#PeaceDay — Campaign Info & Tools

Posted on: February 6th, 2015 by jeni No Comments

Peace Day — Campaign & Celebrations

A petition to have July 17 (Mattie’s birthday)
declared a national day dedicated to peace choices…  



We are campaigning for

a presidential proclamation:

National Peace Day

to be celebrated July 17 each year





to sign our
Change.org Petition
asking the White House
to declare July 17
National Peace Day 

– =


2017 Peace Day Party

Celebrating Mattie’s life & legacy,
and the
 City of Rockville’s
Peace Day Proclamation


during a party with a purpose:
“Make Peace the News” – 
Sunday, July 16 from 3-6 pm

Indoor/Outdoor Parties
Botanero Restaurant (3-8 pm)
Fontina Grille (3-8 pm)
KF Village Green (3-6 pm)

800 Pleasant Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
(4 blocks south of Mattie’s Park)-

Entertainment Featuring:

Jimmy Alexander
Our Emcee from Mix 107.3
Jack Diamond Morning Show 

The Black & Tan Band
Irish/Celtic music performed by

local judges and courthouse officials,
including KF neighbor — Michael Algeo

Omekongo Dibinga
UPstander and peace rapper
Kick’s Karate Rockville Demo Team
Local youth & adults share talent, respect,

skill, & self-control through martial arts.


Learn more, or volunteer
as a Peace Guide here…
(all Peace Guides will be listed
on Mattie’s website and earn a
Peace Activity Certificate.



July 2017 UPDATE

City of Rockville Votes to Make
Peace Day and Annual Event 

Photo L-R: Rockville City Council Member Virginia Onley, Council Member Beryl Feinberg, Mayor Bridget Newton, Council Member Mark Pierzchaia, Council Member Julie Carr, Mattie’s Foundation Executive Director Jeni Stepanek, and Mattie’s Foundation Board Member Joe Palermino — celebrating the 2017 Peace Day Proclamation in honor of the July 17 birthday of the late teen poet and peace activist, Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

During the July 2017 City Council meeting, the City of Rockville issued a Peace Day Proclamation, declaring Mattie’s July 17 birthday to be a day of peace for local citizens, and stating support for the Peace Day Party celebration. The City has been declaring Peace Day every year since Mattie died in 2004, at the request of Mattie’s Foundation.
Since 2014, the Foundation has been campaigning to move the Peace Day concept to a national level. This year, the City of Rockville gave a huge show of support for that effort, by voting to make July 17 “Peace Day” forevermore in the city.
The day will be celebrated with an annual peace gathering during which participants will have the opportunity to learn more about Mattie’s peace message, and to better understand how peace begins and grows through activities that bring together inspiration and information, as well as recreation and education — in a festive party atmosphere with music and games and more.
The City has also expressed a desire to include elements of Mattie’s peace message and the Foundation’s “Pathways to Peace” program in other events and trainings that support citizens in growing forward together — such as their celebrate diversity and sister city activities.
The 2017 Peace Day Party takes place on Sunday, July 16. Join Mattie’s Foundation, the City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen’s Assembly, Mix107.3 Radio, Botanero Restaurant, Fontina Grille, The Black & Tan Band, UPstander Omékongo Dibinga, Rockville Kicks Karate, and dozens of Peace Guide volunteers for an afternoon of music and food and fun (there will even be a moon bounce and face painting!). The event runs from 3 pm to 8 pm in the King Farm Village Green area.





