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Velvet Mesquite - Illustration by George Malesky
Velvet Mesquite
A Natural Symbol of Sustainable Peace

Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)
~ promoting peace, justice, and sustainability


The Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) Coordinating Council is currently composed of members who worked together for a year to develop the vision, mission, purpose, and structure of this organization. Throughout this collaboration process, the council members deepened their capacity to synergistically learn from one another, to personally practice peace in their coordinating council endeavors, and to have fun in the process. Brief introductions to members follow.

Phyllis Grimes
Phyllis Grimes recognized in 1985, during her first trip to the Soviet Union for a Peace Conference, that her life purpose was to help bring peace to our world. After five years and eighteen more trips with the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue and MIR Corporation, Phyllis was looking for her next involvement. That came after she and her husband moved to Tucson in 1992. Here she became a Practitioner in the Church of Religious Science after six years of course study. She continues to work with COPA as an outlet for her commitment to Peace.

Anton Schmalz
Anton Schmalz has helped evolve, implement, and evaluate comprehensive goals and strategies in a variety of subject areas for both private sector and government organizations for five decades. He served as a consultant for four USA presidents and prepared major goals policies and statements dealing with peace conflict resolution , national security energy conservation, and environmental issues. Collaborating with the "Father" of Earth Day, he helped organize the International "Sun Day" to encourage the maximum use of natural resources.
He served as President of the Los Angeles United Nations Association and organized and chaired several international conferences for the "World Future Society" and others.
He offered numerous papers and several books including "Energy: Today's Choices, Tomorrow's Opportunities and Outcomes" and "Insights Into The Changing Government Market Place", which was widely distributed by Presidents Johnson and Nixon as the "Primer As to How Government Works". In order to enhance a spiritual influence in the evolution of peace he has been a life long student of metaphysics and world religions.

Rev. Gerry Straatemeier
Gerry Straatemeier, MSW, is a retired clinical social worker and an independent New Thought minister. Having received her Masters in Social Work at UC Berkeley in 1967, it might not be a surprise to find she is a lifelong peace activist. Gerry has been the co-chair of the Gandhi/King Season for NonViolence in Southern Arizona (SNV) since 2000. She is also a hobby political and spiritual writer and a committed progressive movement activist. She believes nonviolent practices taught by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are more relevant than ever in an age of "terrorism", that stems from a culture of dominance and fear.

Jack Strasburg
Jack Strasburg is currently a Tucson Peace Center Board member. He was a founding member of local, state and national Green Parties, served on the national Green Council for three years, and ran for local office twice. He also worked with Diné (Navajo) and Hopi on the Big Mountain relocation issue for twelve years. Jack also facilitated an indigenous permaculture group on the Navajo reservation for eight years. He has been active in peace, justice, and environmental issues for over twelve years. His primary interest is focus on alternative economics and permaculture/sustainability as a way to build infrastructure for a new peaceful paradigm.