Rose Petals for Peace on August 21

August 1999

Can you think of a world without violence? Can you envision a world of peace? Can you see people surviving without bombs, missiles and guns? Would you like to see people afforded their own potential and dignity? Do you have plans for peaceful existence cavorting within your mind? Does your Utopia exist with freedom and justice?

My brother Mel and I have been struggling for the past 20 years with the trauma of our parents having become victims of a horrific double homicide. After many years I realized that I have always been doing a beautiful ritual for them on the anniversary of their death. Every year I remove the dried rose potpourri petals which sit in a glass container and replace them with a new batch. I am asking that you do the same ritual. Join me and my family every August 21st to help create a world in which my parent's untimely death could not have happened. Not by restrictions, but by creating a healthy society where violence would not be a daily occurrence and would not be considered a reasonable act or solution. Please set aside a container and fill it with rose potpourri on August 21st. Spend a minute contemplating peace. If you so desire make plans for peace to be implemented within the year. Renew your efforts every August 21st. Ask your family, friends and neighbors to also perform the same ritual in their home or come together as a group. Pass the ritual on to the next generation.

You can make copies of this letter.

The world over, people will be doing the same ritual as you in memory of my parents, Rose and Louis Feit.

Thank you,

Amber Barbara Grumet

P.S. Help to build a base of non-violent activism in planning a tranquil and harmonious reality!

Rose and Louis Feit, August 5, 1963

Rose & Louis Feit, August 5, 1963
posted on 08/13/2012

Rose and Louis Feit, August 5, 1963

Rose & Louis Feit, August 5, 1963

Judith Malina
Centro Living Europa

Dearest Amber,

On August 21, The Living Theatre traveled from its home in Rochetta Ligure to Palermo in Sicily, where we performed The Ultimo Rogo (The Last Burning at the Stakes). A friend had given us a bowl of flowers from his garden, and Hanon took his rose leaves with us to Sicily.

The Second Act begins with a scene of witches performing their rites. Catie Marchand, Judi Rymer, Elena Jandova and I play the witches, and each of us took a handful of rose petals up onto the balcony where we played our scene above the stage...

We said, in the Sicilian dialect, "Poi a vemmu na quan putestah," which means "But now we have great power," and we dropped the rose petals down, where they floated onto the audience and the stage.

We all thought of your dear parents, and of an end to violence of which the actors were also speaking.

Thus we did a parallel rite to yours, as part of your memorial and celebration...

We love you forever and send warmest embraces.


The Living Theatre Observes Rose Petals for Peace on August 21, 1999

On August 21, 1999 The Living Theatre found itself in Palermo, Sicily. We were performing "L'Ultimo Rogo" (The Last Execution) at the Villa Lampedusa, in the residential section north of downtown. "L'Ultimo Rogo" is a play against the death penalty for crimes related to the inquisition in 1782 in Palermo. An enlightened viceroy is the principal character. In the second act we also drew attention to the existence of the death penalty today in the United States (it does not exist in Italy). Attention is also paid to several of the witches who were murdered by the Inquisition over the years. Judith Malina and the women in the company performedf a chorus at the beginning of Act II, naming the names, as well as the name of Serena Urbani, Living Theatre member deceased in 1993. It was at this point that we decided to distribute the rose petals which we had gathered in the days preceding August 21. The actresses, from a high balcony where the Witches Chorus was chanted, dispersed the rose petals during the actual performance. The performance was out of doors in front of the majestic Villa, famous for being the family home of Giuseppe Lanza Tomasi, Count of Lampedusa, author of the great modern classic Italian novel, "The Leopard," about the end of the aristocracy and its way of life which ended forever in the revolutionary events of the 1860's. The evening was intensely hot and humid. Amidst the shadows and burning candles of the scenography the rose petals fluttered down on the cascade of names of victims. We added also the names Auschwitz, Pristina, Tienanmen, Plaza de Mayo, and others. The significance of the rose petals was perhaps not realized by the audience, but by those of us in the cast, they symobilized in our own ritual our resistence to violence.

written by Tom Walker

Living Theatre members participating on August 21, 1999

Judith Malina
Elena Jandova
Catie Marchand
Judi Rymer
Hanon Reznikov
Gary Brackett
Jerry Goralnick
Craig Peritz
Johnson Anthony
Tom Walker
Stefan Schulberg
Christian Vollmer

with Laura Spacca
Elena Tardelli
Peter Ciani
Elio Gimbo

— "L'Ultimo Rogo"
written and directed by Melo Freni

From Harold Rosenthal

Dear Amber,

I received your letter.

