Monday, May 18, 2009

Peace & Justice Festival 2009

On Saturday, May 16, Wellsprings sponsored our 7th annual Peace & Justice Festival. The four-hour event included speakers from our community, music by our teachers and a community choir, and a panel discussion. Two of our teachers, Eva and Tyler, planned the program and served as co-leaders of the event.

Eight students helped with various tasks during the afternoon and teachers Chanci, Bob, Paul, and Tyler provided music to open and close the festival. In addition, songs of peace and justice were sung during the program by local choir, In Accord. Information tables were staffed by people from Beyond War, the Eugene Mennonite Church, CALC, Counter Military Recruitment, and the Student Peace Alliance.

The program was dedicated to Sali Grace Eiler, a former Wellsprings student who championed many peace and justice causes during her young life (she was murdered in Mexico last year just two weeks before her 21st birthday).

Speakers included Sali's mother, Barbara Healey, Katherine Bragg from Friends Peace Teams, Eileen & Phil Hanna from Beyond War, Peg Morton spoke about nonviolent direct action, and Rose Barber offered a Mennonite peace perspective. After a panel discussion by parents and students on "what helps teens and parents communicate," Sophia McDonald spoke about justice for the homeless and Tod Schneider discussed sustainable violence prevention in our community.

Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the festival (click on photos to enlarge):

In addition, a video of Peg Morton's presentation is included for your viewing:

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our Peace & Justice Festival!



Story by Peg Morton from the Eugene Friends Meeting Newsletter (May 31, 2009)

"I was honored and delighted to be invited to participate in the Wellsprings Friends School Peace Festival that took place on May 16th. Members of EFM were scattered throughout the program: Katherine Bragg gathering us into a circle. She spoke of her experience teaching alternatives to violence with Friends Peace Teams in Guatemala, in a structure with dirt floors and open to the elements -- no windows. She briefly introduced us to AVP using one of its exercises. Jen Frenzer Knowton, accompanied by her daughter Olivia, participated in a panel of teachers, parents and students discussing teen-parent relationships. Jill Burge sang with the peace chorus, In Accord, which sang beautifully. I spoke of personal experience with direct active nonviolence.

We also heard the heart-breaking yet amazing story of Marcella 'Sali' Eiler from her mother. Sali, who had been a student at Wellsprings, was raped and murdered last fall at the age of 21. She had sat in trees to save forests, helped with Food Not Bombs, helped distribute water and aid to immigrants struggling across the desert, and traveled to Southern Mexico to support the struggles there. Her mother never knew what she was going to do next, but supported her with love. We heard from Beyond War, a local (and national) peace organization, and we learned from people who are working and advocating for the homeless here in Eugene.

It was an informal time of sharing with and learning from each other. I was glad to be a part of it and recommend it for others in upcoming years."

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