Year in Review

This is what we’ve been up to this year:

October:

Through the Culture of Peace Forum, a project we have been a part of for seven years, we put on a production of “Metamorphosis II: The Corporation Strikes Back” a musical comedy about a man who falls asleep reading Kafka, and wakes up to find himself a corporation.  Will played the role of Chief Justice John Roberts, Arnie Alpert of AFSC (the author) played the lead role of ARMazon.com, and Elizabeth Ropp played the intern.  The Palestine Education Project, a special project of NH Peace Action Education Fund held a conference with keynote speaker Alice Rothchild.  We co-sponsored with NH AFSC and the Manchester creative club an art exhibit entitled “All of Us or None: Art for Change”.  Also in October, Will Hopkins was able to question Hillary Clinton on the Today show. An article about Clinton’s avoidance of the question received over 250,000 hits on US Uncut, and a video of the question and answer was viewed over 130,000 times.  We also co-sponsored two talks by Dr. Joseph Gerson about the dangers posed to all of humanity by Nuclear Weapons.  Also in October, 350NH dissolved as its own entity and became a special project of New Hampshire Peace Action Education Fund.

November:

November brought our Annual Fall Fundraiser, which featured Rob Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth. About 110 people attended; the event was fantastic.  Will was on the Arnie Arneson show (nationally syndicated) to read his Armistice Day poem “To My Children’s Teachers on Armistice Day” and discuss nationalism, issues of race, and militarism in US culture. He also went to Boston to speak on a panel at a Mass Peace Action conference keynoted by Noam Chomsky, who left sick before he had a chance to speak.  The panel was on tying movements together and looking at underlying causes.  Will also gave a workshop on Bird-Dogging with Arnie Alpert at that conference.  Will also did a radio interview on alternatives to violence with ISIS on WPTL before taking a break for a few days for Thanksgiving.  He wrapped up the month giving a speech at a 350NH rally in Portsmouth.

December:

In December, in response to remarks by NH Governor Maggie Hassan about turning back Syrian refugees, NHPA sponsored a rally in support of the refugees, which was well attended and got some good press.  On New Year’s Eve we supported a young woman who was trying to plan her first event, a photograph of candles in a peace sign on New Year’s Eve; she asked for us to share and invite our members, the peace sign was pulled off! As always, we co-sponsored the December 21 name reading of the homeless who died in the previous year.

January:

Olivia Zink (current C3 Board Chair, then grassroots engagement coordinator for the AFSC GUI program, and current Director of Open Democracy) and Will trained a group of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans from around the Northeast who had four or five successful questions at the Republican Convention- this was organized by a group called Beyond the Choir. The training itself made it into the Intercept where Lee Fang wrote an article about it.  Bird-dog support and engaging with GUI became primary near the end of January.

February:

The first couple weeks of February were primary season. Bird-dogging and travelling with GUI were most of what NH Peace Action did.  We got a few good media hits and questions to candidates from this, and thousands saw GUI banners and received  handouts.  Our annual board retreat and strategic envisioning was held on the 13th. Later in the month, we co-sponsored an event entitled “Reparationists are the New Abolitionists” as part of the Culture of Peace Forum.

March:

In March we hosted the Buddhist Monks on their “Walk for a New Spring” on Monday the 14th at the Concord Friends Meeting.

 

This year’s March conference was to be keynoted by Jim Pope, but he had a medical complication and was unable to come, so the conference was keynoted by Peter Kellman, who gave a history of the labor movement and how it has supported economic equality and encouraged peace. It was an excellent talk, loved by all, and received plenty of feedback.  The culture of peace award was given to Dick Dutton, who among many other things, founded the Kids For Peace program in NH. The conference workshops also had very positive feedback, although the conference itself was poorly attended.  Lesson learned:  never hold a conference on Easter Weekend.

April:  On the Eighth of April, Kevin Bowe, a documentarian filmed about four hours of footage of Will telling his story of coming to peace.

The Culture of Peace Forum showing of “This Changes Everything” was very well attended (roughly 60 attendees), Will facilitated discussion, and the showing was very successful.

With co-sponsors, we screened and helped outline discussion protocols, and publicized for the showing of Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” on Thursday the 21st .  Tax Day actions were very successful; we distributed 250 flyers in Manchester and Concord, and met with staff from all four of our DC representatives.  About ten people came to the meeting and flyering.

