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Rising Up for a Livable Future: Against Endless War, Climate Emergency, and Injustice

Sat November 9, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST

Speakers at Rising Up Conference

Rising Up for a Livable Future

Confirmed speakers:

Rep. Ayanna Pressley Rep. Ayanna Pressley represents Massachusetts’ 7th District in Congress. The first woman of color to represent Massachusetts, Pressley is a member of “the Squad”, an informal group of first term women whose members push for progressive changes such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Michael McPhearson Michael McPhearson is a veteran, peace and antiracist movement leader, and recently ended his service as executive director of Veterans for Peace.  He has written that “there will not be peace abroad if we do not work for peace at home.” Danny Sjursen
Danny Sjursen, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.) served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a former history instructor at West Point. He is author of Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War.
Merrie Najimy
Merrie Najimy is president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and an outspoken activist for the rights of students, teachers, and workers. She is a tireless advocate for public schools and an opponent of the privatization movement.
Medea Benjamin Medea Benjamin is founder of CodePink: Women for Peace and one of the U.S. peace movement’s most powerful voices. Her latest books are Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Nick Rabb Nick Rabb is a member of the Sunrise Movement, Boston Hub and a co-chair of Massachusetts Peace Action’s Peace and Climate Working Group. An A.I. researcher, technologist and philosopher, he is a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University. Kevin Peterson
Kevin C. Peterson is founder and executive director of The New Democracy Coalition, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that focuses on civic literacy, civic policy and electoral justice in Massachusetts and across the United States. In 2018 he launched the Faneuil Hall Race + Reconciliation Project, which is designed to foster racial repair in the city.  
Alexandra Pineros Shields
Alexandra Piñeros Shields is executive director of the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO). She has organized to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants for the past 30 years and is an adjunct senior lecturer at the Heller School of Brandeis University.


Wherever we look these days we see wars and rumors of wars. We see the military budget rising into the stratosphere and the growing danger of nuclear war as our country undermines arms control agreements and plans a $1.7 trillion upgrade of our nuclear weapons.

But what do war, war spending, and useable nuclear weapons have to do with the flourishing climate movement, growing protection of the rights of immigrants and refugees, relentless affordable housing advocacy, and the antiracism movement?

The answer is, “Everything”.

For the heart of the matter is that, the ultimate purpose of wars and militarism is not to protect the country. Rather, it is to enforce a way of life based on climate destruction and the vast social inequality and xenophobia that lie at the root of the serious issues that we face. Many of the crises we face can only be addressed through international collaboration. War and the threat of war make such cooperation among nations impossible.

It’s long past time to put Militarism back into Martin Luther King’s “giant Triplets of Racism, Materialism and Militarism” that must be conquered if we are to effectively wage the struggle for the beloved community of which he dreamed. It’s time to implement his insistence that the fight against Militarism is an essential component in our movement for social justice, liberation from racism and the very survival of our planet.


Read Breakouts Detailed Descriptions

Breakouts I – Morning

Confronting Extinction Together
Radical base building: how to organize tenants to defend their homes and change the system
Current Struggles for Quality Public Education for All
Immigration Policy and the Building of a Military State
The United States: A Once, Current, and Future Empire
Reducing the Risk of Nuclear War
Racism, Militarism, and War
Fixing our Broken Democracy / 2020 Election

Breakouts II – Afternoon

Organizing for a Green New Deal: Politics of Shifting Alignments
Connections for Climate Action: Organizing to stop war, create community connections, and promote bio-restoration
Fighting to Save Our Homes: An examination of our affordable housing crisis and what can be done about it
A moral budget for Massachusetts
Voices from the Border: Migration and the Struggle for Justice
The Raytheon antiwar campaign: Bringing the destruction of Yemen home to Massachusetts.
Understanding & Challenging the Increasing Dangers of Great Power Tensions
How to be an antiracist
Voices from the Border: Migration and the Struggle for Justice

Read Breakouts Detailed Descriptions

RegisterRegistration: General admission $35 in advance, $40 at door; member of sponsoring organization $25 in advance, $30 at door; student/ low income $10 in advance/$15 at door; supporter $75, will be thanked in materials and at conference.   All registration types include lunch and morning coffee.  To register, go to rising-up.bpt.me, or mail check to Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 and write “Rising Up” on the memo line; or call 617-354-2169 with credit card number.

Registration, coffee, literature tables 8:00
Welcome; Michael McPhearson, Danny Sjursen 9:00
Merrie Najimy, Alexandra Piñeros Shields 10:15
Breakouts I 11:10
Lunch – Auditorium 12:30
Rep. Ayanna Pressley 1:30
Breakouts II 2:15
Nick Rabb, Kevin Peterson, Medea Benjamin 3:45
Adjourn 5:00

17 sponsors logos

Sponsored by:  Massachusetts Peace Action; Our Revolution Massachusetts; American Friends Service Committee; Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security; Physicians for Social Responsibility-Greater Boston; Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom/ Boston Branch; City Life/ Vida Urbana; Progressive Democrats of America; Massachusetts Korea Peace Campaign; United for Justice with Peace; We the People Massachusetts;  Veterans for Peace / Smedley Butler Brigade; Women’s Action for New Directions;  Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants; Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Institute for People’s Engagement.  Endorsers: Wolf-PAC, Dorchester People for Peace, Refuse Fascism, Institute for Resource & Security Studies, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), House of Peace.

Sponsoring and endorsing organizations:  Massachusetts progressive organizations are invited to cosponsor or endorse.  Cosponsoring organizations contribute $100 or more; includes one free admission, your members receive discounted admission, prominent mention in materials, and a literature table, and you are invited to join planning meetings.  Endorsing organizations contribute $50; includes one free admission, mention in materials, and a literature table.  Sign up to cosponsor or endorse at rising-up.bpt.me/ or mail check to Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 and write “Rising Up” on the memo line.  For info contact Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action, at 617-354-2169 or cole@masspeaceaction.org.   

Venue:  Washburn Auditorium is in the basement of Washburn Hall.  Its address is 10 Phillips Place and may be reached by a campus walkway from the corner of Brattle Street and Mason Street.   From Harvard Square, walk out Brattle Street; cross Mason St and take a campus walkway to the right.   By bus, take the 72, 74, 75, or 78 from Harvard Station; get off at the first stop, Garden and Mason Streets; walk one block on Mason, turn right on Phillips Place, turn left after the building and enter it from the side..   The nearest parking garage is in the Charles Hotel; there are 2 hour parking meters on Brattle St and Garden St.

Rising Up Venue Map
Rising Up Venue Map


Sat November 9, 2019
9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST
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Washburn Hall, Brattle Campus, Lesley University
10 Phillips Place
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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