MAPA Showcases Young Peace Activists, Launches Year-End Fund Drive

We Won't Go Back Collage
Images from the We Won't Go Back celebration, October 15. From upper left: Interns Chloe Steele, Cate Henning and Jax Nicoloff receive the Peacebuilider Award from assistant director Brian Garvey; Trader Joe's United union president Jamie Edwards accepts his award from MC, labor activist and MAPA board member Jared Hicks; Miranda Groux accepts Demilitarize Western Massachusetts' award from MAPA CD2 coordinator Paki Wieland; State Sen. Jamie Eldridge with Jared Hicks; MAPA office coordinator Nijimbere Lahayiloyi serves a Cuba dinner to Deb Breen, intern Kim de Guzman, and other attendees; Massachusetts Poor People's Campaign tri-chairs Savina Martina and Vaughn Goodwin receive an award from MAPA board co-chair and PPC activist Jonathan King; dinner attendees. Photos: Werner Pellehn Blum and Madison Witaconis/MAPA

by Cole Harrison

MAPA’s “We Won’t Go Back” annual celebration on October 15 showcased a vibrant  and growing Massachusetts peace and justice movement, particularly featuring young activists and honoring allies and volunteers who have made a difference for peace in the past year.

We raised over $15,000 at the event towards our fall fund drive goal of $90,000.  As of today the fund drive has $62,010 to go, and with your support we look forward to meeting and exceeding that goal!  Here’s how you can donate!

Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara at MAPA's "We Won't Go Back" Celebration Oct 15, 2022. MAPA photo
Kendra Lara

A highlight was the eloquent address given by Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara, the 2022 recipient of MAPA’s Peace Leadership award and author of the recently passed city council resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The daughter of a young, undocumented woman from the Domincan Republic, Councilmember Lara spoke movingly of the unique trajectory of her life, from alienated teenager, to union and social justice organizer to the Black internationalist that she is today, all due to in her words the multifacted and dynamic movement ecology we are part of that connects peoples across borders, everywhere. 

MAPA presented Peacebuilder Awards to MAPA’s full-time interns; Demilitarize Western Massachusetts; Trader Joe’s United; the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign; MAPA cartoonist Joe Kandra; and Cuban-American choreographer José Mateo, whose students performed as the finale of the evening.

Above, watch video highlights of the evening.

A table of enthusiastic peace activists from Western Massachusetts and another from the Taunton/ Bridgewater area of Southeastern Mass. testified to the increasing statewide reach of MAPA’s support base.

Available at the dinner were copies of Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies’ new book, War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. The books arrived too late for Medea’s book talks in Masschusetts two weeks ago, but we have a limited number of copies available in the office for $17; contact us to obtain your copy!

We don’t have to tell you that it is a terrible time for peace, as the US and Russia are nearly at war in Ukraine, as tensions rise between the US and China even as climate disaster threatens the world, and as the US continues to ruthlessly squeeze smaller countries from Cuba to Yemen to Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, and Korea to bend them to its will.

So — It’s up to you!  Help us keep the peace movement growing!  Can you join the 145 people who donated to MAPA at the dinner and make a contribution today to our fund drive?  Can you join one of our working groups and bring the message to your campus, church  or community?  Join us with your dollars and your energy!

We thank you for your support!