Merrimack Valley People for Peace
Serving the communities of the Merrimack Valley

2007 Highlights (see newsletters too) see 2008


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December 2007

December 15. Charges dropped against the Veterans Day 18!

November 2007

November 11, 2007.
15 Veterans for Peace, including Pat and Arthur, and three supporters, were arrested at Boston's Veterans Day event. They and others stood solemnly at City Hall Plaza.
See Pictures
See video

October 2007

October 27, Rally and March in Boston. The Boston Globe said there were 10,000 marching.

The red material represents lives lost. Casilio triplets Sara (left), Kelly, and Alicia from the performance group Triiibe stood on crates in Boston Common. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
But the globe put the report on page B6.

September 2007

This Labor Day again, MVPP was part of the annual Bread and Roses Festival in Lawrence. Our tent was assigned to a great location at the main walking area. Many visitors stopped to buy bumper stickers and buttons, to pick up printed materials, and just to talk.


One of the performers who appeared on the main stage at the Bread and Roses Festival had come all the way from California: well-known musician and activist Faith Petric, just turned 92. The evening before the festival, a circle of music lovers sat around Faith in the UU Church at 6 Locke St. in Andover for an unforgettable sing-along.


The ANSWER coalition had taken out a permit for 10,000 demonstrators for the Washington D.C. Rally, September 15th - and about 100,000 showed up! An overwhelming part of the demonstrators were people in their teens and early twenties. Speakers included Cindy Sheehan, Melida Arredondo, a large group of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Retired Col. Ann Wright, Ralph Nader, National ANSWER coordinator Brian Becker and others. A densely packed march stretched more than ten blocks on Pennsylvania Avenue. At the capital steps, the protesters were met by a police line. There, Iraq veterans conducted a solemn ceremony in memory of the U.S. soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war. Over 5,000 people then laid down in a symbolic "die-in" - one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in recent years. 197 people, including veterans and activists, were arrested when they tried to deliver to Congress the message to stop the war. This mass action came on the heels of Gen. Petraeus report to Congress and the President's wholehearted endorsement of that report.

Towards the end of the march. Carlos Arredondo, pulling his traveling memorial for his son Alex, was attacked and seriously beaten up by five counter-demonstrators, each one of them twice the weight of Carlos. The police broke the beating up, but no arrest was made. Friends of Carlos are seeking legal redress.


Sharing the Land of Canaan
Brian attended a presentation by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh at Brookline High School, September 16. It was interesting to hear what he had to say this time, having seen him shouted down at Andover High School in January.

Dr. Qumsiyeh showed part of the 90 minute video, “Occupation 101.” followed by a discussion.


August 2007

About thirty people gathered at Andover's Old Town Hall to remember the victoms of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima sixty two years ago. Speakers and musicians kept the awful memory alive.

At least ten of us joined the over 2000 marchers at Kennebunkport on August 25. Great speakers included Dennis Kucinich and Cindy Sheehan. The president had changed his vacation plans, so didn't make it, but we did!

July 2007

In Kennebunkport, Maine, On July 1, Well over 2000 protesters went to Kennebunkport while Presidents Bush and Putin were meeting in the Bush family compound. Peace activists called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the removal of permanent bases. There also was a loud call for impeachment and for holding Bush and Cheney accountable for the illegal war in Iraq, mutilating the Constitution, torture, war crimes, and much more.

The event was organized by the Kennebunk PEACE Department, Maine Lawyers for Democracy and The Maine Campaign to Impeach. Five from MVPP were in the throng.

On July 26, Henry Misserville and Kay Painter hosted a house projection of the film, “War Made Easy (How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death)” based on the book by Norman Solomon and narrated by Sean Penn. They had a good turnout and were even talking of showing the film another time. The film contains remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, detailing how the American news media have uncritically and enthusiastically dispersed the pro-war messages of several presidential administrations.

Boryana joined Cindy Sheehan's Journey for Humanity in Washington D/C, July 23, 2007. They went to meet with the head of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers, and demand that he initiate impeachment proceedings.

Bill and Jonna McDannell from San Diego, CA (Bill having walked), f with their 9-year old granddaughter Katelyn, were among the well known activists.