June 2017 UPDATE

  • The City of Rockville, Maryland and the King Farm Citizens Assembly (local neighborhood) express commitment to making Peace Day an annual event – to be proclaimed each year for July 17, and to be celebrated with educational, recreational, and inspirational activities during a Peace Gathering/Party on a weekend near the date.
  • The leaders are also committed to moving forward with the Pathways to Peace Program and becoming “Peace Certified” as a community, recognizing that PEACE UNIFIES, and the importance of choosing to “Make Peace the News.”
  • The 2017 Peace Day Proclamation will be issued during the July 10, 2017 City Council Meeting in Rockville, Maryland (begins 7 pm). City and KFCA leadership representatives are working with representatives of Mattie’s Foundation to plan the July 16 Peace Day Party to commemorate this event.
  • The Washingtonian Magazine is working on a feature story about Mattie’s legacy, Jeni’s peace work with Mattie’s Foundation, and the National Peace Day Campaign. The upcoming Peace Day Party planned for July 16, 2017 will be discussed in the article!
  • Read more about the Peace Day Party by clicking here… 

 “From one child’s legacy…
a gift of healing for our country.”

- -

Peace is for ALL people…
all races and religions,
and all political affiliations.

Let’s let peace unify us, by choice.  




National Peace Day - A United Choice

Our Campaign

Millions have been inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek. He left a legacy of hope and peace for our world. Today, our nation is divided in so many ways. But peace is a unifier. On July 17 – Mattie’s birthday – we want our country to celebrate peace, as a choice, together. The life and messages of Mattie J.T. Stepanek offer inspiration for doing so, and an achievable “pathways to peace” guide.


The Petition

In a time of increasing division and unrest in our great nation, we are committed to peace, and commemorating Mattie’s peace mission and legacy by campaigning for the U.S. President to declare July 17, his birthday, National Peace Day!


About Mattie’s Foundation

The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established to continue spreading the message of hope and peace shared by Mattie, the late teen poet and peace activist who encouraged us to “Remember to play after every storm!” Mattie’s Foundation offers educational and recreational resources for people of all ages that support an understanding of peace for individuals and for our world, and that encourage peace as a deliberate choice.


About Mattie

Jimmy Carter called Mattie J.T. Stepanek “the most remarkable person” he has ever known.
Oprah Winfrey named him as one of her top three most memorable guests across her 25 years of programming.
A congressional resolution was passed in his honor after he died during June, 2004, and a flag was flown over the US Capitol to honor his great contributions to society.
Another congressional resolution was passed on July 17, 2014, to honor his 10 year peace legacy and the growing effort for the President to declare a National Peace Day.
Members of the Catholic church are gathering information on his heroic virtues for a possible Cause for Canonization.
All this, and more, in honor of a child who died just before his 14th birthday due to a rare neuromuscular disease, but who left a legacy that continues to grow and inspire people around the world. A legacy of hope and peace, guided by a simple, clear, and achievable message rooted in personal choices.



Frequently Asked Questions


What is being asked of the President & elected officials?

  • The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is campaigning to share Mattie’s life and legacy as a gift to our nation – with a proclamation by the U.S. President of an annual, nationally recognized day that puts “peace” on our national calendar – on July 17, the day of Mattie’s birth.
  • The campaign also endeavors to have elected leaders at city, county/parish, and state levels proclaim July 17 “Mattie’s Peace Day” with local gatherings and celebrations each year.
  • The vision is an annual day that brings diverse people of all ages together in a celebratory way, and that provides information and information through recreational and educational activities.
  • The mission is to nurture an understanding of choices that create peace – for individuals, for communities, and for our world – and to increase understanding of how we can each move from developed attitudes and habits to deliberate actions and involvement that transform peace from a possibility to a reality. Resources rooted in Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace” and his peace message will be available to guide individuals, families, organizations, and communities in creating and celebrating peace day activities and events.

Why does a peace day matter?

A national day designated for peace matters because peace matters! Our country is in desperate need of non-violent conflict resolution, anti-bullying programs, and simple kindness. Peace is possible – if we make peace something that matters to us and for others, and if we choose to reflect on how peace begins and grows, and then learn to respond and reach out with peace through deliberate attitudes and actions.


Why is the day linked to Mattie J.T. Stepanek & July 17?

