When you multiply the power of women by the power of the Internet, you get Peace X Peace, a woman-led, Internet-based global network.
Peace X Peace (pronounce Peace by Peace) is a grassroots community of women who share cross-cultural solutions to achieve peace in their families, communities and in the world.
“Many problems, like domestic violence, are universal. It doesn’t matter whether you are a woman in Africa or the US. Various cultures have tools they can share with other cultures,” says Peace X Peace founder and board chair Patricia Smith Melton.
Smith Melton, a Washington DC poet, playwright, filmmaker and photographer, launched the non-profit organization in 2002, when she gathered experts in peace and women’s rights from around the world to discern a women’s response to 9/11. The charity soon launched a website and an online news service and began connecting women outside the US, across geographic and cultural divides, through the Internet. The organization has grown rapidly and there are now thousands of Peace X Peace members in more than 100 countries.
The free Peace X Peace membership allows women from across the world to post breaking news on issues related to gender justice, domestic violence, poverty, the environment, health, education, job and quality of life, as well as personal success stories and photos of their creative solutions to these issues. Women can also request a match with a like-minded woman or women in a particular region and form a Circle.
Women connect to women in their Circle for friendship, mutual support and dialogue. They talk about their lives, families, the work they do and the places where they live. “Strangers become friends, friends become family and peace grows,” Smith Melton says.
Some circles have a common interest or mission. For example, nurses from Europe might discuss nursing and health care practices with nurses in Africa. Business mentors from California might work with women in India to help them lift their small business off the ground. Recently a group of grandmothers from Harlem connected with grandmothers in Kenya to talk about indigenous wisdom, the environment and childrearing. Still others share models for opening shelters for abused women and girls and networking to end trafficking.
“We each have something critical to offer to another woman who needs to hear our story and benefit from our experience and wisdom,” says Linda Higdon, former Peace X Peace chief strategy officer. “For women living on the edge, the ability to connect and pool effective approaches to peace can be as life-sustaining as a bag of rice.”