Grannies for Peace vigil for an End to Endless War, on September 21, 2018, The International Day of Peace.

On an extremely windy evening 20 Grannies for Peace and their allies held a vigil to call for an end to endless war. We were there on the occasion of The International Day of Peace. A commemorative day that was established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution. As it says on their website: “Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.”    

We stood from a little before 5 PM to 6 PM.  Because of the high winds we were unable to unfurl most of our banners. But we did hold the Women Against War banner. Wendy brought two peace flags of her own. Joan and Harry brought their peace flag. Pete also brought some sturdy plastic signs that he attached to poles at the spot where traffic came off the Northway heading to Central Avenue or Wolf Road.

A small committee of Grannies planned this vigil, including Joan, Doreen and Dot, with help from others on the usual tasks involving outreach. Our numbers were smaller than usual because several of us were out of town or had schedule conflicts. Nevertheless we still made a colorful and passionate group to which commuters responded with honks and peace signs.

Our outreach flyer shared our reasons for being there with these words, written by Maud:

Enough!
End Endless War!

War is not the answer. Let’s declare war on war so that the outcome is peace upon peace.
Let’s work to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

And now for the pictures, taken by Harry Thornhill:

Grannies for Peace, SJC contingent, with Tom Ellis. Photo by John Amidon


There is also a short, 2 minute video taken by John Amidon.

Nov. 1 2012: Grannies, Vets and Unitarians Perform Our Pieces of Peace

For immediate release

Grannies for Peace, Vets for Peace and the Social Responsibilities Council of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany are combining forces to offer an inspiring evening of poetry, music, puppetry, art & stories –  with performers sharing what peace means in their lives, what moves them to work for peace.  Our Pieces of  Peace will be this Thursday, Nov 1, 2012 from 6-9 PM, at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (FUUSA), 405 Washington Ave.(light refreshments at 6 PM).

Nancy Smith from Delmar explains why she organized this event soon after joining Grannies for Peace:  “I had barely wet my toes in social activism, before I was  struck by the acutely intelligent women around me (Women Against War and Grannies for Peace).  I wondered how they could retain the ability to be so buoyant and compassionate when faced with a relentless culture of war.  It occurred to me that their diplomatic travels, vigils, and endless endeavors to repair what ignorance continually breaks, must be draining.  So, when we began to create an artistic event for the peace community, I hoped that it would give us all a relaxed enjoyable evening together to recharge and revel in words  – my favorite pastime.”

Schenectady artist Mabel Leon and 3 other Grannies for Peace will present the 4 life-sized puppets Mabel crafted based on “The Guardians”, a painting by the artist Ann Altman who was inspired by the poetry of Diane Ackerman: “…I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature…and an architect of peace.”Mabel says, “I have always been deeply moved by both  the poetry and the visual image of four women guardians robed in brilliant colors holding a dove, a fish, a tree, and a child. These women are the messengers and guardians of life itself. I was motivated to try to represent these powerful images as large puppets who would speak this beautiful poem in unison. It is my hope to motivate women to see themselves as powerful and humble guardians of life and nature and messengers of peace.”

Dot Richards of Delmar who organized a Sextet for Peace explains that their 6 singers from Grannies for Peace and Women Against War will perform “Living Planet”, a song by Jay Mankita.  Dot says, “It is a gentle but eloquent reminder of the interconnectedness of all life on our planet, as well as a dramatic statement that ‘Peace will only come with Justice’.”

Albany poet and Vets for Peace activist Dan Wilcox describes his presentation: “One of the roles of art, of poetry in making political statements is to imagine alternative versions of the world, of events.  In my poem ‘Baghdad/Albany’, I imagine the invasion of Baghdad in 2003 as if it were occurring in Albany.  My point being, if you can visualize death and destruction as if it were happening to you, how could you then do it to someone else

Other presenters include:

  • Ann Brandon will read a letter from Yassin Muhiddin Aref and Mohammed Hossain.
  • Ed Bloch reading “Dakeshi Ridge” from his book, Courage, Courage, Courage.
  • Pat Beetle reading The Great Silent Grandmother’s Gathering by Sharon Mehdi.
  • Maureen Aumand with a threnody of poems from the anthology, Come Together: Imagine Peace.

