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Why we still vigil
Letters to Editors
Dec. 2, two MVPP members, Becci Bachman and Don Abbott, spoke at Merrimack
College to 2 sociology classes on the topic of Conflict Resolution.
They presented information on the global scope of movements for peace
and justice, the effectiveness of non-violent struggle in resolving
conflict and the role of the military in the "peace movement"
On Dec 3, MVPP
members attended Congressman Marty Meehan's Town Meeting in Concord,
MA. Congressman Meehan stated that he would co-sponsor HR 2410,
a bill that calls for medical and scientific studies on the impact
of the U.S. military's use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions.
On Dec. 2 -
7, MVPP co-sponsored the speaking tour of Camilo Mejia, the
first Iraq war veteran imprisoned for refusing to return to Iraq.
Former Staff Sargeant Mejia spoke to 2 gatherings in Lawrence, MA
on Dec. 7th. In the afternoon, Camilo spoke to around 80 students
at the Lawrence Public Library and in the evening, he spoke to about
50 MVPP members and friends as well as members of the Lawrence community
at Christ United Methodist Church. This articulate and thoughtful
young man spoke movingly of his journey to honor his conscience
in spite of the consequences.
On Dec. 11th,
MVPP President, Bobbie Goldman, and Vice- President, Becci Bachman
attended the teach-in and organizing conference "Israel/Palestine:
Where do we go from here?" The workshop was sponsored by
UJP Israel-Palestine Task Force and the Harvard Society of Arab
MVPP has distributed
almost 200 counter-recruitment packets, “Think Before You Enlist”,
to schools and other organizations working with young people. The
packet includes a DVD featuring Iraq war veterans and family members
of veterans who tell their stories about the costs of this war. For
more information, go to http://www.merrimackvalleypeopleforpeace.org/EnlistNo.htm
Nov. 3-8 Eyes
Wide Open AFSC exhibition on the human costs of the Iraq war
featured (a) a pair of boots (over 2000 in all) honoring each US
military casualty; (b) a field of shoes; and (c) a Wall of Remembrance
to acknowledge the untold number of innocent Iraqi casualties in
the conflict. The display was set up first on Boston Common and
then moved to Copley Square and some MVPP members assisted in the
set-up of this very tragic display of the costs of war.
Fri. Nov. 4
- MVPP co-sponsored journalist Dahr Jamahl in Gloucester,
and had lots of table sales
Tues. Nov 8
- Martina Cruz was elected to a seat on the Lawrence School Committee.
Martina ran on a counter recruitment platform and distributed opt-out
and counter recruitment materials throughout her campaign. Many
MVPP members supported her candidacy and volunteered at the polls.
Wed. Nov. 9
No Child Left Behind for League of Women Voters at
Andover Library was attended by three MVPP members. The superintendents
of Andover and North Andover spoke about their growing understanding
of the Opt Out requirements and access issues for those countering
the view presented by military recruiters.
Fri. Nov. 18
-Seven MVPP members joined Katie Lundquist (Andover High senior)
and approximately 70 Andover High School students at an hour-long
vigil in solidarity with National Stand Down Day. Katie read an
eloquent statement calling for any end to the war on Iraq.
Nov. 29 Meeting
prioritized our Camilo events in Lawrence, and all present
reached in their pockets to donate about $150 to buy buttons to
give to the students at the Camilo event. We agreed to focus on
increasing public awareness about DU and to continue with counter-recruitment
efforts, especially in Lawrence. Pat Scanlon described his new CD
(Blue State Liberal) and requested that we host its unveiling on
January 21 at the North Parish Coffee House. Our membership continues
Nov. 22 MVPP
held its annual Stone Soup Dinner at the North Parish Church
in North Andover. We shared a simple meal, and raised $325 for Oxfam
America. The soup was quite tasty and the company (a group of about
25) superb! After the meal, the film The Doctor, The Depleted
Uranium and the Dying Children was shown. This film graphically
displays the effects of US and British use of depleted uranium weapons
in Iraq and Bosnia. The film documents the increased incidence of
cancer and birth defects in civilians and military personnel who
had contact with these weapons or debris.
to gather signatures for the National Guard referendum (trying
to get a ballot question on next years election to bring the
National Guard Home). Unfortunately, the Home From Iraq Now campaign
was only able to collect 30, 000 of the needed 100,000 signatures.
Fri, Oct. 7th
- MVPP was one of the sponsors and numerous members attended the
UJP fundraiser in Cambridge, MA honoring Noam Chomsky
counter-recruitment DVD packets to educators, students, counselors
and many others working with youth.
At our monthly
meeting, we voted donations to Guatemala and Pakistan, and to
defray the cost of the Oct 29th rally.
