Merrimack Valley People for Peace
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2006 Highlights (see newsletters too)


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December 2006

See 2007

Dec. 12th We had a special meeting with Mike Prokosch during which we discussed how to have more effective monthly meetings, and scheduled a retreat for Saturday, January 13th. We also agreed to endorse the March on Washington January 27-29th.

After many months of requesting the opportunity, MVPP has been invited to present a counter recruitment table at Greater Lawrence Technical High School on Jan 10th.

November 2006

Nov 17-19 MVPP members, Arthur Brien and Boryana Taconni joined 22,000 other protesters in Fort Benning, Georgia, at the School of the Americas Watch protest. They received a rousing sendoff by MVPP members attending a special meeting with Mike Prokosch on Nov. 16th, during which we accessed some of our current issues and concerns.

Nov. 21 MVPP had its annual Stone Soup meal, during which $175 was raised for Oxfam as well as enough money to pay for 2 Thanksgiving meals for local families\

Nov. 28 monthly MVPP meeting - discussed strategies for local counter-recruitment activities, and established a new committee to work in Lawrence and other communities. We voted to support Sean Donahue’s trip to Oaxaca with Witness For Peace with a small donation.

October 2006

October 1 United for Justice and Peace (UJP) Rally on Boston Common Several MVPP members attended the UJP rally in support of The Declaration of Peace initiative to end the war in Iraq. Singer and activist Holly Near joined speakers Elena Letona (Director of Centro Presente) and Andy Sapp (Iraq Veterans Against the War). MVPP’s Pat Scanlon also sang his new song “Where is the Rage” at the rally.

at Textron 9/06

October 5 MVPP Members Participate in Protest at Textron Systems in Wilmington, MA MVPP joined Frances Crowe and The Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq in organizing the protest at Textron Systems. Several MVPP members participated in the protest along with Code Pink, the Grannies and people from throughout the state. Textron is one of 2 companies producing the largest number of cluster bombs in the US. These highly explosive bombs are responsible for the injuring and killing of many civilians in the areas where they are used.

October 13 & 14 MVPP Member Pat Scanlon Sings at “Arlington East” on Cape Cod Singer and songwriter, Pat Scanlon, appeared at the Nauset Regional High School on Cape Cod to memorialize those who have died in Iraq. Pat performed his 2 latest anti-war songs “I’ve Got a Feeling I’ve Been Here Before” and “Where is the Rage” at this event sponsored by Cape Codder’s for Peace and Justice and Veterans for Peace – Cape Cod Chapter 41.


September 2006

September 1 MVPP Attends Lawrence Bread and Roses Festival
MVPP attended this annual festival in Lawrence to provide information on counter-recruitment efforts in the area and to promote the upcoming speaking engagement of Helen Caldicott in Newburyport.

September 10 MVPP Attends Paws for Peace Festival in Amesbury, where kids learn that gentle respect is good for puppies and kids.
MVPP attended this festival sponsored by KIDS and K9ASSIST, a non-profit organization working for the betterment of animal and child welfare.
. MVPP provided information on counter-recruitment, facts about immigration issues and the upcoming appearance of Helen Caldicott.

September 11 MVPP Member Niki Rosen Featured in Newburyport Newspaper Niki Rosen, who has vigiled in Market Square in Newburyport since before the start of the Iraq War, was featured in an article in the Newburyport News.

September 16 MVPP Attends Andover Know Your Town Day
MVPP attended this event to provide information on counter-recruitment, efforts for peace and Helen Caldicott’s speaking engagement on September 23 in Newburyport.

click to see more of Brenda's pictures.

September 16 MVPP Recipient of Grant for Counter Recruitment
MVPP received a generous grant from Sisbros, a non-geographical covenant community. The grant will help MVPP to expand its counter recruitment efforts in the area.