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May 12, 2012: Grannies Mark Mother’s Day with Focus on Corporations That Profit from War

Grannies_TulipFest2012-1.jpg

May 25, 2012

written by Kim Kennedy

Grannies For Peace Vigil

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Washington Park, Albany New York

12:00 to 1:00 PM

Is profiting from war patriotic?

This year the Grannies for Peace are calling out the war profiteers who are making a killing by selling and using weapons of war. We’re calling them “The Merchants of Death.”

We’ve chosen to highlight the five most profitable US defense corporations, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon. We’re also spotlighting Kellogg Brown and Root, formerly part of Halliburton. KBR is one of the companies that has benefited from billions of dollars in profitable single source/ no bid contracts for services previously provided by the US military itself…

Grannies_TulipFest2012-2.jpg

Twenty-Five Grannies for Peace, dressed in black, carried a coffin through the Tulip Festival in a solemn, silent Peace Procession on Saturday, leaving the Moses Statue at noon. We marched with the aid of Mickie Lynn as drummer at the head of the procession. The “Merchants Of Death” banner followed with the coffin (displaying Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria). The signs naming the six “War Profiteers” were held by 6 of the Grannies For Peace in the march.

The procession ended in the southeast corner of Albany’s Washington Park (east of the Moses Statue) where the grannies held a silent vigil from 12:30 to 1 PM. The coffin was placed on the ground with three of the named corporations on either side as the Grannies For Peace formed a semi-circle around the props.

Maud Easter handed out 200 flyers as we marched and held our vigil. It seems there were a variety of reactions to our procession and vigil. Some people were curious; some seemed offended, some people showed support, and some called us names.

We sang a closing song to the tune of “Down By The River Side” replaced with “Profit War No More”

Here are the verses to “Profit War No More”

(Tune: “Down By The Riverside” Words by Mickie Lynn)

We’re gonna lay down our bombs and guns, down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside. We’re gonna lay down our bombs and guns, down by the riverside and profit war no more.

We ain’t gonna profit war no more, we ain’t gonna profit war no more we ain’t gonna profit war no more (2 times).

We’re gonna lay down our bombs and guns …

We’re gonna give up our killer drones…

We’re gonna outlaw all cluster bombs…

We’re gonna bring our war dollars home…

We’re gonna join hands around the world…

We had a good turn out and would like to thank all of the Grannies and Non-Grannies For Peace who participated in this year’s Mothers Day/Tulip Festival activities and to everyone who helped make it possible.

At the prop making meeting several Grannies completed the signs and armbands for the vigil, all designed and stenciled by Kim Kennedy. Kim also organized the sequence of the march and the placement of props during the vigil.

For more photos, please see our blog: Profit war no more! (A Memorial weekend photo essay) pictures by Mabel Leon.

 

Sept. 9, 2009: Grannies for Peace Celebrates Grandparents’ Day

For Immediate Release

Grannies for Peace will celebrate Grandparents’ Day on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, by helping children express what peace means to them through a “Pinwheels for Peace Project”, at the Emmaus United Methodist Church at 715 Morris Street in Albany. 

Grannies and the church program director Rifat Nazir will explain the project to the media at 4:15 PM.  Grannies will begin crafts and singing activities with the children at 4:30 PM, which the media are invited to observe.  

“It is so important for children to grow up thinking about how they can contribute to peace in the world,” says Granny for Peace Dahlia Herring, coordinator of the event. “ It is our greatest hope that all children, including our grandchildren, will live in a world in which conflicts are negotiated through diplomacy, human needs are met through development, and armies are put to rest forever”, explains Herring.

“Many of the children in the Emmaus after-school program have come to the US as refugees from war, so we are especially happy to learn what they see as the seeds of a peaceful world,” Herring says.

Grannies for Peace is a project of Women Against War. Grannies for Peace began in 2006 when Grannies tried to enlist at a local recruiting station to take the place of young people headed for Iraq. Grannies for Peace continues work to counter military recruitment of our young and also to secure improved health care for our vets. See www.WomenAgainstWar.org for more information.  