May:

The major program item this month was the showing of “Where to Invade Next” at the Manchester UU, it was well attended, and we got good feedback from attendees. This was a co-sponsored showing, and Curt represented NHPA, as Will was in Idaho.

The Nuclear Weapons Working Group (a joint project of AFSC and NHPA formed out of the GUI program) has completed a congressional briefing packet to be delivered to Congressional and Senate candidates and has begun planning for this year’s Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration.

On the C4 side, candidate questionnaires were finalized, and sent out to candidates.  The C4 did in the end vote to recommend endorsement by the National Peace Action PAC of Carol Shea-Porter.

The ISIS committee helped Will reach an end-point with his article to kick off our Alternatives to Violence with ISIS campaign.  The article appeared in our spring newsletter with a call to bring Will to churches, rotary groups, and other community organizations to talk about the conflict with ISIS.  It also appeared in Truthout in late June.

On Saturday the 21st, Doreen tabled at the annual March Against Monsanto, which had relatively poor turnout this year.  She did collect some names for our email list.

On Wednesday the 25th, Will attended a Jim Rubens foreign policy event, and made a good contact with a republican State rep, James McConnel, who is also a former Lt Col in the US Army and was highly critical of US “Nation Building Wars” which he called a failed policy.   This led to another meeting with Rubens, on June 2, on nuclear weapons and ISIS (just Arnie, Will, John Raby, and Jim).

June:

Will H and NH Peace Action Board Member, Will Thomas went to Massachusetts to sing in the chorus for a Veterans For Peace music video project “Extremists For Peace”, led by Pat Scanlon.  Will gave his ISIS presentation to Concord HS Amnesty International on Wednesday the 8th.  We had a good discussion, and several of the students who attended later came to Peace of Mind.

Will, Arnie, John Raby, and Judy Elliot of the Nuclear Weapons Working Group met with Maggie Hassan’s Campaign Political Director about nuclear policy, which she seems pretty good on. Her policy director was unapologetic about her remarks on Syrian refugees, and says she “stands by her remarks.”

The compassionate listening project event on June 9 went very well, and we had a great discussion after it.

On Monday the 13th, Will organized and trained a peacekeeping team for the Donald Trump event at St. Anselms.  The team consisted of Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger, Rev. Lynn Marshall, Rev. Jason Wells, Rev. Gray Fitzgerald, Rev. Mark Ferrin, Mark Barker, Will, and Rob Spencer. Needless to say, there were no instances of violence.  Will had also half-organized a seacoast team when that event was cancelled.  On the 25th, Will gave his ISIS presentation at the Progressive Summit to a small group.

Will Thomas, Will Hopkins, Arnie Alpert, Judy Elliot, and John Raby met with Bud Fitch from Kelley Ayotte’s office, he listened respectfully and said he would pass the information on to the Senator.

NH Peace Action also tabled at Market Days in Concord, which is always a good chance to talk to a lot of people about what we do.  Many, many thanks to all the volunteers who man the booth.  Special thanks to Ginny Timmons who spent countless hours each day volunteering.

July :

July 2 marked the Annual Membership meeting, 35 or so attended.  We voted to endorse the School of the Americas action this year.  Our speaker, Jeff Klein of Mass Peace Action, who had just returned from Syria, did a great job re-framing the current crisis in Syria as one created largely by over a century of colonialism. Klein argued that the situation on the ground is one which really only has two primary poles of power, one around Assad and his alliance with Russia, and the other being formed by the Islamic State and radical jihadists backed by the United States who are primarily concerned with the downfall of Assad and see radical Islam as a lesser evil in Syria.

Will was interviewed on Making Waves radio about his Islamic State article on July 7. Also on the seventh, he met with Carol Shea-Porter and two of her advisors along with the rest of the Nuclear Weapons Working Group.  We hosted the regional Peace Action leadership retreat over the weekend of the 15th to the 17th, Will also presented his ISIS presentation to about 30 at the World Fellowship Center over the weekend.  On Tuesday the 19th the Nuclear Weapons Working Group met with Rich Ashooh (Republican Candidate for CD-1 House of Representatives and former BAE executive).

