2023 Annual Dinner Recap – Respecting the Earth, Working for Peace

Peace Advocate October 2023

Photo: Jimmy Tingle

by Jonathan King

Gail Melix

On Sunday, October 8th 2023, Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) members and supporters from all across the state gathered for a warm, lively and uplifting Annual Dinner. The event was hosted by renowned comedian Jimmy Tingle, who brilliantly interwove the anxiety we all feel about the escalating violence in the world, with the comradeship and solidarity we experience as we pursue the cause of peace. The dinner launched the annual fundraising drive and netted more than $20,000 toward our annual fund drive.

Gail Melix, of the Wampanoag tribe, opened with a land acknowledgement and greetings, noting the appropriateness of recognizing the following Monday as Indigenous People’s Day.

MAPA Executive Director Cole Harrison with Vernon Walker

Board Co-Chair Jonathan King named the multiple difficult and dangerous threats we are facing in the nation and in the world, and pointed out that it’s in just such times as these when organizations like Peace Action become most important:

“It’s when the storm winds blow hardest that we must make sure the candle flame for peace and justice remains lit,” King said.

Cole Harrison, MAPA’s Executive Director, reviewed the many Peace Action programs that are currently active, and recognized their many dedicated leaders.

Guests then enjoyed a delicious Caribbean dinner provided by Eunice’s Cuisine.

After dinner, board member Hayat Imam announced that, for the first time, two active members of Massachusetts Peace Action were running for election to public office — Andrew King for Cambridge School Committee and Vernon Walker for Cambridge City Council. She urged Cambridge-based Massachusetts Peace Action members to give them their #1 vote on November 7th, in the Cambridge proportional representation election.

Massachusetts Peace Action presented four Peacebuilder Awards:

Craig Simpson with Peacebuilder Awardee Jean-Luc Pierite

Molly McGinty (Program Director International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW) — introduced by Fran Jeffries

Jean-Luc Pierite (Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Board President, North American Indian Center of Boston, NAICOB)  — introduced by Craig Simpson

Lewis and Meg Randa (Founders of the Pacifist Memorial, Sherborn, and of the Life Experience School) — introduced by Shelagh Foreman

Diane Turco (Cape Downwinders, Save the Bay) — introduced by Susan Mirsky

Paul Shannon with Peacebuilder Awardee and MC, comedian Jimmy Tingle

Jimmy Tingle, our MC, was given a surprise reward by Paul Shannon

Jimmy Tingle provided a number of brilliant semi-autobiographical sketches which fully engaged and entertained our audience. With help from Merri Ansara he led a final fundraising call which resulted in our total fundraising effort breaking $20,000.

The dinner was the result of hard work and dedication by MAPA’s Fundraising Committee, led my Hayat Imam, Merri Ansara, Brian Garvey with help from members Susan Mirsky, Cole Harrison and Jonathan King.