Born in Schenectady, New York on December 5, 1950, Bill Scheurer earned a BA in English and religious studies from the University of Buffalo in 1972, and a JD from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1976. During his college years, he was involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement.
After completing his legal studies, Scheurer worked as a clerk for the New Jersey Superior Court (1976-77); an associate attorney for the law firm of Shanley & Fisher (1977-78); an associate counsel for the Allstate Insurance Company in Illinois (1978-83); CEO of the Welcome America risk-management corporation (1983-2001); and founder & CEO of the Internet company PocketCard Inc. (1998-2001).
Scheurer has also served variously as editor of the Peace Majority Report (2001-12); a member of Military Families Speak Out (2002-present); publisher of Hourglass Books, which produces collections of short fictional stories (2003-present); a participant member of the Peace and Security Initiative (2003-09); an initiator (along Kevin Zeese and others) of Voters For Peace (2006); a national council member of the interfaith group Fellowship of Reconciliation (2007-2015); interim executive director of Beyond War (2007-09); a board adviser to Save-A-Vet (2008-present); a founding participant in the National Peace Academy (2009); co-coordinator (with his wife) of the Chicago-based Peace Garden Project (2009-12); chief karma officer with KarmaKorn (2009-12); executive director of On Earth Peace, a Maryland-based organization that seeks to overcome “structural violence” with “the power of love” (May 2012-present); a national co-coordinator of the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign (2014-present); a steering committee member of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (2015-present); and a board adviser for the American Gun Safety Association (February 2018-present).
Moreover, Scheurer is active with such entities as On Earth Peace’s “Racial Justice Accountability” group, a Kingian Nonviolence group (where he is a certified trainer), and his local Black Lives Matter chapter.
Over the years, Scheurer has run several failed campaigns for political office, including a 2004 bid for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, and four unsuccessful runs for a U.S. House seat representing Illinois’s 8th Congressional District—in 2003 as a Democrat, 2006 as an independent peace candidate under the “Moderate Party” label, 2008 as a Democrat, and 2010 as a Green Party candidate. In Scheurer’s 2006 campaign:
In October 2007 Scheurer and a number of likeminded activists signed a statement telling the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and all American military personnel that “any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran” and its suspected nuclear facilities would be “illegal” and “criminal.” Fellow signatories included Tom Hayden, Michael Lerner, Cynthia McKinney, Marcus Raskin, Cindy Sheehan, Alice Slater, Norman Solomon, Gore Vidal, and Kevin Zeese.
In February 2009, Scheurer was a signatory—along with numerous left-wing authors, academics, and professionals—to an anti-Israel letter addressed to President Barack Obama. Assigning a moral equivalence to the Israelis and Palestinians, the letter: (a) lamented “the consequences of [the] cyclical violence” between those “two traumatized peoples, [both] gripped by fear and moral outrage, who have spiraled into escalating reverberating reactions of mutually provoked traumatic reenactment, endlessly ricocheting back and forth”; (b) stated that Israel should finally begin “addressing just grievances, and allowing [the Palestinians to experience] life with dignity, self-determination, prosperity and freedom”; (c) asserted that “people [such as the Palestinians] prefer to get their needs met by decent means, and resort to violence [only] when thwarted”; and (d) condemned “Israel’s overwhelming military reaction” to Palestinian acts of terrorism.
In October 2014 Scheurer signed a “National Call” to “Save Civilian Public Education,” a petition demanding an end to “efforts by groups outside the school system to inject conservatism and corporate values into the [classroom] learning process.” Fellow signers included such notables as Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden, Michael Parenti, and Cindy Sheehan.
In 2015 Scheurer, in behalf of On Earth Peace, created an “Anti-Racism Transformation Team.” “Like most institutions that hold most of the wealth and power in U.S. society today,” he explained, “On Earth Peace is a historically white organization, springing from a historically white denomination, both of which are laced with attitudes, policies, and practices that systemically reinforce unearned white privilege and limit full ownership and participation by people of color.” Scheurer further stated that his organization’s goal was to “model for other white-majority organizations” the process of “undoing the institutional racism within our own organization and community.”
For additional information on Bill Scheurer, click here.
Further Reading: “Bill Scheurer” (LinkedIn.com, MyLife.com, VoteSmart.org, OnEarthPeace.org); “Campaign Issues [for Scheurer’s 2006 Congressional Bid]” (by Bill Scheurer, 11-23-2005); “Whatever it Takes” (Huffington Post, 2-19-2009, re: anti-Israel letter to Obama); “A National Call: Save Civilian Public Education” (Chicago Indymedia, 10-7-2014).