August :

The Annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembrance had a great program, attendance was actually a bit above average, but disappointing nonetheless- as the program was stellar. We held it on August 6, Judy Elliot and John Raby presented at NEC, followed by a march to the Capitol arches for a demonstration of how many nuclear weapons currently exist, using BBs to symbolize nuclear weapons.  After, we marched to the river to lay flowers and share reflections.  Will MC’ed the event which was cosponsored by us, AFSC, and UCC Peace with Justice Advocates.

Will gave his ISIS presentation to about 30 at the Manchester UU on Sunday the 7th, it was well received, and the fifth time Will has given it. The Nuclear Weapons Working Group finished meeting with the last few candidates for federal office in August, meeting with Jack Flanagan and Ann McLane Kuster.  Also of note in August, NH Peace Action 501c(4) endorsed Carol Shea-Porter, but as we did not receive questionnaires back from others (outside of that race), made no other endorsements.

On Thursday, August 25, our 350NH arm held a 2PM rally before delivering about 2000 signatures to Governor Hassan calling on her to support investment in offshore wind research.  Turnout was excellent for a week-day afternoon, and Will spoke, making the connection between militarism and fossil fuels.

On Friday, August 26, NH Peace Action 501c(4) was contracted through MoveOn.org to organize an event at Kelly Ayotte’s office, where veterans called on Senator Ayotte to disavow her support of Donald Trump.  The event went very well, with good speakers and eight attendees, but no media showed up. It was a 1:00 PM event on a weekday organized in a week, and Matt Murray from NH Labor News did publish a story using our pictures and press release.  The small shot in the arm will help the C4 make its budget this year.

September:

Over the weekend of September 3 and 4, we held our annual Peace of Mind Conference, 15 youth attended, and the program was great.  Youth feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  We kicked off the weekend with a panel on how big money controls our political process featuring Becky Wasserman, Arnie Alpert, Kaity Thomson, and Katherine Thorndike.  Arnie then led an overview of what Nonviolence is and how it works, and finally, Alex Freid led a workshop on goals-based campaign development and movement theory.  Thankfully, we did have a small contingent of new Americans, keeping our youth base diverse.  Visits to the pond, sunrise hike, talent show, humor, and relaxation were also on the docket for the youth.

On September 10, we tabled at Laconia Multicultural Days, thanks to Krisan Evenson and Tom & Bev Westheimer for doing the lion’s share of the work around this.  The Palestine Education Network (another arm of NHPA) also had a table at the festival, both of us sold some chum, got some email signups and met new people who are interested in our work.

On September 21, “A Peace of Pizza for Peace” took place on the Statehouse lawn with speakers, music, and pizza commemorating the UN International Day of Peace.  Local pizzerias volunteered a small portion of their proceeds for the day to fund grass roots peace work, and we had a little festival on the statehouse lawn including pizza, music, and tables.  Rik Yeames, local Dominos franchisee spearheaded this project.

We hired Hannah Eliason, a senior at Concord High School, to take over for Emily Spencer as our membership renewal advocate a couple of weeks ago, and the rest of September was mostly devoted to preparation for our 34th Annual Fall event and Fundraiser, featuring Celene Ibrahim, a Muslim feminist scholar and theologian who will present from her perspective how to effectively oppose the violence of the Islamic State.

 

Save The Date!

NH Peace Action Education Fund’s Annual Event will be held on October 14, 2016 at the Bektash Shrine Center in Concord.  Our Keynote speaker will be Celene Ibrahim, who Celene in front of brick wallholds a historic joint faculty appointment as the Islamic Studies Scholar-in-Residence at Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School, where she co-directs the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE).  She also lectures and publishes widely on topics including the histories and theologies of interreligious relations, Islamic religious leadership and higher education, Islam and Muslims in North America, Islamic family law, Muslim feminist theology, and Qur’anic studies.

Doors open at 5 pm with cocktails and hor d’oeuvres.  Buffet dinner will begin at 5:30.

Live music is tentatively scheduled by Feisty Pants, local musicians John Burlock and Rachel Vogelzang!

Tickets are Member: $40 advance/$50 at the door.  Non member $50.

email doreen@nhpeaceaction.org or call 228-0559

 

Annual Fall Fundraiser

SAVE THE DATE!

 NH Peace Action Education Fund Fall Fundraiser will feature Artist Rob Shetterly of American’s Who Tell the Truth.

Robert´s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell”, and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth. The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline.

