Billboards with Peace Message from Albert Einstein launched in Schenectady on September 7, 2018

September 2018 Capital District Billboards with Albert Einstein quote.
Taken at Erie Blvd. during the September 7th billboard launch by Priscilla Fairbank

After a great deal of logistical and administrative work by Priscilla Fairbank and others (including Kate Cavanaugh and Marcia Hopple) a second set of billboards with an antiwar message went up in Schenectady and Albany. To read more about the reasons for the billboards, the national context of their display, and the locations of both billboards that will be up for the whole month of September and perhaps a bit beyond that check out Priscilla’s blog article posted at the end of August on our blog, Waging Peace

What was especially nice about this billboard launch (on Erie Blvd a little past Monroe Street in Schenectady) was the planned participation of many members of Schenectady neighbors For Peace who moved their usual Friday Noon vigil to the location of the billboard and arrived with signs and lots of energy.

As photographer, Lori Van Buren headlined her photo in the TU Regional Section on September 9th “Peace Groups Team Up for Billboards”  And speaking of media coverage, thanks go to media maven Maureen Aumand  who reached out to attract two TV stations as well as the Times Union.

Here are two unpublished photos of the billboard and the late vigil gathering taken by Lori Van Buren of the Times Union.

Members of Women Against War and their supporters join the Schenectady Neighbors for Peace and members of Upper Hudson Peace Action to launch one of two billboards, this on Erie Boulevard Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Schenectady, N.Y. The other billboard will be on Central Ave. in Albany west of Westgate Plaza and Yardboro Avenue, facing east. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union)

Members of Women Against War and their supporters join the Schenectady Neighbors for Peace. and members of Upper Hudson Peace Action to launch one of two billboards, this on Erie Boulevard Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Schenectady, N.Y. The other billboard will be on Central Ave. in Albany west of Westgate Plaza and Yardboro Avenue, facing east. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union)

When we gathered together around 11:30 am that morning there was a growing number of Women Against War joining the vigil to support the message and attract the attention of drivers on the busy boulevard. Jackie Donegan of Schenectady Neighbors for Peace had a large sign reading Honk for Peace, which elicited much honking and raised our spirits.

One more excellent piece of writing came out of the billboard launch in the form of a letter to the editor from WAW member and Steering Committee member, Kate Cavanaugh.  She further explored Albert Einstein’s ideas about war, and created a bridge to the Grannies for Peace September 21st vigil to End Endless War.

Now we’ll let the pictures taken by Mabel Leon and Priscilla Fairbank speak for themselves:

Priscilla being interviewed at the billboard, photo by Mabel Leon

Greg and Michael, September 7, 2018, photo by Mabel Leon

Schenectady billboard, September 7, 2018. photo by Mabel Leon

Part of Schenectady Neighbors for Peace contingent on the median, photo by Mabel Leon

On the median at Erie Boulevard, September 7, 2018, photo by Mabel Leon

Marcia, Fran, Doreen and Pat at billboard launch, September 7, 2018, photo by Mabel Leon

Schenectady billboard launch, photo by Priscilla Fairbank

Group gathered near our billboard at the end of our vigil on September 7, 2018, photo by Mabel Leon

Martin, Greg, Mabel and Maureen at the September 7th billboard launch in Schenectady NY. Photo by Priscilla Fairbank.

Final gathering on sidewalk near the billboard, Sept. 7, 2018, photo by Priscilla Fairbank

Alexandra and Mickie with signs, and Kim Kennedy’s handmade banner, at the beginning of the September 7th billboard launch on Erie Blvd. Schenectady. Photo by Priscilla Fairbank

Women Against War shared signs, organizing skills and presence at the diverse, spirited Franklin Graham counter-demonstration on August 25, 2016 at Capitol Park West

Counter vigil to Franklin Graham, Thursday, August 25, 2016, photo by Matt Hamilton/TU

Counter vigil to Franklin Graham, Thursday, August 25, 2016, photo by Matt Hamilton/TU

After receiving news that the Reverend Franklin Graham would be coming to Albany for a stop on his “Decision America 2016” fifty state tour for what was billed as a “prayer rally” to be held in Capitol Park West; members of the progressive faith community, the LGBT community and the peace and justice community organized a silent, peaceful counter demonstration to call attention to Graham’s long history of Islamophobia, anti LGBT rhetoric and vision of a Christian-centric, divisive United States.

Women Against War took the lead in organizing a meeting place and in sharing our banners and signs – and especially our presence at the demonstration.

Dot holding one end of the Grannies' banner. Photo by Elaine Klein

Dot holding one end of the Grannies’ banner. Photo by Elaine Klein

In the words of Dot Richards, a Quaker Granny for Peace:

I guess ‘protest’ is a word you could use, (but) we kind of like to think that we are trying to bring a universal message: God is love. … God is mystical — and that’s the word we see in all creeds. So we try to bring down the rhetoric and to show that we are all one.

Washington Avenue end of counter vigil for Franklin Graham, photo by Elaine Klein

Alexandra Lusak on right of photo, holding two signs, Spread Love Not Hate and Defend the Muslim Community. Photo by Elaine Klein

And Reverend Alexandra Lusak, a member of the Women Against War Iran Project, said in an interview with Asa Stackel of WNYT:

When Rev. Graham says there is only one way to god, I think that really builds barriers between people

For many more photos and extensive links to background information please see this article on our Waging Peace blog:

Beautiful, colorful messages of love at Graham prayer rally.  Photo by Lori Van Buren/TU

Beautiful, colorful messages of love at Graham prayer rally. Photo by Lori Van Buren/TU

Albany Student Press Reports on Marjorie Cohn’s Visit

WAW In the News: Drones and Targeted Killing Lecture by Marjorie Cohn
Albany Student Press reports on Marjorie Cohn’s most recent publication, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues,” an interdisciplinary examination of the United States’ policy on targeted killings and the use of drones. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Albany’s United University Professions chapter (Peace and Justice Committee) and Women Against War.August 26th