Peace event scheduled for Greenfield Common

Peace event scheduled for Greenfield Common

Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — As part of a nationwide effort to gain support for an immediate withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq, local peace activists are hosting a “Declaration of Peace” day Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the Town Common.

“It’s time for everyone to stand up and declare peace, however they want to do that,” said Mary McClintock, who started the Greenfield Peace Vigil, which has been held every Saturday on the common since September 2003.

The Declaration of Peace movement is seeking people who will pledge to do one or more of the following:

Call on the Bush administration and Congress to immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq without further deployments.
Urge Congressman John Olver to adopt a position to bring the troops home and establish a comprehensive withdrawal plan.
Participate in rallies, marches, demonstrations and other peaceful strategies.
Engage is nonviolent civil disobedience, in the tradition of Mohandas Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., if the U.S. plan for withdrawal is not established by March 27 next year.
The plan calls for pro-peace activities to continue on a regular basis until U.S. troops have been withdrawn from Iraq.

Traprock Peace Center will set up a row of tents on the common, which will contain memorials honoring the war dead and wounded from all nationalities.

“I think this effort is really newsworthy, because it is in 50 states,” said Traprock Executive Director Sunny Miller. “But rather than one mass action, the points of contact are so numerous when we take up contact within the local community.”

Miller and Charles Jenks, Traprock advisory board chairman, say they are advising people to take whatever action they choose for peace on a daily basis — whether it’s contacting government leaders or flying banners for peace.

“We’re insisting that Congress represent us, now that the majority of the U.S. population has come to understand this war is completely wrong,” said Miller.

Carlos Arrendondo of Jamaica Plain will bring a display to honor his son, Alex Arredondo, 20, who was killed in Najaf, Iraq, in 2004.

At 11 a.m., the public will be invited to make signs and banners, along with members of the weekly peace vigil on the common.

At noon, there will be a speak-out/sing-out, with a public signing of the Declaration of Peace.

Between 1 and 4 p.m. will be workshops on the following: “The History of Nonviolence, Finding Your Support Group, and Students Against War;” a “Give Peace a Chance” youth talent theater improvisation for peace, and “Who’s Hurt by War? How Do We Heal: A Poem to Heal By.”

Miller said participants are welcome to bring poems and songs to share, along with posters and artwork.

At 4:30 p.m., there will be a potluck dinner at the Second Congregational Church Parish Hall, followed by a “Sing for Justice” at 5:30 p.m. in the parish hall.

After sundown, there will be a candlelight vigil on the Common, followed by evening conversation, songs and late snacks.

At least 300 events are planned nationwide between Sept. 21 to Sept. 28 to encourage support for the peace declaration.

For more information, call Traprock Peace Center at: 773-7427.