Web established February 3, 2013
Charlene Eldridge Wheeler
August 26, 1944 – March 30, 1993
Primary author of the first three editions of this book
Charlene’s vision, wisdom, and persistent hard work were central to the conception and to the concrete reality of Peace & Power. Her spirit still lives within these pages, and within the hearts and minds of all who worked with her in groups.
Charlene Eldridge Wheeler and I first wrote and self-published Peace and Power in 1983
to explain the feminist group process that we experienced in the collective of women who ran
Emma: Buffalo Women’s Bookstore. We called our publishing enterprise “Margaretdaughters” after both of our mothers who were Margaret.
The process we used in the Emma Collective was called “rotating chair” but the actual process extended far beyond the ideas that shaped how discussions were conducted. The most significant part of the process, for me and for Charlene, was the persistent dedication to always explaining and reflecting on why we were doing what we did in our meetings. The experience was life-changing for us, and so we decided to write what we had learned, and explain the process in ways that could be passed along to other people
who were not able to experience the process first hand.
Eventually Charlene and I ran out of resources to continue to publish the book, so when Patricia Moccia of the National League for Nursing called to say that they were interested in publishing the book, we were delighted. Sadly, Charlene died in 1993, so I (Peggy) continued to develop the ideas and concepts in the book, based on new experiences with the process in different kinds of community groups, and using the process for online groups.
The establishment of this blog and having a presence on Facebook brings the process to the world of social media, where a growing community can learn and interact. The goals of working together in groups in ways that nurture peace, understanding, empowerment, growth and solidarity are abiding desires for many around the world. But the most urgent desire for peaceful resolution of conflict remains one of the most important aspects of Peace and Power. It is my hope that this presence on the web will provide a vision and practical possibilities for making this more and more a reality in our personal, local and global communities.
Peace & Power is possible because of the long line of women and men who have inspired, assisted, and diligently put into action the ideas that have evolved over the years. First and foremost, Charlene Eldridge (Wheeler), primary author of the first 3 editions of the book, remains an inspiration and a dearly loved, although absent, companion in this work. Her words of wisdom and humor resonate throughout these pages, and come to awareness in the most unexpected times and places to remind us of her deep influence on this work.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to the following for their early encouragement and support, and for the special ways in which they shaped the fundamental ideas of Peace and Power during the years Charlene and I worked together: Wilma Scott Heide; Patricia Moccia; Lisa Albecht and the women of the Emma Collective; women of the Women’s Studies Program and the Feminism and Nursing class at the State University of New York at Buffalo; various coalitions of women in the Buffalo community, including the Voices of Women Writers Coalition (1982) and International Women’s Day Coalitions (1982-86); Cassandra: Radical Feminist Nurses Network (1982-89); the Friendship Collective (1987-89); in Australia, Judy Lumby, Pat Hickson and Cheryle Moss; in Denver, Carole Schroeder and her children Ben and Morgan, Fran Reeder, Marlaine Smith and Jean Watson.
In the years since Charlene’s death, there have been many special friends who have inspired the continued heart politics upon which this work is based: Elizabeth Berrey, Maeona Kramer, Adrienne Roy, Chris Tanner, Janet Kemp, Sue Hagedorn, Richard Cowling, Marlaine Smith, Fran Reeder, Kathy Maeve, Judith Claire, Julia Carpenter, Lynne Giddings, Sandy Talley, Nora Goichoechea, Carol Polifroni, Debera Thomas, Adeline Falk-Rafael, Alicebelle Rubotsky, Mary Ann Anderson, Carrie Klima, Maryann Kehoe, Paula Kagan, Lucinda Canty, Piri Ackerman, Amy Kenefick Moore,
Peace and Power is in reality that which has come about because of vast networks of people who deserve special acknowledgements. Many I have not yet met in person, but who communicate with me, through email or through others, to share their experiences with what they have experienced in using these processes. Many others I have met, but only briefly in a workshop or a class where I have discussed the ideas. Still others have worked more intensively in various contexts. A special word of appreciation is extended to all who have participated in classrooms, where for just a few weeks we experience what is possible when people come together to create communities of cooperation, inspiration, and support. To all who have contributed to this work, I extend my heartfelt appreciation.
About Peggy L Chinn
I am Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Connecticut. My BS in nursing is from the University of Hawaii, and Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Utah. I am Editor of Advances in Nursing Science; I speak and write on nursing theory, feminism and nursing, the art of nursing, nursing education, and LGBTQ health. I am co-founder and web manager for LavenderHealth and several local community groups. I blog regularly on my own blog as well as on blogs for Advances in Nursing Science and the Nurse Manifest Project.