April 27, 2009: Granny Peacemakers Speak on March Arrests & Recent Court Victory

For Immediate Release

Joan Wile and Barbara Walker from Grandmothers Against the War in NYC will speak at a 6:30 PM Celebration of Granny Peacemakers on Monday, April 27, 2009 at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (405 Washington Ave). They will be available for interview from 6-7 PM and after their 7 PM presentation.

Joan and Barbara will report on their protests, including the March 18, 2009 Times Square demonstration which Joan organized and for which Barbara and 6 other granny activists were arrested, jailed and then exonerated at an April 14th court appearance.  (See photo and account from the New York Times.)

Joan, author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace (May 2008, Citadel Press), and Barbara will share the strategies of granny peacemaker groups nationally and globally, who protest against the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They will speak also to classes at Siena College and the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany.

Joan and Barbara’s visit is organized by Grannies for Peace, a project of Women Against War, www.WomenAgainstWar.org. Schenectady grandmother Mabel Leon explains,  “Joan invited grandmothers in the Capital District to join them in a 2006 Valentines Day campaign across the nation against military recruitment. That is where our local Grannies for Peace got its start, holding a demonstration at the recruitment office at Colonie Center. We’ll tell them about our third annual Mother’s Day weekend Silent Vigil at the Tulip Festival on May 9th at 1 PM and invite them to plan something similar in Central Park!”

Albany grandmother, Dahlia Herring, says, “I love the courage and creativity of these NYC grannies. We are excited at the large number of community groups who are co-sponsoring this celebration of granny peace-making power.”

The April 27th event is co-sponsored by:Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Chatham Peace Initiative, Commission on Peace & Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Palestinian Rights Committee, Peace & Service Committee of Albany Friends Meeting, Pine Hills Neighbors for Peace, Saratoga Peace Alliance, Social Responsibilities Council of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, Tom Paine Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Troy Neighbors for Peace, Upper Hudson Peace Action.

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Truth in Recruiting

Sample “Opt Out” Petition For High School Recruiting Information

If you are a part of the Bethlehem School District, you can help circulate this petition to the Bethlehem Central School District that asks them to make it easier for students to prevent their personal contact information from being automatically shared with military recruiters. If you live in another school district then you can use it as a template for your own campaign to make opting out easier.

Iraq Veterans Against the War
presents
‘Truth in Recruiting’

“We are soldiers and veterans and we have all at one time been recruited. We know that recruiters need to distort the truth and lie in order to get people to enlist in the military. Please consider our experience before making your decision about whether or not to enlist in the military. If you should still decide to enlist, know that we will be there for you if you need us. As you join their ranks, join the ranks of IVAW to stop the war from the inside.”

Click here to read the entire flier.

It’s My Life! – A Book Report
edited by Janine Schwab and published by the American Friends Service Committee

If you are looking for a conventional manual to give to your growing daughter or son on “why you should go to college right after high school,” or “what are the best paying jobs,” then don’t bother buying It’s My Life! If, on the other hand, you want to support your children through that difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood, there is much in this readable book that could be useful.

Click here to read a longer description of this book along with ordering information.

Click here to access the Youth and Militarism section of the American Friends Service Committee website for more resources and information about this topic.

Grannies For Peace First annual Grandparents Day Celebration

During the afternoon of Tuesday, September 9, 2008, six Grannies for Peace met at the Emmaus Methodist Church after school program for a project called “Flowers and Flags for Peace.” Kim Kennedy had created the blank flags and colorful paper flowers along with small clay flowerpots filled with shiny foam that would serve as the containers for individually decorated flags and flowers. These flowers were based on an earlier project that Dahlia Herring had done with Albany children, which was in turn based on ideas that Dot Richards had used in working with community members at our “cooking up peace” event in May of 2008.

Since we were working with refugee children, ranging in age from elementary school to early teens we thought that flags would also be a good way for children to express their wishes for peace in their countries of origin, in their new country and in the world. During an energy filled two hours we moved from group to group (four groups in all) with our percussion instruments, song and art materials. Each group began with a brief percussion chorus and a song (Peace, salaam, la paix) and then quickly transitioned to work on the flags and flowers.

