Pace e Bene’s Northeast Associate, LR Berger, has been hosting a Building a Culture of Peace Forum for the last several years and recently held an event to support Standing Rock. Below is her report on this event along with some photos.
Chief Wompemeequin Wampatuk, Tribal chief of the Mattakeesett Tribe in the
Massachuset Nation, along with Catherine Hoffman, long time peace activist and Standing Rock ally, presented an evening at the Building a Culture of Peace Forum in Concord, NH.
They were joined by speakers Keith Windwalker, Kenny and Brendan Boucher who organized 2000 vets to travel to Standing Rock in 2016. Participants were blessed with Chief Wompemeequin’s prayer songs, and his wife and 4 month old daughter were with us.
About 120 people came out for this fundraiser, and raised $3000 for the legal defense funds for Water Protectors. LR Berger introduced and closed the evening with words from Valarie Kaur, Director of The Revolutionary Love Project and Founder of the Groundswell Movement:
“What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?
What if our nation is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of
America is a long labor? The midwife asks us to breathe and push. Because if we
don’t push we will die. If we don’t push now, our nation will die. So let us take
one another’s hand and push together…”
They also received radio coverage via the Public News Service,New Hampshire News Connection, entitled: New Englanders Join Protest Against Dakota Access Pipeline.
About the Building a Culture of Peace Forum // LR Berger
The Building a Culture of Peace Forum, our former Film Series, celebrated its 9th year of gatherings in 2017 with our program, “Learning from History: The Nashville Sit-In Campaign.”
We have grown from our modest first free community monthly gatherings (9 faithful
attendees) to a circle of 40-70 evening participants, drawing from over 200 different folks who have joined us over these years and who are now on our email list. Our programs remain free and open to all, and are supported by generous offerings to our donation basket.
Our vision and mission has been to offer a place to learn about the history of successful
social justice campaigns and movements, about nonviolence as principle and practice, and to offer youth and adults an opportunity for a circle conversation that leans away from debating positions and into exploration, questions, concerns of the heart. Our gatherings offer opportunities to connect with contemporary campaigns, local and national, and has spawned new study and action groups, as well as offered participants opportunities to join existing justice groups in NH.
Our Forum cosponsors have included AFSC NH, NH Conference UCC, Sierra Club,
NH Peace Action, Concord UU Church, NAACP NH, 350.orgNH, Temple Beth Jacob, Concord Quaker/Friends, Campaign Nonviolence/Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Srs. of Mercy NH Justice Committee, the Sierra Club and others. We have been especially grateful for the donation of space and hospitality over the years from the Concord UU Church, Temple Beth Jacob and South Congregational Church of Concord. Our planning committee is a faithful volunteer driven group of committed community members, often from cosponsoring organizations, and the Forum is a labor of love.
Photos by Eric Zulaski