It gives me great pleasure to introduce you (I know; most of you already know Bix) to the 2012 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize Laureate, Father William “Bix” Bichsel, S.J. Last night, June 2nd, Bix received this award at the annual Spring banquet of the Scandinavian Cultural Center, PLU.
We all know that Bix embodies peace (in every breath) and so his receiving this award is most appropriate.
“The concept of a local peace prize came from Tom Heavey, Founding Chair of the GTPP and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2005, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Norway’s peaceful separation from Sweden, and inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize, Tom and others in the Norwegian-American community developed the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize in order to honor those in our community who work for peace.” (from the GTPP Website)
In addition to the cool medal that was placed around his neck at the ceremony last night, Bix will travel to Norway to participate in events surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize. What a wonderful ambassador for Peace Bix will be at such an occasion.
Here is what the GTPP Website has to say about Bix and this recognition of his life’s work:
The Rev. William Bichsel, S.J. doesn’t just talk about what’s wrong with the world. Now in his eighties, he still dedicates his life to the causes of peace and justice, even when taking a stand means going to jail. Bichsel’s lifelong activism led to his selection as the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize Laureate for 2012.
Dennis Flannigan nominated Bichsel, who was also endorsed by Bill Baarsma, Bruce Foreman, Lyle Quasim, Sen. Debbie Regala, and Colleen Webster. Flannigan has known him for many years.
Bichsel was ordained in 1959. Then he began to work with the homeless and downtrodden, and became well-known as a non-violent protestor and demonstrator against nuclear weapons and the military training facility called the U.S. Army School of the Americas. These actions resulted in arrest and incarceration on numerous occasions, including detention in the federal penitentiary system.
In his nomination essay, Flannigan wrote, “If you ask those who love Tacoma who best represents the peace movement here, most would respond, ‘Father Bichsel.’ How appropriate and just plain right to honor him while he still lives, acts, and defies conventions that need defying.”
Of course, we all know that Bix will not be resting on his Laurels after this brief moment in the spotlight. He is focused on something far greater than recognition, and his focus and dedication to Peace is a model for us all. Onward Bix!!!