We were truly amazed at the enthusiasm and talent that the children brought to the projects and the results were colorful and deeply moving. Each Grannie brought her particular form of love and talent for working with children, whether it was art, gentle support, music, listening, story sharing, or other forms of nurturing. Each child shared gifts of imagination, cultural images, colorful use of stickers and markers, unexpected ways of picturing peace and great musical expressiveness.

So our thanks to Kim, Dahlia, Dot, Mabel, Priscilla and Mickie and to Pastor, Denise Stringer, and the teaching staff of the after school program of Emmaus United Methodist Church, and most especially to the 40 children who participated!

We had so much fun that we hope to make this an annual event.

The Times Union ran a story on the event on Sept. 16, 2008, Grannies spread peace to young refugees.

Grannies for Peace Celebrate Grandparents Day helping children make Flowers & Flags for Peace

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
With the 40 children in the after-school program of Emmaus United Methodist Church
4 PM Grannies gather & set up
4:15 PM Media invited
4:30 – 6:30 PM Crafts and singing with groups of children

The children will decorate flags and flower cutouts to put in pots — to create an image of what peace means to them. We will open each small group singing Peace, Salaam, La Paix. Many of the children are from refugee families, and some are speakers of French and Arabic.

Dahlia is coordinating this event, working with Rev. Denise Stringer at the church. Kim will bring art supplies, the pots and the flags & flowers. Mickie and Dot will bring percussion instruments. Everyone will bring stickers, extra art materials and grandmotherly love.

‘Grannies’ take stand against war

Originally appeared in The Troy Record on Friday, February 15, 2008
By Tom Caprood, The Record

TroyRecord2-2008

Marcia Hopple of Poestenkill, Jane Streiff of Delmar and Kim Kennedy of Saratoga Springs protest. J.S. Carras — The Record

ALBANY — Several area women used Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show how their hearts have been broken due to a lack of essential services for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Grannies for Peace” was the group that held signs and banners expressing their opposition to war to passing motorists in front of the Albany Veterans Administration Hospital on Holland Avenue.

“It’s troubling for us to hear that there are not enough services for all of the soldiers who return from war, especially for those who have psychological problems as a result of the kind of war this has turned out to be,” said Troy resident Sue Clark.

This was the third year the group came out on the holiday to protest disservice to veterans and, while all of the women do not have direct relatives in the armed services, they felt for wounded veterans as if they were part of their family.

“If they’re not our grandchildren, they are certainly someone else’s,” said Mabel Leon, a Schenectady resident.

The women were not protesting against the local hospital itself, but the national policies which they are forced to follow.

According to members of the group, the care currently being provided by the government is not enough for the long-term problems faced by both veterans and their families.

“Many of these returning soldiers have wounds that are not visible and cannot be healed in a short period of time,” said Leon, referring to psychological conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder.

Leon felt that the lack of care was so severe that it was a major cause for the alarming rates of suicides and homicides committed by veterans who return from battle.

The group called on the government to implement a new policy that would require all returning veterans to be tested for the presence of depleted uranium, a toxic chemical which can lead to severe long-term health problems if absorbed by the body.

Additionally, they also felt that women veterans should receive counseling for the specific traumas they have endured during their service, such as rape and various medical conditions.

“So many wonderful lives of young people have been ruined by these wars. We feel they should have a high priority in getting the services they need,” said Clark.

Health care of veterans focus of protest

Pullout of forces in Iraq, better treatment for the wounded urged at rally

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer

First published: Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ALBANY — Simultaneously opposing the war in Iraq while supporting returning American troops is not only possible, but necessary, say Grannies For Peace.
TU-July2007
The group of local grandmothers and other women was organized last year to advocate peaceful approaches to conflict resolution, social justice and other issues.

On Monday, members held a silent vigil for veterans’ health care at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center to draw attention to the billions of dollars a month spent keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, and the “scandalous neglect of the health needs of our returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and all veterans.”