Mattie J.T. Stepanek is the late teen poet and peace activist who penned seven NY Times Bestselling books of poetry and essays, each filled with inspiration and information about hope and peace and purpose. Mattie took the abstract concept of peace and explained it in ways that make it understandable, desirable, and achievable. He offered a “Three Choices for Peace” template that can move peace from a possibility to a personal, community, and national reality. Mattie’s birthday is July 17.


How is a national peace day different from the international one?

The mission of the International Day of Peace is to promote the absence of war and violence, even if only for a temporary humanitarian aid related ceasefire. The mission of the proposed National Peace Day is very different. Rather than “pause violence,” this day would bring diverse individuals and communities together to “begin peace”- through both education and celebration. By understanding how peace begins – with deliberate choices in attitude and action – it becomes a sustainable reality that grows within and between people and communities, and across time.


How can people of all ages get involved?

  • By signing the petition at MattieOnline.com (direct link here: http://www.chn.ge/1pQcZA1
  • By forwarding the petition to friends and local politicians
  • By social media sharing with #NationalPeaceDay #July17 #Change4Peace
  • By choosing to proclaim and commemorate Peace Day at a local level
  • By learning more about Mattie’s peace message, and engaging in peace-related
    conversation and activities at home, at school, at work, and in the community

How can the media help?

  • We need to get the word out about our campaign for a July 17 National Peace Day
  • We need people in all areas and types of media to create stories and generate conversation about the need for peace, and about this Peace Day Campaign, which can bring the gift of change. Let’s #MakePeaceTheNews.
  • Numerous resources are listed on the next pages detailing how those in the media and with media connections can make an extraordinary story out of this campaign, and transform one child’s legacy of peace into a lasting gift of healing and unity for all of us!


Who has publicly supported this Campaign so far?

Since initiated, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA),  Maryland Democratic Committee Chair Kathleen Matthews, State Senator Cheryl Kagan (MD), Former State Senator Jennie Forehand (MD), State Delegate Marc Korman (MD), Montgomery County Council Representatives – Mark Elrich, Sidney Katz, and Hans Reimer, Former County Executive Doug Duncan (Montgomery County, MD), Mayor Bridget Newton and the Rockville, MD City Council, Gail Sherman (President) and the King Farm Citizen’s Assembly, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Children’s Hospice International, the We Are Family Foundation, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, Larry King, Billy Gilman, and a growing number of leaders and citizens (more then 8,500 so far) have joined the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation in promoting this Campaign – writing letters, signing the online petition, and sharing information on social media for a July 17 National Peace Day




Helpful Campaign Tools



Story & Discussion Ideas

for leaders & citizens, teachers & students, families & all…  


Discuss Our Petition

  • Initiated by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and supported by Former US President Jimmy Carter, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), Rockville, MD Mayor Bridget Newton, and numerous other local and state leaders, as well as national media celebrities.
  • More than 8,000 signatures so far.
  • Watch our 2-minute campaign video here…
    NOTE: This video was created in 2014, so it still has the “Mattie” peace day language. We have updated the NAME of the campaign and day, but the underlying effort and mission remains the same).
  • Schedule interviews with Petition supporters – politicians and everyday citizens.


