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Jewish Journal

The Little Flower That Could

by Nancy Sokoler Steiner

October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

Hippies, bellbottoms and Volkswagen Beetles aren't the only '60s icons to resurface. The Vietnam-era image of a sunflower accompanied by the words, "War is not healthy for children and other living things," is also experiencing a revival. The graphic was created in 1965 by Los Angeles print artist Lorraine Schneider. With a resurgence of the peace movement in response to the war in Iraq, demand for the sunflower has, well, blossomed.

Schneider's daughter, Carol Schneider, and her husband Bill Donnelly have reincorporated Another Mother for Peace (AMP), the anti-war group to whom Lorraine Schneider, now deceased, donated her artwork shortly after creating it. Formed in 1967 to "eliminate war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies," AMP spearheaded a variety of campaigns that helped turn the tide against the Vietnam War. AMP eventually closed its offices in 1986.

The newly recreated AMP, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, remains "dedicated to the principle that war is obsolete." Its board of directors includes artist Lorraine Schneider's three daughters, Carol, Susan Messenger and Alisa Klaven, as well as several original founders and their children.

"Our goal is to communicate with a powerful statement that there are huge numbers of people ... who don't believe that war is a reasonable means of resolving disputes," Schneider said. The group has an active Web site (www.anothermother.org) and is planning a campaign to coincide with the 2004 election.

"Like my mom, I believe that as a mother and as a human being -- not just as a Jew -- that my duty is to live a humanistic life and that I have a responsibility on this earth," said Schneider, who is a psychotherapist in private practice.

The original sunflower image was an etching only 4 inches square, created for a 1965 exhibition which stipulated the diminutive size. "Mom felt that in such a tiny space, she needed to say something profound," Schneider said. "She never dreamed that her little etching would make such a big impact."

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