September 21 Candlelight Vigils in Newburyport & Andover to Support The Declaration of Peace MVPP organized candlelight vigils in Newburyport and Andover in conjunction with The Declaration of Peace initiative to end the war in Iraq.

September 23 MVPP Sponsors Dr. Helen Caldicott at Newburyport City Hall MVPP was the proud sponsor of Dr. Helen Caldicott in Newburyport where over 120 people gathered to hear Dr.Caldicott speak about the dangers of nuclear power and complacency in our dangerous world. Dr. Caldicott was given a warm reception and MVPP was grateful for the support of several co-sponsors for this event. See longer review in Newsletter.


August 2006

Many of our letters were published and there were articles about Pat Scanlon, Bobbie Goldman, and Niki Rosen.

July 2006
July 6 Phillips Academy Hosts Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)
With the assistance of MVPP, MFSO's co-founders, Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson, and Andy Saap from Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke to approximately 80 high school students at the W.E.B.DuBois Colloquium. A number of MVPP members attended the event.

July 25 MVPP Business Meeting
The agenda this month included:

  • Sponsoring Helen Caldicott September 23 in Newburyport
  • Discussion of other upcoming events including Holly Near concert at
  • Arlington Street Church, Bread and Roses Festival in Lawrence and Andover Town Day
  • vote to endorse The Declaration for Peace.

July 29 MVPP at Lowell Folk Festival
MVPP, in conjunction with the Greater Lowell Peace and Justice Group, had a table at the festival to provide information on counter-recruitment, depleted uranium and the war in Iraq to many festival attendees.

June 2006

June 1 MVPP at Lawrence Technical High School
After much effort on the part of MVPP, 2 of its members, Jim and Mary Todd, were allowed in to the high school to offer counter-recruitment information to the students. An estimated 80-100 students visited their table in the cafeteria. "Think Before You Enlist" packets were also provided for the administrators and guidance department. The Boston Globe and Lawrence Eagle Tribune both featured articles on the event.

June 16 Annual Meeting
Mario Rodas Speaks at MVPP Annual Meeting and Potluck.
Over 50 MVPP members and friends attended the annual meeting and heard Mario Rodas, the young Guatemalan student facing deportation, speak about the government's efforts against him. His deportation has been delayed and MVPP will continue to support his cause and that of other hard-working illegal immigrants.
President's Annual Report
New Officers elected
Speaker: Mario Rodas: facing immigrant deportation:
  Students' site   Reuters article

June 17 MVPP Joins March for Workers Rights in Lowell
MVPP members attended the march sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Project to support the right of immigrants to work in this country.

June 18 Hispanic Week Parade, Lawrence
10 MVPP members joined the parade in Lawrence to celebrate the richness of the hispanic culture.

  Thanks for the pictures Ray!







June 23 MVPP Presents Op-Ed Article in Lawrence Eagle Tribune
MVPP member, Chad Montrie wrote a compelling essay on the importance of students and parents being fully informed regarding decisions about military service.

June 27 MVPP Business Meeting
The agenda included:

  • sponsoring a talk by Helen Caldicott in September
  • supporting Pat Scanlon in the release of his new CD "Where is the Rage?"
  • discussion regarding endorsement of the Declaration of Peace initiative.
May 2006

MVPP Business Meeting May 23
The agenda this month included:

  • Updates on counter-recruitment efforts and action around depleted uranium issues
  • Discussion on how to assist in flood relief in the Merrimack Valley with donations voted for the Bread and Roses Housing Trust as well for an Iranian family in the area whose home was flooded
  • Final arrangements for MVPP's annual meeting on June 16 with a pot-luck dinner and a speaker.

Le Le Mam Chorus at the UU Church in Andover, May 27
MVPP co-sponsored this group of 7 Dutch women who are touring the US as representatives of Musicians without Borders. Musicians without Borders travel the world to promote nonviolence thru song and dance. The chorus was incredibly beautiful and inspiring!