Consider Mattie’s International Legacy of Peace

  • Mattie’s legacy includes six bestselling books of “Heartsongs” poetry, and one bestselling collection of “Just Peace” essays, with inspirational correspondence between Mattie and numerous celebrities and leaders, including Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
  •  Since 2005, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation has been creating educational and recreational resources for global neighbors who are diverse in age, ability, and aspiration, and in race, religion, and other realities. These “Pathways to Peace” materials and activities are rooted in Mattie’s “Heartsongs” and “Three Choices for Peace” concepts of purpose, and offer personal and community peace journeys.
  • In 2008, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park & Peace Garden was dedicated in Rockville, Maryland – an award-winning 26-acre recreation facility landscaped using Mattie’s vision for peace expressed in his NY Times bestseller, “Just Peace: A Message of Hope.”
  • Since 2005, the City of Rockville, Maryland has been proclaiming and celebrating “Peace Day” at a local level, with parties and park gatherings, and with educational and recreational activities. In 2017, the Mayor and Council decided to incorporate these activities into the City’s year-round endeavor to “celebrate diversity.”
  • Since 2008, Grammy award-winning musician Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation “Three Dot Dosh” global teen leadership initiative has linked Mattie’s peace message with international  youth activists. The result (so far) is nearly 300 global teens with peace projects and organizations that tend to basic needs and that have positively impacted tens of millions of global citizens.
  • In 2014, the Mattie & Melinda Bill (H.R. 4605), was re-introduced in U.S. Congress, an endeavor Mattie lobbied for to improve hospice care legislation impacting children with life-threatening conditions and their families.
  • Children and adults across the United States and around the world – inspired by Mattie’s life and legacy – celebrate being “Peace Club Kids,” “Peace Ambassadors,” and/or “Peace Certified” individuals and communities.
  • “I Am… Mattie” - a full-length documentary of Mattie’s life and legacy, and with a call-to-action for all of us, is currently in development.



Is peace possible? Discuss the concepts below…  

  • Mattie wrote that “peace is possible,” if we make peace a choice for ourselves and for others, and if we tend to the basic human needs of all citizens.


  • Mattie described “Three Choices for Peace” - moving us from attitudes, to habits, to realities as we seek, make, and bring peace for ourselves and others.


  • Mattie said that peace begins with being “okay” with who and how we are as a person or a community – despite differences, and that peace becomes a reality when we respect and support other individuals and communities, so that they, too, can be “okay” with who and how they are – despite differences.


  • Mattie said that for us to be okay as individuals (personal peace), our basic needs must be tended to, and for us to be okay with others (community and global peace), we must tend to and equitably balance the basic needs of all people.


  • Mattie said that peace is not always about “agreeing with” our neighbor, but about “being with” our neighbor, in non-judgmental and non-violent ways.


  • On September 11, 2001, Mattie wrote “For Our World” – a reflection of hope and peace despite disagreements and tragedy. In the passage, he describes humanity as a “mosaic of gifts… to nurture, to offer, to accept.”



Interview with Jeni Stepanek, PhD (Mattie’s mom)

  • Author of the New York Times Bestseller, Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsong.


  • Executive Director of Mattie’s Foundation, and faculty associate in special education at the University of Maryland.


  • Guest on television and radio programs including Good Morning America, CNN’s New Day, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Super Soul Sunday, and interviewed for global print media including The Washington Post and USA Today,


  • Recipient of numerous honors for humanitarian efforts, publications, and academic endeavors.


  • “Mama Peace” to global youth and adults who are learning about Mattie’s message, and who are inspired to choose peace – for themselves, for their communities, and our world.


Read & Discuss Blogs & Information
—- posted on Mattie’s website



We need more and more signatures, and media, and general
“peace chat” around dinner tables and conference tables.


Mark your name with more than 8,000 others
as we change history,
 and literally Make Peace the News!


One person can make a difference,
together, we are creating change!

Keep checking back for more updates:





If you have ideas,
or political or celebrity connections
who may support this effort
please let us know!



Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D. (“Mattie’s Mom”)
Executive Director, Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation
Faculty Associate, University of Maryland
402 King Farm Blvd #125, Rockville, MD 20850
Email: HeartsongBooks@gmail.com


Visit the #NationalPeaceDay
Information, Action, & Updates
(and overall Campaign history)
page HERE…  



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March Spotlight

In-Kind Support

Celebrating our "in kind" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with services and materials. Thank you ezStorage, Montgomery Printing, Parcel Plus, and Potomac Valley Brick! Read more...

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Community Support

Celebrating our "community" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with commitment and participation. Thank you City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen's Assembly, Kick's Karate & Mix 107.3! Read more...

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- Mattie J.T. Stepanek