We gather to create peace in the world:
By nurturing and empowering each other and ourselves as peace activists.
A Brief History of Peace Action
The Peace Action Group first formed nearly fifty years ago during the Vietnam War. It has been serving First Church continuously since then. Its two founders were Janet Klemmer and Dody Oberhoffer, who is still an active member of the committee. In the beginning, the group focused on bringing the Vietnam War to an end through negotiations. When Vietnam ended, the group continued its work because, as Dody explained, "the U.S. was always meddling in other countries." Her observation proved accurate, as wars involving the United States took place in Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq a second time, and Libya.
The Peace Action Group, especially under the leadership of Tess Beistel, has continued as a strong presence at the Church during the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. We have participated regularly in the large anti-war marches in downtown Portland and have organized countless petition campaigns, forums, speakers, book promotions, ongoing rituals, and the "plastic soldier" campaign. We created four stunning banners which depict war and peace for use in memorial services on the Iraq war.
Our most recent table activity was the sale of homemade candles to benefit the school tuition of a young girl in Nepal. We continue to collect coins at the table and raise approximately $400 annually for development of schools in Afghanistan. Two of our other projects are selling soaps and balms from Arghand, an Afghanistan cooperative; and selling organic olive oil from Palestine to benefit its farmers.
The Peace Action Group has three subgroups: Beyond Militarism, Palestinian Human Rights and UU--United Nations Organization.
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