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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