Wed, Oct 26
Masood invited MVPP members, friends and family to the Selimiye
Camil mosque in Methuen where we participated in ending the
daily fast practiced during the holy month of Ramadan.
Sat. October 29 Stop the War Mobilization on The Boston Common.
At least a dozen MVPP members joined an estimated crowd of about
2000 demonstrators gathered on the Common to protest the ongoing
US occupation of Iraq. Featured speakers included Cindy Sheehan,
Felix Arroyo (Boston City Counselor), Gold Star Families for Peace
and Klare Allen (2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee). Following the
speakers, Cindy Sheehan led a march thru downtown Boston.
Bread and Roses Festival: Labor Day table in Lawrence from 1
pm to 6 pm. Many of the estimated 10,000 attendees visited our booth,
signed petitions, picked up literature, and purchased merchandise.
Many thanks to Bill Sweet of AFSC for his assistance and literature
countering the military's recruitment of our youth.
Peace Festival: September 11 in Amesbury; we set up our tables
at this Festival, organized by "Kids and K9Assist of Amesbury."
More than 1,000 adults and kids, along with their tail-wagging friends,
visited Woodsom Farm and many stopped by the MVPP booth. They signed
petitions, learned about MVPP's activities, and purchased merchandise.
Again, our heartfelt thanks to Bill Sweet of AFSC for his able contributions
March on Washington, Sept. 24. Over 150,000 (Washington Post
est. 9/24. Other estimates are over 300,000) marchers told the government
to leave Iraq, now. About a dozen of us were there.
See writeup by Mary and Jim Todd.
We started distributing the counter recruitment packet and DVD,
"Think Before You Enlist: A Reality
events supplemented those of UJP with a focus on Hiroshima on
Sat. August 6 and a candlelight vigil for Nagasaki on Monday
August 8. Many joined the Ratheon vigil Tuesday morning.
August 19, 20, Friday and Saturday: Leafleted at Wakefield against
BeNow, Wakefield, MA. BeNow provides a database to help military
Cindy Sheehan candlelight vigils: August 17, directed nationally
by MoveOn. We had 83 people speaking and singing. MVPP members joined
other solidarity vigils in Gloucester (300-310 people), Ipswich (65
people), and Market Square in Newburyport (150+ people). Additionally,
about half a dozen members attended the vigil in Boston Common on
the previous Saturday evening, August 13; Paul Brailsford, 89, of
Ipswich, founding member of Veterans for Peace and long-time MVPP
member, was featured in a large photograph in the August 14th Boston
Herald, as he asked: Why did you make this war? Did you make
it for oil? Lets get one big cheer for Cindy.
July 28, table from 11 am to 8 pm. With Greater Lowell for Peace
and Justice. People sometimes were lined up 3-5 deep for information,
including many veterans and military family members.
its new canopy at the League of Women Voters' Andover Days, held
on the Andover Common. MVPP members talked with newcomers to Andover.
Hearing - Rep. Gloria Fox Legislation
June 9th, Becci and Peter joined more than 300 citizens of Greater
Boston in the State House to support Representative Gloria Fox's
legislation to regulate Level 2, 3 and 4 so-called "BioSafety
Labs." (Level 4 facilities test mostly biological agents for
which there is no known antidote or cure). The panel emphasized
the need for the proposed legislation, because no other state or
local regulations adequately address the accountability for these
facilities. The Committee on Natural Resources, which conducted
the hearing, asked pointed questions of both the proponents of the
legislation and BU's experts. Delay would lead to the facility being
built outside of Massachusetts, where opposition is not organized
and such legislation might not be demanded.
Common - 230th Birthday of the Army June 14
On the 230th Birthday of the US Army, the Cambridge Common hosted
an Army encampment, with humvees, paratroopers parachuting from
Blackhawk helicopters and an Army recruitment effort. Becci joined
the more than 200 demonstrators who ringed the encampment and chanted
throughout the ceremony that included Cambridge mayor Michael Sullivan,
Army brass, and families of serving and fallen soldiers. Before
the ceremony began, three demonstrators, including Joe Gerson of
AFSC, were arrested for failure to move quickly enough when ordered
to do so by the Cambridge Tactical Police Force (TPF). The chants
may not have been polite enough for some in attendance, but as the
Army was departing, an Army major thanked Becci and other demonstrators
for our presence and message.
in Lawrence June 18-19,
participated in the weekend culmination of Hispanic Week. On Saturday
we set up our canopy and tables to distribute counter recruitment
materials. We also roamed the throngs distributing literature and
buttons ("Students Not Soldiers" and "Demilitarize
Our Schools"). Fourteen returned Sunday, to be the lead group
(after the Queens of Semana Hispana of various ages) in the Hispanic
Week Parade. We carried PEACE flags, periodically chanting "Bring
the Troops Home, Now/Bring the Troops Home," and were cheered
as we marched. Following the Parade, we again distributed counter
recruitment literature. We made valuable contacts for future work
On May 1, 7
MVPPers rode the UJP bus to NYC for the anti-nuclear march to Central
Park. Other members met us there or went on their own.
an Andover vigil, a passer by gave us pictures
from a DC memorial display for the now more than 1,600 soldiers
killed in Iraq (opens in a separate wwindow).
