#PeaceDay — Campaign Info & Tools

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


Peace Day Celebration

July 11, 2020

Save the Date! 


Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park
1800 Piccard Drive
Rockville, MD 20850


- Walk for Peace in Mattie’s Park
- Peace Day Proclamations
- Peace Day Celebration
(crafts, entertainment, food…) 



The 2020 Peace Day Celebration
in King Farm celebrates the
City of Rockville, Maryland’s commitment
to an annual day dedicated to peace.


This activity is part of a larger effort to secure a
National Peace Day proclamation for our country.
Information & Campaign history below…  


The City is joined again in celebration this year
by Montgomery County, by the State of Maryland,
and by the King Farm Citizen’s Assembly.




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
The White House
to declare July 17
National Peace Day 

– =


“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”)
CEO/CPO, 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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- Mattie J.T. Stepanek