On August 21, 1999 I prayed in silence several times in remembrance of your parents, and for all people who left this world violently. I gathered rose petals from the ground surrounding a rose bush, dried them in the sun, and shared the scent with several companions. The sight of an empty rose, and the delicate fallen petals will always have a special significance for me now.

Thank you for inviting me into your ritual, and into the work of making peace.

Best wishes and love,

Harold Rosenthal
September 9, 1999
New York City

In The Wake of the World Trade Center Tragedy

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack, our hearts go out to all who have suffered and who continue to suffer. We also wish to state unequivocally that our grief is not a cry for war. Now, more than ever before, we affirm our commitment to peace.

"There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

— A.J. Muste

Amber's Rose

  • Quiet and unassuming
  • Entering the picture in a whisper
  • Painting itself gently, not so much in secret
  • But with ancient knowledge always present,
  • Always there,
  • Always ready,
  • Painting itself lovingly,
  • kindly,
  • graciously...
  • The Petal revealed, shared and
  • Celebrated Peace.

- Lois Kagan Mingus
August 2001

This Thought

Peace is a petal
Whose delicacy belies
its strength.

Peace thrives
in the most devastating
of times,

Lending shelter and love,
stability and joy.

Within it, as with a rose's petal,
we complete the whole.

Without it, as with a rose's petal,
something we need

- by Lois Kagan Mingus
August 21, 2002

Rose Petals Revisited

Tonite I'm going down to the labyrinth at Battery Park with Wycherly Systers/DADA poets/Living Theatre friends to do a candlelight vigil and Planetary Dance for peace in honor of the parents of my friend Amber who were brutally murdered 25 years ago. She started an annual August 21st commemoration called Rose Petals for Peace. Should be beautiful, thunderstorms and all.

August 21. Amber had a cold and there were thunderstorms, so we stayed indoors for Rose Petals for Peace. It was perfect. Very simple, very loving. Amber gave away the rose petals from last year and replaced them with the roses from this year. We fed each other and talked of our lives, our personal quests to live lives of peace, the times when we we are not peaceful and how we deal with that. And then we went off into the night.

August 23. Yesterday after separating worms from their casings in the basement of CUNY grad center in the old B Altmans—a lesson in ecological foodwaste management for urban dwellers at Starhawk's Permaculture workshop at the Life After Capitalism Conference—I took the rose petals I'd gathered over the year and separated them from their stems so each petal was detached from the others. Then I placed them in a harlequino diamond-patterned green and yellow Huichol Indian bag and in honor of Rose and Louis Feit and in devotion to creating a word in which what happened to them would never happen, I circumambulated Madison Square Garden and scattered the petals chanting, "Peace, Love, Om Shanti." I had just the right amount to evenly scatter the petals around the Garden, from the northeast to northwest, southwest, southeast and back to northeast.

- Robert Croonquist
New York City
September 27, 2004

Melvin Feit

On June 8, 2006 my dear brother, Melvin Feit, departed this earthly existence. Creating peace does not reside within one person's corporeal presence. Please renew your efforts on August 21st as many join their energies in one ritual. And renew your peace efforts throughout the year. Our planet needs us.

3 Living Theatre Performances at Malta Festival a Pilgrimage for Me

At the end of June, 2007, three Living Theatre performances at the Malta Festival in Posnan, Poland, were also a pilgrimage for me. The second day of rehearsal, I stood on the stage and invoked my father. "Yehuda Laib, this is the land of your birth." I invoked my mother. "Shoshana or Rachel, this is the land of your parents and your ancestors." Then I opened my arms wide and cried "Your daughter has come home." And there was release. Peace had been created.

—Amber Barbara Grumet


Flora, the goddess of all flowers is credited with creating the first rose. While walking through the woods one day, Flora came upon the body of a beautiful woman. Saddened to see the lovely creature dead, Flora decided to give her new life by transforming her into the most beautiful of all flowers, the rose.

Naming the rose was the proud pleasure of Aphrodite. In honor of her son, Eros, the Greek god of love, Aphrodite proclaimed the flower "rose" by moving the first letter of his name to the last letter, thus bringing the flower rose and love together for all time.