About 300 made their way to the Capitol, and about 200 packed the halls outside Rep. John Conyers’ office. Contrary to his pre-election promises in 2006, Rep. Conyers told them that, “impeachment isn’t going to happen because we don‘t have the votes” and that “our only recourse was to work to get a Democrat in the White House.(His judiciary committee staffers had previously produced a report summarizing and documenting the crimes of Bush and Cheney.) Cindy Sheehan briefly shared the outcome of the meeting and announced that she is going to run against Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2008. After that, she and about 45 more people sat down in Rep. Conyers’ office refusing to leave, and were arrested by the Capitol Police. About 40 then visited the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

At the Lowell Folk Festival, on July 28, MVPP and the Greater Lowell for Peace and Justice once again set up tables side by side. Our two canopies adorned with rainbow PEACE flags attracted a steady flow of visitors of all ages. We distributed pins, bumper stickers, peace, justice, and counter-recruiting literature, the DVD “Iraq Veterans Speak Out,” and Pat Scanlon’s CD “Where Is the Rage.” Several people signed our mailing list and we received about $240 in donations.


June 2007

June 15
MVPP Annual Meeting click to see pictures.

After a potluck meal, we elected new MVPP officers. Our hardworking President Bobbie Goldman, Vice President Becci Backman and Treasurer Sue Imhoff stepped down for a well-deserved break. The new MVPP officers are: Ralph Galen, Acting President; Jim Todd, Vice President; Mary Todd, Clerk; and Arthur Brien, Treasurer.

Arthur Brien was honored at the meeting, in recognition of the “Award for Excellence in Social Action” he had received five days earlier from the New England United Methodist Conference. Both Bobbie and Arthur received fowers flowers, an avalanche of loving thoughts and good wishes, and a special song put together for each of them by the Curbside Singers (Mary, Jim and Boryana).


May 2007

May 15
Alice Rothchild, Boston area activist, physician, and author discussed her book: BROKEN PROMISES, BROKEN DREAMS, Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience at Old Town Hall,Andover. She calmy pointed out out significant ways people on both sides of the Israel/Palestine border, the Green Line, suffer and work to make peace. She put a very human face on the complicated situation. Her responses to negative questions were an example of how to communicate.

May 24
Pat Scanlon led a "Peace Package Packing Party" of over thirty people, where more than 2000 packets with a CD a DVD and many fliers were assembled and mailed. The CD, titled "Where is the Rage? " asks why more Americans don't question the war in Iraq. Each "Peace Package contains up to 17 pieces of literature, as well as two DVDs The materials are from most of the major peace organizations in the country.They were sent to: peace groups, Unitarian Universalist Congregations and College and Public Radio Stations.


April 2007

April 14,
MVPP had a table at Andover’s Step It Up 2007 National Day for Climate Action
in the Old Town Hall (see more on the event in “Good News”). Thanks to Becci Backman’s thoughtful stocking-up, we were able to offer a large assortment of bumper-stickers and buttons carrying environmental messages. Even more important than the sales was our presence at the event, witnessing for the deep links between the work for preserving the Earth and the work for global peace and justice.

April 28,
a spirited, funny and angry event took place in front of Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, right around the statue of Samuel Adams.
“The People’s Impeachment of George Bush” was one of about 130 grassroot pro-impeachment actions that took place around the country on that day. The participants, several hundreds at their peak, cheered the speakers and performers, stopped in front of the flag-draped casket and memorial set up by Carlos Arredondo, displayed homemade signs and left colorful messages on an enormous sheet spread on the ground for “We the People” to sign. A town crier in 18th-century costume read a proclamation calling up to the audience to constitute a Citizen’s Council on the Impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney, since the government had failed to act for accountability. The crowd broke out in an enthusiastic “Aye!” in favor of impeachment, counter-pointed by a sad “Nay!” by the exquisite Billionaires for Bush. MVPP member Pat Scanlon had the whole audience singing along with him (even when the sound system broke down). The audience included several other MVPP members.


March 2007

March 4,
MVPP and the UU Congregation in Andover jointly hosted the 6th annual Walk for a New Spring. About 50 people came to the potluck supper to spend the evening with our dear friends from the Leverett Peace Pagoda and their co-walkers and hear about their work on abolishing war and nuclear weapons and about the progress of the Mayors for Peace project. We also had a short presentation by members of the group “No More Victims”, which is involved in helping Iraqi children injured in the war to get medical treatment in the U.S. The Walkers jointly with MVPP members held vigils at Textron systems in Wilmington and Raytheon in Andover to protest the manufacturing of weapons in both facilities.