On May 5, we
had our initial meeting with key folks from Lawrence to start to
plan counter-recruitment efforts at the High School and at Latino
May 7, MVPP
co-sponsored Zac Galen and Laura Imhoff performing at the Coffee
House at Locke Street. Zacs Dad and Lauras Mom are active
members of MVPP, and a good time was had by all.
We made it to
National Catholic Reporter !
co-sponsored Dave Lippman, AKA George Shrub, the Singing CIA agent
at The Coffee House at Locke Street.
On April 9th,
a number of us participated in the Death and Taxes march from the
IRS to Raytheon in Andover.
We have sold
almost nine cases of Palestinian olive oil, to rave reviews.
to have new people join us at our various vigils. The town of Andover
is limiting our tabling at Old Town Hall to every other week in
spring because of so many other requests to use that area, but they
are allowing ushave a vigil with the table further South on Main
Street near the Andover Book Store. We can hold a vigil any time
at Town Hall without the table.
had a meeting with Prasannan Parthasarathi on March 6 to discuss the
BU Bioweapons Lab, including possible strategies to oppose it.
The Buddhist Monks from the Peace
Pagoda walked through our area again on the" Walk for
a New Spring," encouraging us to contact our mayors to follow
the call of Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima to abolish all nuclear weapons.
In spite of bad weather, we enjoyed music and dancing at the
Sing, Swing, Sway and Speak for Peace event.
The Eagle Tribune wrote an
article about our vigil on the two year anniversary of the
invasion of Iraq. (Opens in a separate window: click March 20,
then Local, then scroll down)
We went to rallys in NYC Saturday, and Boston Sunday,
On March 25th, 9 MVPPers attended the vigil in Reading against the
death penalty. Afterwards, many of us watched the DVDs Noble
Larson filmed of the Iraqi War Veterans Tour to discuss ways of using
it in our counter-recruitment efforts.
Veterans Against the War visited U Mass/Lowell, February 2, on
their tour. Four MVPP members attended, and saw Kelly Dougherty.
The 3rd Annual
Strategy Conference of United for Justice with Peace took place
in Boston on February 7. Four MVPP members attended.
13th, representatives of ten area peace and justice groups met in
Lowell to develop concrete strategies to combat military recruitment
efforts among youth. Four MVPP members attended.
details on above in the March 2005 Newsletter,
MVPP board and finance committees met with Peace Vision Project,
and decisions were later reached that MVPP would not handle the
project's growing financial tasks.
We had our January
Potluck dinner to which we invited other peace groups and
members of the Selimiye Mosque in Methuen, with discussion afterwards
asking questions of members of the Mosque. We also collected voluntary
donations for Adopt-A-Minefield at the dinner.
A few MVPP members
have been participating in a series of workshops on organizational
development for peace activists sponsored by UJP. The January workshop
focused on racism and classism.
voted to co-sponsor an ad in the Lowell Sun with Grotons
Planning for Peace, explaining about the Not One Damn Dime Campaign,
but the Sun refused to publish the ad.
$250 of MVPP funds along with MVPP member, Barbara Haack, who
was traveling in Cambodia and Thailand, and she donated it to a
very good local group in Indonesia, Named the Society for
Health, Education, Environment, and Peace (SHEEP).
Peace Vision Project update.
At the MVPP meeting at the end of October, Jane Cadarette proposed
that the organization fund $1,000 to see if it would be possible
to bring a young Iraqi woman, Ahlam Nijim, to the U.S. in an effort
to restore her sight, lost when she was shot in the face while working
for a U.S. reconstruction contractor. Those present at the meeting
unanimously voted to allocate this funding, provided an effort was
made to replenish the MVPP account with new gifts totaling $1,000.
As of January 14, $1,070 has been received from members and friends
of the organization.
for highlights in 2002 - 2003, 2004,
2006 , 2007,
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015,
2016, 2017, 2018,
People for Peace meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday,
at 7:30 pm, at
North Parish Church, North Andover.
Merrimack Valley People for Peace (978) 685-1389
P.O. Box 573
North Andover, MA 01845
to post on the website to firstname.lastname@example.org