Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Northwest Tour

Peace Panel Project / 2014 Northwest Tour               2/3/14 – 2/9/14

Six days, Seven Peace groups, eleven relatives, and five nationally recognized people.

After two weeks of off and on planning, I had reached my limit trying to figure out how to get the most out of a drive to Tacoma; six days, seven peace groups, eleven relatives.  I packed as many easels (5) and 2’ x 4’ Peace Panels (15) as I could fit in my biodiesel Jetta and at six am Monday I was off to the Ashland Peace House, (APH). 

The APH is a nice office and library space in the local South Mountain Friends Meeting House, near Southern Oregon University.  There I had the pleasure of meeting with Herb and Estelle of APH and Allen Hallmark of Medford Citizens for Peace and Justice.  I was able to do a little presentation and discussion with the mini Peace Panels; got some good feed back, learned about their Hiroshima/Nagasaki Vigil and discussed future collaboration for an exhibit in Ashland in August. 

Met cousin.

Pulled into Portland a little low on fuel, so I filled up with B99 biodiesel for $3.99 per gallon, (cheaper than in Chico) at Star Oil Company.  According to their info, “Using  
Biodiesel…decreases carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80%.

Then I met with Mireaya Medina of American Friends Service Committee of Portland.  Mireaya and I had a great discussion of counter recruitment and other projects her group is working on.  She shared some brochures and the “Life After High School” workbook and the “Before You Enlist” DVD that I had not seen and would be useful for our counter recruitment efforts.  I had hoped to meet with folks at the Portland Peace & Justice Works but that didn’t work out.

Met more cousins.

Thursday, 7 pm I was at the meeting of Tacoma Veterans for Peace, (VFP), United for Peace in Pierce County, and People for Peace, Justice and Healing, at the First United Methodist Church.  I got to present a mini Peace Panel Project version of my proposal for the large exhibit at the VFP Conference that Saturday.  It was well received and I was encouraged to meet them at the Church at 7:30 am that Saturday to start the set up.

Met more cousins.

Saturday 7:30 am I was parking at the Church just feet from the VFP Conference room.  VFPs Hollis and Steve helped me set up.  The 5 easels and 15 Panels fit the space perfectly, to lots of gratitude from many of the 45 participants.  I was missing my table cloth and lettered table cover; even so, book sales were the best yet.  I almost felt sorry for my neighbors I was sharing the table with, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a really great group, whose sales were not quite as brisk.  Check out their web site   Also see the great Palestinian/Israel billboard the Spokane VFP did up North at   Apparently there are grants available to do billboards.  Let’s do one here too!    
I participated in the Counter Recruitment workshop presented by Mike Dedrick.  It was very encouraging.  One of the participants was an ex army recruiter!  Hopefully, I can get the DVD.  Their presentation included ideas like attending School Administrator’s Conferences and the school science fair, where military may have a presence.  He handed out a thick pocket folder, with some good brochures, a “Test Your Military IQ” test and lots more good info.   

Also the Militarism and Money Workshop by Robert Poteat was a great study in the relationship between national debt and war.  Very interesting. 

The Palestine /Israel workshop was fascinating with a presentation from Mike Hastie, a photojournalist, poet, graphic designer, VFP, and veteran of Vietnam.  He had some remarkable photos and graphics.  He talked about how after visiting the West Bank for a number of weeks the experience of Palestinians began to sink in.  “It was beyond words, it became emotional, it was in the tissues… under your skin.”  Words were inadequate, emotions were required.  It reminded him of what he experienced in Vietnam.  The next presenter was Craig Corrie.  He began his talk and it occurred to me this was the father of Rachel Corrie.  I was honored and calmed.  The Rachel Corrie story is perhaps the most moving story I have learned of in my activist career.  So I am listening to Craig Corrie and the next thing you know I realize I’m sitting next to Cindy Corrie!  Rachel’s Mom.  Craig said what we are doing to the Palestinians now, is what we did to the American Indians before the Civil War, slow genocide.  After the presentation, I got to talk to the Corries; mentioned our BDS work and the Rachel Corrie Peace Panel.   Hope to get a DVD of that workshop.

Got to meet decorated Army veteran Zahid Chaudhry, who despite honorable military service and being married to a US citizen is fighting deportation.  see   

Got to meet the national President of Veterans for Peace  Patrick McCann who, when in the military, refused his orders to go to Vietnam.  What a man.   He now teaches high school in Maryland.
See their web site :  www.    A great organization.
I met VFP Michael Jacobson who is a graphic designer who does a traveling exhibit “War is a Racket”.  He was wearing a t-shirt with an Eisenhower quote on the back, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.”   Neat shirt.

Met with Matt Patera of, our host, the 1st United Methodist Church.  He was so impressed with the Peace Panel Project, he arraigned to borrow 18 of the mini Panels for a Church exhibit later in the month.

Five pm rolled around and I packed up and headed to the next event.  “Does Privacy Matter?”  Surveillance, Secrecy and the National Security Agency”, with Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the NSA turned whistleblower and Jesselyn Radack former ethics advisor to the US Justice Department.  Where we were reminded, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “They who would give liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither.”  Be sure to see the movie, War On Whistleblowers, on U Tube.  Can democracy coexist with massive NSA surveillance?  You decide.   We were encouraged to call our Congressmen to support the USA FREEDOM Act.  The ACLU strongly supports the USA FREEDOM Act.  
 After their presentation I got to meet Thomas and Jesselyn.  I called Tom a hero.

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