Letting Go

Written by Darryl M. Gumm of BAIOP, LLC.
April 6, 2022
RE: An open letter to the citizens of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

First of all, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Brenda and Ann, our experts from out-of-town, for sharing their vast knowledge with the Peace House Group. I am personally indebted to both of you for your valuable contribution to the process of determining whether our passionate peace-centered dream is aligned with reality.

Five months ago, at the encouragement of the Peace House owner, Sue Perez, I began the process of tapping into my vast network in search of anyone, with the financial means, to purchase her property and continue the peace-focused tradition she and her beloved husband Joe started 20 years ago. Through that process, I misunderstood some of the feedback I received and incorrectly concluded that "we can do this." What I also discovered is that my influence in this community has waned considerably. I speculate this has something to do with my radically progressive world view that seems to be alien to much of the community which as been my home for most of my life.

As I got to know Sue better, I learned how challenging it is for her to "let go." Sue and I share that trait, to the point where it is harmful to our health and well-being. And there is a huge difference between letting go and giving up.

Sue's actual home is a place in Illinois where much of the progressive programming she has been talking about exists and/or originated. There are small pockets of this mindset in Sheboygan County, but by and large, it isn't something which is embraced by the masses in our community. I know how much Sue wants her vision to work at 226 Michigan Avenue, but she also longs to go back home and do this important work in a place that embraces it. For her health and well-being, Sue needs to let go of her vision in Sheboygan and go back home.

In my mind, my work with the Peace House Group is completed. Yesterday, I removed my peace sign from Sue's property as a part of the "letting go" process. I am deeply indebted to Joe and Sue Perez for allowing me to have that sign there for the past ten years.

I am also deeply indebted to Mary and Frank Koczan for all of the passion, time and energy they have poured into this effort. Their life-long commitment as peace activists is commendable, inspirational, and so much needed in our community and beyond.

And last but not least, Sue and her entire family have been so patient with us. For that, I am most grateful.

As for me, my peace work will continue through BAIOP, LLC and my amazing, peace-filled and progressive church, Ebenezer United Church of Christ.

Blessings & Peace,