East Bay Citizens for Peace recognized and reflected on 20 years of peace and social justice activism last Saturday.
Over 250 vigils, 30 speakers, 17 documentaries, 45 Democracy Now programs, 5 potlucks, 2 parade floats, 3 fundraisers, 4 sing-a-longs, 15 panels, forums, discussions, study groups, 4 workshops and multiple visits to the offices of the congressional delegation — that’s how the East Bay Citizens for Peace measured 20 years of peace and social justice activism last Saturday.
“EBCP’s 20th birthday event ended up being more than I hoped for and a true honoring of our 20 years devoted to seeking peace and justice,” said Nancy Hood, one of the organization’s founding members. “The energy in the room was wonderful.”
The event was preceded by a cold and wet eight-person vigil on the sidewalk in front of the Bristol Post Office. Hood said that this was significantly less than the 106 people who stood in the snow at the group’s first vigil on March 8, 2003 to oppose the US invasion of Iraq, adding, “It is important to note that we are at a crucial time and the need for peaceful solutions is greater than 20 years ago.”
“For me the highpoint of the vigil was when singer-songwriter and longtime activist for peace and justice Joyce Katzberg honored us with her song ‘Not another mother’s son, not another father’s daughter,’ written right after Bristol’s Michael Andrade was killed in Iraq,” said Hood.
Politicians attended, including Councilman Aaron Ley and Reps. Susan Donovan and David Morales (D-7), who presented EBCP with a Citation of Congratulations from the RI House.
Not a group to rest on their laurels for long, EBCP is moving forward in collaboration with Just Peace RI, a local coalition of peace groups with an ambitious agenda that includes support for several bills at various stages working their way through the RI General Assembly. They include H-5973, a resolution to ask the Federal government to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW); H-5727, a resolution creating a special commission to study the effect nuclear war would have on the state; H-5452, a recommendation to change Victory Day (often erroneously called Victory over Japan Day) to “Peace and Remembrance Day”; H-5811, a bill calling for the state pensions to divest from investments in the weapons industry; a resolution welcoming The Golden Rule, a Ketch restored by Veterans for Peace, to Rhode Island this June; a program featuring Prof. Jared Goldstein of the RWU School of Law discussing recent changes to the Supreme Court; and getting more Democracy Now presentations and conversations on the calendar.