April 2006

April 1 Joanne Hammill featured at the Coffeehouse at Locke Street. MVPP and the Merrimack Valley Chapter of Amnesty International co-sponsored this captivating singer/songwriter at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Andover.

April 14 Vigil against the death penalty on Reading Common. MVPP supported this annual Good Friday vigil, “RingAround the Common”, sponsored by the North Chapter of MA Citizens against the Death Penalty.

April 19-22 Survivor of Depleted Uranium Speaks. Dr. Doug Rokke spoke at several locations in New Hampshire sponsored by New Hampshire Peace Action. Several MVPP members heard Dr. Rokke speak about his experience, first investigating the dangers of depleted uranium for the US government, and then dealing with depleted uranium poisoning sickness himself.

MVPP Business Meeting April 25
The agenda this month included updates on:

  • Starting an MVPP library with books, videos and DVDs.
  • Counter-recruitment efforts with the Lawrence School Dept. on how to offer students information regarding options to the military.
  • Efforts to educate the public about the dangers of depleted uranium and House bill HP2410 which calls for the study of DU exposure and gives special attention to "uranium exposed veterans".

Thousands March for Peace, Justice & Democracy in NYC
April 29.   19 MVPP members joined an estimated 350,000 people for a spirited march and festival in NYC. Activists from at least 19 states (some from as far away as California) joined to create a massive coalition to work toward changing the course of this country.

March 2006

March 7 Walk for a New Spring: Reclaiming the Ground of Peace began 2/19 in Leverett, MA. Buddhist monks from the Leverett Peace Pagoda joined MVPP members for the weekly peace vigil outside Raytheon in Andover on Tuesday at 6:30 AM. MVPP members then joined the Walk for a New spring to North Andover, Lawrence and then to the UU Church in Andover for a pot-luck supper and prayer. Walk for a New Spring continues its walk throughout MA and ends at the State House in Boston the first day of spring.

March 18 – Rally and march in Boston Over a dozen MVPP members joined an estimated 3000 people in the march from Dudley Square to the Boston Common for a rally to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war and to demand “Stop the Violence, Stop the War at Home and Abroad – Unite against Poverty, Racism, Sexism, and War – Bring the Troops Home Now!

March 19th – Boryana, Bob, and Carolyn joined the protest at the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at the Boston Convention Center. The protest was sponsored by Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace, to urge Massachusetts politicians to speak out against the war. Ralph joined the Walk for a New Spring in the afternoon, as they protested the proposed BU BioWeapons lab.

Noon vigil in Newburyport 26 MVPP members and friends gathered in Newburyport as well to mark the anniversary of the Iraq war

Late afternoon vigil in Andover. 25 MVPP members and friends gathered in Andover center to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war. Songs, poems, bagpipes, banjo and reflections acknowledged this somber anniversary.

March 24th - MVPP speaks at Merrimack College. Mary and Jim Todd spoke to 2 classes in Religious Studies on how their peace activism comes out of their religious beliefs. Professor Suzanne Scholz invited MVPP to her classes.

March 25 - Bobbie, Becci, and Barbara attended the UJP conference: From Baghdad to Boston, Organizing for Justice and Peace, where they were inspired by a number of excellent speakers, including Dr. Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, Iraqi pharmacist touring US with Code Pink, Nancy Murray, ACLU, and speakers on Palestinian election, the legacy of Katrina, and current economic picture.

February 2006

Members of MVPP met with officials from Lawrence High School and Lawrence Vocational Technical School to start the planning for counter-recruitment efforts for this spring and fall.

Feb. 4 MVPP co-sponsored folk singer Geoff Kaufman at the Andover UU Church

Feb. 22 MVPP joined MoveOn for a Constitution vigil in Andover center. Around 20 people gathered for a reading of the Bill of Rights to protest the Bush administration’s assault on civil liberties.