You can read more on his website: http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/

Cocktails at 5, sit-down dinner at 6.  Details will be mailed soon.

NH Peace Action Annual Membership Meeting

Please  join us on June 13th for our Annual Membership Meeting featuring Keynote speaker Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace and Co-Chair of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! Coalition”.  Michael will address how the epidemic of police violence against unarmed black men in the United States is a part of the struggle for Peace and Justice.   mcphearson

Please see the full event listing by clicking HERE.

Schedule for Saturday, April 18th

7th Annual BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE: Overcoming Money in Politics

Saturday, April 18
Plymouth State University Boyd Hall

9:30 Check-in
10:00 Welcome
10:15 Keynote by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of  State Colin Powell.
11:05 Bird-dog Training and Advanced Bird-dog Training
12:05 Brown Bag Lunch
1:00 Workshops Block 1
2:00 Workshop Block 2
3:00 March and Rally

10:00 WELCOME – Room 144

10:15 KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Room 144

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Wilkerson has criticized many aspects of the Iraq War, including his own preparation of Powell’s presentation to the Unite Nations. He appears as a frequent Republican commentator on The Ed Show with Ed Schultz on MSNBC commenting about the problems with Republican Party. An expert in foreign policy, Wilkerson offers honest criticism of America’s policies on war and militarism.

11:05 – 12:05 BIRD-DOG TRAINING – Rooms 001 & 005

Bird dog activists attend candidate events to speak their concerns publicly, for all to see and hear. They lift up the issues that matter and educate the candidates, the media who follow them and the public. We, New Hampshire residents, can shift the political tides of the nation through our incomparable access to the Presidential candidates. When we tell the candidates what’s on our minds, they listen. We affect their policy positions and their stump speeches. With good preparation, we can drive the political discourse towards justice, peace, and democracy.   Led by American Friends Service Committee’s Governing Under the Influence Team – Olivia Zink, Addy Simwerayi, Judy Elliott and Eric Zulaski.

ADVANCED BIRD-DOG TRAINING- Room 236

If you’ve already been to an AFSC bird dog training, and you’ve been out bird-dogging more than once, here’s a chance to boost your skills.  This workshop will cover bird-dogging strategy, adapting to the environment, and reporting on what happened.  You’ll get  chance to share your stories of successes and disappointments with other experienced bird dogs.    Led by Arnie Alpert, Co-Director, AFSC/NH.

Block 1 Workshops 1pm to 2 pm

IS OUR WORLD REALLY ‘UNRAVELING’? – Room 144

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson will discuss “The Unraveling”, an essay by Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, wherein he describes a global scene–and specifically the region of the Middle East–as more like the Thirty Years War than the post-WWII cold but relatively stable conflict between the US and the USSR.  What does such an unraveling of a half-century’s hard work by America mean and who or what is most responsible for this state of affairs?  If Haass’ portrayal of the power situation in the world is accurate, what is the best course of action for the United States?

BIG MONEY, DARK MONEY, AND POLITICAL CORRUPTION AFTER CITIZENS UNITED – Room 005

Rick Bourdon will present a brief history of campaign finance efforts leading up to the Citizens United ruling. He will also cover trends in political spending, the rise in outside (independent) spending, corruption and the ongoing and proposed reform efforts. Rick Bourdon is a member of the board of Open Democracy, the Concord based reform group founded by Doris “Granny D” Haddock.

CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION AND MONEY IN POLITICS- Room 236

The last few decades, money has gained overwhelming influence over our political system, keeping us from addressing the most basic problems facing our country. The undue influence of large donors and special interest money has a significant impact on what public policy issues are addressed and which policy alternatives are considered. The policy and politics of addressing the challenge of climate change will be examined in the context of a post Citizens United v. the FEC campaign finance system. Rob Werner, NH State Director, League of Conservation Voters.

APRIL 18TH GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST UNFAIR TRADE – Room 001

Bonnie Wright will be speaking about the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), massive trade deals that will affect not only food safety and environmental issues, but all aspects of our lives. She will also discuss how Big Business has already stalled, and is trying to prevent our right to know what we are eating with the DARK Act, a federal bill recently introduced in Congress to block GMO labeling. Bonnie Wright is the founder of NH Right to Know GMO, a statewide grassroots network of safe food advocates. Volunteers work together to educate NH citizens, our state legislators, and members of the US Congress, about genetically engineered foods, commonly called Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs.