—Amber Barbara Grumet

  • You
  • can't
  • fight
  • for
  • peace
  • you
  • must
  • embrace
  • it

Be Laroe
Rose Petals for Peace
August 21, 2012

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose
        A Louis is a Louis is a Louis
amber birthday rose

Love, Echnaton

Building the Peace

  • And if I could blossom, bloom just a piece,
  • A peace of mind, small but significant
  • Roses, red velvet, honey
  • Sepia candlelight plums and hummus
  • Adorn the settings of the peace ritual table
  • Honoring those who have fallen by violence
  • Violet fragrances, framing violent moments,
  • Overwhelming the tug of war into the tug of peace.
  • Hands move through earth and air
  • Water in the lake under, under.
  • Cause up is up and high is high
  • We build the peace along the global ley lines.

Lois Kagan Mingus, Robert Croonquist, Amber
August 21, 2014


August 2015

OPENING ROSE from The Passion of Barbara Martinez, 1975
  • Once a rose is open,
  • A rose never closes at all.
  • Roses only lose their petals,
  • Revealing their centers to all.
  • They open. They bloom. They fall.
  • That’s all they do. They fall. That’s all they do.
  • Show me how to open, rose.
  • Show me how your opening goes.
  • I don’t want to stay closed inside myself.
  • I want to feel another rose beside myself.
  • Show me how to open, rose.
  • Take a lesson from the flowers
  • Revealing their natural powers.
  • There’s nothing surrealistic, beatific or mystic---
  • We live a real life of color and scent---
  • Some people never see or smell
  • And wonder what it meant.
  • But it makes sense to me, it’s always true---
  • We open. We bloom. We fall.
  • That’s all we do. We fall. That’s all we do.
  • So show me how to open, rose.
  • Show me how this opening goes.
  • I don’t want to stay closed inside myself.
  • I want to feel another rose beside myself.
  • That is what I’m hopin’!
  • Show me how to open, rose!

Martin Worman, August 2015

August 2016

There is no way to peace, peace is the way.

A.J. Muste

To kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.

Albert Einstein

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

George Carlin

August 2017

Our remembering is an act of generosity, aimed at saving men and women from apathy to evil, if not from evil itself.

Elie Weisel, Presidents Commission on the Holocaust

Silence, like the dark of night, shelters nefarious deeds. Silence forgives violence.

Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Pain transcends generations


August 2018

We gathered once again in Amber's apartment. This year it was me, Tom Walker, and Robert Roth and Be LaRoe. A few others were of course invited, but end of summer takes folks away from our hot city. Amber laid out a delicious spread of food and drink, with candles lit for our missing antecedents, her dear parents. Yes, we did a bit of ritual. Amber spoke at length, almost an hour, while we listened. She went over all that has happened in the last year. * Then, as we began to eat and drink, we spoke of the world and the difficulties of society, especially with our prison system. Robert, Be and I also spoke personally about our own complicated lives. Amber presented us with her new lovely publication of poems: “Peace—Food for the Soul,” published by Chez LaRoe, no less. What a wonder. And the gathering gathered hope and beauty, with bearing witness to the reality we live in, which isn't always so easy. I remembered one of my first Rose Petals for Peace, which I observed on tour with the Living Theatre in Palermo in 1999. I strewed rose petals from the balcony of the palace we were performing in, in the humid heat of a Sicilian night. It will go on, this Rose Petals for Peace; it will go on.

* This year was a milestone in my journey toward personal peace. I was heard. I participated in a remarkable show of support from the bureaucracy that is our criminal justice system.

One of the women who killed my parents was up for parole and I was invited—for the first time—to speak with the Brooklyn DA and his assistant, with an investigative detective, even invited to make a statement to the parole board. They wanted to hear my opinion. For the first time I was given the information to register with the Victim’s Assistance Program, and I was interviewed for an article (3.12.18 “Outdated Ideas About Violent Crimes, Hurt Victims and Trap Offenders” by Frank Green) in City Limits, an investigative journal for New York City.

September 2019

Our 2019 Rose Petals for Peace ceremony was blessed with the presence of the 2017 Nobel Peace medallion awarded to ICAN - the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons - for its work in developing and advocating for the successful adoption of the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 122 states parties adopted it, 50 need to ratify it to become international law. To date 22 countries have ratified it. The treaty created the international norm that it is illegal to design, develop, produce, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons and it provides positive obligations by those countries with nuclear weapons to remediate any damage caused by their production, development or use.

A Follow Up on the Two Fellons:

One of them is out on parole, and the second one died in prison this year.

pink roses white rose
pink roses white rose
pink roses white rose
pink roses white rose