Feb. 28 MVPP held its monthly business meeting and voted to make donations to: UJP, UFP, Mass Peace Action, US campaign to end Israeli occupation, International Rescue Committee and WAND Peace Fellowship and Scholarship Fund. Also discussed were events to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq War March 18 and 19, the Peace Mobilization in NYC April 29 and plans to start a lending library of videos, DVD’s and books that reflect our concern for peace, justice and the environment.

January 2006

Jan. 4 Over 100 people gathered at the Andover Library for a town meeting with Congressman Marty Meehan to discuss his position on Iraq. Although Congressman Meehan has been very vocal about the need for an exit strategy in Iraq, the crowd encouraged him to take a bolder stance for an immediate withdrawal of troops. Many MVPP members attended and were vocal regarding their feelings about the corruption of this administration.

Jan 4 MVPP President Bobbie Goldman joined approximately 500 people who attended at an emergency town meeting called by Congressman Edward Markey to discuss the Bush Administration’s program on domestic surveillance. Congressman Markey was joined by Carol Ross, Executive Director of the ACLU of MA and Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. All three expressed grave concerns and outrage about the Constitutional crisis in the US today. They asserted that increasing concentrations of executive power have weakened and degraded the oversight functions of the judicial and legislative branches of government. Congressman Markey returned to Washington with an overwhelming mandate from the crowd to set limits on executive power and to expect President Bush, just as any other American, to obey the law.

Jan. 6 MVPP held its January Potluck dinner and discussion at the United Methodist Church in North Andover. Around 35 MVPP members and friends attended as well as members of the Salimye Mosque in Methuen. Following the delicious dinner, participants had a discussion about being Muslim in the US in today’s political climate. Members of the mosque shared information about the Islamic faith as well as the difficulties and stereotyping they have encountered since the 9/11 attacks. It is an MVPP tradition to collect donations for Adopt-a-Minefield, an organization to clear landmines, at this Potluck dinner. Our generous members and guests donated $300 for Adopt-a-Landmine and, in addition, $445 was collected for Mercy Corps, an organization that provides heat shield blankets for the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. MVPP added $200 to that sum from the treasury to donate a total of $645 to Mercy Corps.

Jan .14 Bobbie Goldman, Becci Bachman and Bob Connor attended a statewide meeting sponsored by UJP and Military Families Speak Out to assess the unsuccessful Bring Our National Guard Home petition drive and to work on other strategies to bring the guard home. Discussion focused on tactics to influence Massachusetts Congressmen, efforts to initiate town meeting and district resolutions and ways to utilize the media to better educate the public. Participants left re-focused and re-energized for the work ahead.

Jan. 21 Around 150 people attended Pat Scanlon’s CD release concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church in North Andover. Pat is an environmental activist, Vietnam Vet and singer-songwriter/banjo player. It was a spirited and enjoyable concert and a very generous crowd donated almost $500 for mercy blankets for earthquake survivors in Pakistan. MVPP co-sponsored the evening and many members attended. MVPP raised over $300 selling refreshments and items from the information table.

Jan. 22 MVPP member Masood Skeikh spoke at the worship service at Unitarian Universalist Church in Andover. Masood shared his feelings on how his life has changed as a Muslim living in the US since the 9/11 attacks and also explained some of the beliefs of the Muslim faith. Masood made a wonderful presentation and communicated so well the love and acceptance inherent in the Muslim faith.

Jan. 24 MVPP held its monthly business meeting at North Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in North Andover. Topics of discussion included: efforts to educate the public about depleted uranium dangers, tactics to continue counter-recruitment efforts in Lawrence and recent and upcoming events including plans for rallies in March on the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Sub-committees were formed to address counter-recruitment efforts, DU programming, and to make recommendations about donations.


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Merrimack Valley People for Peace meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday,
at 7:30 pm,
at North Parish Church, North Andover.

Contact Merrimack Valley People for Peace       (978) 685-1389
            P.O. Box 573
            North Andover, MA 01845

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