New England Retreat

Attendees at the fall 2016 WILPF New England Retreat

By Krystal Kilhart, 2016 Communications Intern

The Boston Branch sponsored this fall’s WILPF New England Retreat the weekend of October 21 and 22. The retreat provided WILPF members in the New England area the opportunity to gather and introduce themselves to each other and to hear from speakers on issues of race and the environment.

On Friday, Pat Hynes, a retired environmental engineer and professor of environmental health and the current director of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice in Western Massachusetts, gave a presentation titled “War and Warming: Can We Save the Planet without Taking on the Pentagon?” Hynes spoke about the importance of acknowledging the oversized responsibility of the US military for greenhouse gas emissions and environmental destruction.

On Saturday, DiDi Delgado, a founding member of Black Lives Matter, Cambridge, and the head of operations for the Society of Urban Poetry, and Stella Panzarella, a member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Boston, and a facilitator for White People Challenging Racism, spoke on the topic “The Movement for Black Lives.” They discussed the goals and actions of Black Lives Matter and how WILPF members can most effectively be allies in their critical work.

Attendees at the fall 2016 WILPF New England RetreatThree WILPF members were honored with the Jane Addams Spirit in Action award for their many years working in peace and justice movements. The three awardees were Sue Gracey, Audley Green, and Klare Allen.

Sue Gracey was the WILPF point person for almost 10 years in the struggle for environmental justice against a proposed biosafety level 4 lab in Boston (BSL-4 labs are used in research, storage, and cultivation of toxic biological substances and fatal pathogens). She helped organize WILPF members, along with other groups and individuals, to appear at dozens of public hearings, demonstrations, and meetings with representatives and to write letters to the editor.

Audley Green has been active with WILPF for over 50 years. She revived the Boston Branch of WILPF and has served on the International Board of WILPF. She has been active in racial justice work, and she collaborated with Simmons College to organize an annual celebration of International Women’s Day.

Klare Allen is active in racial justice and environmental work. She has also been active in representing and organizing people in Roxbury and has been a key organizer against the biosafety level 4 lab in Boston.

Photos: Attendees at the fall 2016 WILPF New England Retreat. Credit: Eileen Kurkoski.

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