March 19,
MVPP sponsored a vigil to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion in Iraq. The vigil was called by and was one of about 1400 events held countrywide. About 60 people gathered in the very chilly evening to share each other’s presence, their outrage with the war and their determination to work for peace. The strong wind made it impossible for candlelight as planned, but we had good speeches, good music and most importantly, a strong presence of young people. Special thanks to Jim Todd, Masood Sheikh and Ralph Galen for opening and closing the event with prayers, to Don Abbott for his speech and for providing the sound system, to MFSO mother Anne Chay and Veteran for Peace member Pat Scanlon for their speeches, to Bill Kolbe, Brian Quirk, Mary Kate Small and Pat Scanlon for the inspiring music, to Thea Shapiro for providing the heartbreaking display of well over 3,000 fallen soldiers’ names, and to everyone for coming.

March 24,
over twenty MVPP members participated at the Greater Boston area Stop the War! Troops Home Now! rally
and peace-and-justice fair attended by thousands at the Boston Common. The event was organized by a coalition of groups to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Speakers included Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Melida Arredondo and others. MVPP member Pat Scanlon sang, surrounded by fellow Veterans for Peace. The rally was followed by a spirited march over Beacon Hill, through Government Center, Faneuil Hall, Downtown Boston and back to the Common. The event united peace, labor, community, environmental, immigrant right traditions – to name just a few – bringing a strong message that just as we have to end the war in Iraq, so do we have to meet the challenges at home.


February 2007

Jan 21 - Feb 11, four Sunday mornings – Panel Discussion on the Middle East: Getting Past the Blame Game. At St. James Episcopal Church in Groveland, speakers representing Palestine, Israel and Christians talked peacefully about their diffferent perspectives, answered audience questions, and worshipped together.


January 2007

Jan 3 MVPP sponsored a candlelight vigil in Andover to commemorate the deaths of 3,000 American soldiers in Iraq and over 650,000 Iraqi civilians. It was a part of the nationwide vigil coordinated by the AFSC. About 50 participants came, including a Military Families Speak Out mother whose son is now in Baghdad. We read aloud the names of the 45 fallen soldiers from Massachusetts along with the names of killed Iraqi children. Together with the feeling of deep sadness, there was strong determination to work for ending the war. The prayers led by Jim Todd, Masood Sheikh and Ralph Galen as well as the music by Brian Quirk and Pat Scanlon expanded the dimensions and the meaning of the event.

Jan 5- Three members of the Wheels of Justice were finally invited to speak at Andover High School. We cancelled our annual potluck dinner in order to have a calming presence there. Many MVPP members were present. We were prepared to take part in the discussion, but the principal stopped the presentation after a few questions because part of the audience was so rude and out of control. Becci Backman attended a classroom session during the day as a League of Women Voters observer.

See the Globe and Tribune articles.

Jan 10 MVPP went to Lawrence Tech for counter-recruitment activity. Jim Todd, Mary Todd, Pat Scanlon, Henry Misserville, and Becci Backman participated and all felt that the day was very successful.

Jan 10, The David Project came to Andover High School during the day (Becci Backman was again a League of Women Voters observer) and for an evening forum. This very conservative group was selected to counterbalance the Wheels of Justice with another view. Again, many MVPP members were present.

Jan 11 – MVPP sponsored two special vigils in response to a number of national organizations calling for a vigil on this day: one together with Amnesty International to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, to demand its closing, and another to protest Bush’s proposed surge of troops. The two vigils were supposed to be held separately, but actually merged into one 2-hours long presence in the street, since all 30+ participants felt strongly about both issues. Several MVPP members took part in the vigil.

Jan 13 – MVPP all-day retreat was very successful, and looked at our priorities for the next year, and possible strategies.

Jan 23 – MVPP member Hattie Nestle six other "women shut down Vermont Yankee for nearly an hour until Vernon, Brattleboro, and Vermont state police cut them free with a bolt cutter. State and local police then arrested the seven, who were charged by Brattleboro police with trespass and disorderly conduct”.

Jan 26, 27 - An overnight bus left from Dascomb Road in Tewksbury bound for the big protest in Washington. A number of MVPP folks attended Saturday’s historic march. Some members drove on their own or flew down to Washington.

Jan 27 – Over 100 activists, including three MVPP members, attended a rally in front of Marty Meehan’s office in Lowell to show solidarity with the protest in Washington. See picture of Jim Todd holding his sign.


Click for highlights in 2002 - 2003,  2004,  2005,  2006,
 2008,  2009 ,  2010, 2011,  2012,  2013,  2014,  2015,  
2016,  2017,  2018,  2019,  2020,  2021,  2022,  2023,  2024



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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