebrate 12 of these impactful authors and their books that have helped us to be better listeners and more informed activists. Through their words, they teach us to see and to care about the people around us and the world we live in.

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