Friday, I woke up at 4:30 am with Mark Roman and Lisa Savage, where were loaded up the car, and headed down to Portland. There we dropped Lisa off at the bus station, where she was heading down to Boston to catch a flight to go to the Mayor's Conference. That was at 7 am. Then Mark and I began our road trip down to North Andover Mass. We arrived at the Church where the first part of the conference was being held at 10, and we actually beat the head organizer there.
Once Bruce, Mary Beth, and tons of other awesome activists from all over the world showed up, I sat down and started checking people in. I the morning, from about 11 to 2, checking people in, socializing, helping set up, and doing pretty much whatever Bruce needed. Then at about 3, we headed out to Raytheon where we were going to vigil for about an hour and a half. Of course, after the entire day being nice and sunny, it became immediately overcast (I of course was worried because I neglected to bring any rain gear). But once we arrived there, the sun came back out, and I walked away with a sunburn. I spent a great deal of the vigil taking some pictures. Like the ones below.
Mark Roman, and several other activists on the sidewalk right outside the gate.
Starr Gillmartin, from Maine, representing the Bring Our War Dollars Home Campaign
Some minor trespassing by Bruce, and another member of the Global Network to snag this awesome shot.
My friend Vanessa Lynch, and Manashi from India.
Some awesome people who were there before we got there. The man on the right was vigiling here for the first time.
Around 4:30 we circled up, and began talking about the implications of Raytheon, and we had a surprise performance from Tetsu Kitagawa, who is apparently the Bob Dylan of Japan. He had a concert Saturday night, and he was phenomenal. After the vigil, we headed back to the church for dinner, and for more speakers. The highlight of the evening was Arthur, who has been vigiling outside of Raytheon for 20 years.
We had this kickass carrot cake for dessert as well.
After a fun evening of talking, hanging out, listening to speakers and sing-a-longs, we all split up to go to our respective home stays for the night.
On Saturday I was up at 7, along with Mark and Brian (our host) where we talked over breakfast for about an hour before we had to head over to Merrimac College for the day's conference. We had to be there at 8, on account of me agreeing to work the registration table. While I was there, I got to meet the legendary Francis Crowe.
The opening remarks for the conference began around 9, and then there were two plenery sessions before lunch. Everyone who spoke was informative, and I learned a great deal about the implications of Raytheon, and its installations all over the world, along with more about what is happening on Jeju Island, and just about the militarization of space, and nuclear weapons as well.
Lunch was at 1, and everyone was ready to eat. I spent some time with Starr Gillmartin of Maine, and we talking about the movement in Maine. She was a fascinating woman, and I hope to see her around at some events in Maine.
After Lunch was the event that I was agonizing over for weeks. The workshop that I was presenting in. I had just finished my speech a couple hours prior. And I am happy to report that Vanessa, Manashi and I were a hit. We had a sizeable crowd at both of our sessions, and everyone was full of questions for us, our experiences within the movement, and the topic of how to get young people into the movement was heavily discussed. I think that people do not realize that we are living in a different time now, and that there is a major lack of information about the movement in mainstream media, and that the information is not there. And this coupled with the fact that there is not a major presence of the peace movement in the US today. I know that there are people who vigil on street corners, and getting arrested in DC, but I feel as though if people want to get college students, they need to have a presence here on campus. Like I have said before, I would not be in the peace movement without the influence of Kristina Wolff.
After the two workshop sessions, it was time to head to the student center for a group picture, and then to head over to the church. Mark, Vanessa and I arrived an hour late, due to us getting disastrously turned around after we split off from Bruce to get gas. Once we arrived, one of the monks, and one of the nuns from Nipponzan Myohoji were there, and it was wonderful to see them again. After a wonderful dinner, and the presentation of the Global Network awards, one of which was presented to Bruce, we headed over to the church for the concert.
There Pat Scanlon, and two of his friends, all of which are members of the Smedly Butler Brigade out of Boston. They performed for about half an hour, and then Tetsu Kitagawa performed some songs, and even though he performed in Japanese, he was a phenomenal performer, and with his last song being "We Shall Overcome" it was a wonderful way to end the conference.
You can see more of my pictures from the weekend here.
But thank you for reading, and I'll try not to go so long without updating again