Block 2 Workshops 2 pm – 3 pm

PANEL DISCUSSION ON TACTICSRoom 144

Interactive panel discussion on how the goals and tactics of a campaign drive our movement. Olivia Zink, Grassroots Engagement Coordinator, AFSC/NH on bird-dogging, Lindsay Jakows, NH Campaign Coordinator for People for the American Way on local resolutions and Paul Brochu, NH State Coordinator for Stamp Stampede on culture jamming. Moderated by Susi Nord.

GMO: THE SCIENCE AND THE EVIDENCERoom 001

Daniela Connelly and Laura Wolfer will present the hard results of years of personal experience from two separate fields of science regarding the use of GMO products. An explanation of the practice of creating GMO and the potential harms that result. Daniela Connelly, MD is a Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician.  She and her husband run a meat CSA in Chester NH. Laura J. Wolfer holds an M.A. in Molecular Biology and an M.A. in Archaeology.  She is an avid farmer, biodynamic gardener, and naturalist.

WHAT DOES YOUR SIGN SAY?Room 236

            Demonstrations and protests need good signs! A well-made sign provokes thought and starts conversations. Matt Lawrence, NH League of Conservation Voters and Eric Zulaski, AFSC, will discuss what goes into making good signs, and we will make signs for the 3pm rally.

PRISONS, PROFITS, AND POLITICS – Room 005

The USA leads the world in incarceration.  One reason why:  there is plenty of money to be made building prisons, feeding prisoners, providing them with health care, and even running the facilities.    And where there’s money to be made, there’s potential for political influence to be purchased.  This workshop will explore where the profit motive drives high rates of incarceration and look at a couple of examples, including the immigrant detention bed quota, the successful campaign to block privatization of NH prisons, and a new proposal to privatize the state’s juvenile detention facility in Manchester. Arnie Alpert is the Co-director of American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) New Hampshire program. Addy Simwerayi is interning with AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project.

Conference Sponsors: NH Peace Action, Plymouth State University Peace & Social Justice Studies Council, PSU Office of Environment Sustainability, American Friends Service Committee-NH Program, Climate Action New Hampshire, Open Democracy, People for the American Way, Stamp Stampede.

 

Members Deliver Letters in Support of NIAC’s Day of Action for Diplomacy and Peace

Yesterday (3/2) three of us (Carolyn, Dave, and Will) visited the offices in Manchester, NH of NH’s senators – Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Frank Guinta to deliver letters from the National Iranian American Council in support of their Day of Action for Diplomacy and Peace.
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At Rep. Frank Guinta’s office                

At Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's office

At Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office

At Sen. Kelly Ayotte's office

At Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s office

Take Action Against New Iran Sanctions

During the fall of 2013, the peace movement mobilized, we called, wrote, and reached across the isle and we stopped a war, that didn’t stop our government from funding and arming the rebel group we now call ISIL- but we did stop a war.  Today, we must do it again.

For the first time in decades, diplomacy in Iran is finally panning out.  The State Department is putting the finishing touches on an agreement, that while it is currently not public, likely includes a relaxation of the crippling sanctions that have decimated the Iranian economy and full inspections of the Iranian nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Association.  While Obama has had his share of murderous foreign policies, it looks like his state department is very close to avoiding both Iran going down the path toward nuclear weapons, and the path of war.

But there is a problem, Senators Kirk and Menedez have introduced a sanctions bill, that in the words of one of its biggest supporters, Republican Senator Tom Cotton is designed “to put an end to these negotiations.”  A sanctions bill at this juncture is the only sure way to ensure a path to war.

Senator Ayotte has pledged to support the new sanctions bill, and I hope that has a significant political cost to her when she comes up for re-election next year.  Senator Shaheen, has not come down on either side.

I have made two trips down to DC to lobby and strategize about this, and as we expect the bill to be introduced any moment, we need to make sure both Senators know where the American people stand on unnecessary war.

Please Call or write both of our Senators and ask them to oppose the Kirk/Menendez sanctions bill and give diplomacy a chance to work!

Contact Senator Shaheen:

520 Hart SOB
Washington, DC 20510

Ph: (202) 224-2841

Contact Senator Ayotte:

144 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Ph: (202)224-3324