Group members say they weren’t targeting the hospital but the nation’s priorities. Services for troops coming home with physical and psychological wounds could be improved by reallocating money from Iraq, members said recently at Friends Meeting House on Madison Avenue.

“We want the war over today, and we want the troops home immediately,” said Mabel Leon, a 66-year-old member from Schenectady and grandmother of four.

Grannies For Peace began as an offshoot of Women Against War, and the Capital Region-based group, which has dozens of members, has held numerous “actions,” as they call them, including protests at an Army military recruitment station and visits to the offices of both of New York’s U.S. senators.

Members believe it is not contradictory to support the troops and insist they leave Iraq. They also want to repeal the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act, and support closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval base’s detention camp.

On Monday, the group called for more funding for Veterans Administration hospitals nationwide; expanded diagnostic and long-term services; gender-specific services for women veterans; physical and mental health screening; assistance with claims and access to specialized care; and screening of all war veterans for exposure to depleted uranium.

“There is a misconception about the peace movement that we don’t care about our soldiers,” Leon said. “But the interest in veterans is one of the top concerns of our group.”

Leon and member Micki Lynn of Delmar have been activists for many years. Lynn, a 66-year-old mother of one, picketed against the Vietnam war, apartheid, nuclear weapons and more.

At a recent Grannies rally against the Iraq war, she wore a poster bearing the image of Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart, who collapsed and died at age 22 while on guard duty in Iraq on June 6, 2004. “Mother. Sister. Daughter. Lover. Healer. Dancer. Friend. Athlete. Flute player. Reader,” it read.

There’s a lot of energy and organization associated with opposition to the Iraq war, Lynn said.

“This is a very intense movement. But if you look at the results, you can’t say at this point it is successful,” she said.

Today’s atmosphere differs from, say, the Vietnam era, when troops returned without fanfare and were called murderers by some protesters. The Grannies are less confrontational toward the troops. They hold the U.S. government accountable for the war in Iraq.

Maternal instincts brought the group’s members naturally to the concerns of veterans, Leon said.

“We view the soldiers as our children and grandchildren, and we are very concerned about the welfare of all of them,” she said. “We’re very concerned about the deaths and the services our soldiers need.”

Demonstrations by the group have been gaining increasing support from civilians and passing motorists, Leon said.

“We used to get more harassment than support. Now we get toots in favor and thumbs up.”

Dennis Yusko can be reached at 581-8438 or by e-mail at dyusko@timesunion.com

Mother’s Day 2007

Satnd in Park M Day 4 Marcia (2) croppedThank you to all who attended our Stand in the Park for Peace event on Saturday, May 12th!

Grannies, Mothers, & Daughters joined together in a silent vigil at Albany’s Washington Park Tulip Festival. The group continued to expand until there were between 70 and 80 women. We did wonderfully at maintaining a strong and moving silence.

Stand in Park M Day 7 Joyce (2) croppedThis silent vigil took place in a number of cities & towns across the US, as well as in 70 countries throughout the world! It was inspired by the book,
The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, by Sharon Mehdi

But Silence is Not Enough: For all our children’s sake, wage peace…
Express your desire for peace in the world…
Voice your outrage that we continue to wage war in foreign lands…
Show your community and government that you stand for peaceful solutions…
Gather with like-minded individuals in a spirit of love and harmony…

Stand in Park M Day Joyce 9Following the hour-long silent vigil, women spread out in pairs throughout the park, distributing leaflets about the event.

Click here to see more Mother’s Day pictures.

Silent Vigil

As we Stand in the Park for Peace from 1-2 PM, we are part of a Standing Women’s Global Village in 70 countries, on every continent, this weekend. We stand as a positive demonstration of our deep impulse to do what we can toward a better future for our children, grandchildren and the seven generations beyond.

  • As we stand, we can acknowledge that we are the ones who can create the positive future we seek.
  • In silence, we can invite our own deep wisdom, so that we may model the kind and gentle world that we seek for our children.
  • We can notice how it feels to be with all those who stand with us.
  • In follow-up conversations, we can take note of the visions and actions that arise for us and others.

To learn about Grannies for Peace: write   info@womenagainstwar.org