Greater Phoenix Branch is growing and on the move

Great Phoenix Branch

Some of the peace posters produced by young visitors to the Greater Phoenix Branch’s Peace Kids booth at the Scottsdale Arts Festival were hung in the branch’s “art gallery.” Credit: Mike Taft.

By Barbara Taft, Greater Phoenix Branch treasurer

The Greater Phoenix Branch has been busy with tabling and other activities for public exposure, and it’s working. In January, we tabled at the Mesa Martin Luther King Day event, which followed the Mesa MLK parade. Then, on February 25, we tabled at the Forum and Festival (formerly the Teach-in) at Arizona State University, where we distributed our information and talked with students and others about WILPF.

Kevin Greathouse and Barb TaftAt the last minute, we scheduled a meeting featuring Robin Lloyd, who was visiting from Vermont. Several members were interested in hearing her talk about her grandmother, Lola Maverick Lloyd, who was active at the start of WILPF nearly 102 years ago, because Lola was friends with Rosika Schwimmer, a prominent character in “Most Dangerous Women,” which we performed last year. Robin did not disappoint, although we couldn’t provide her with a large audience.

March found us running our Peace Kids booth at the Scottsdale Arts Festival, where we taught kids to make peace cranes and told them (and their parents) the Sadako story. Smaller children colored peace posters, which we posted in an outdoor art gallery. We got a dozen sign-ups from interested women who we hope will want to join our branch, and we had many discussions with others who stopped by, either to learn more or to tell us about their own experiences with WILPF.

We are preparing for the WILPF national solidarity event on April 22. Our member Floris Freshman is an accomplished artist, and she has made us a banner, using the example posted online. But ours is unique. Since we are in the desert, we decided that saguaro cactus was more relevant to our branch than the flowers that appear on the original, and we decided to “insist” (rather than “demand”) “peace and planet before profits.” We’ll be taking our branch photo with members and supporters on Saturday, April 8, in front of saguaros at the entrance to Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix, and then going to lunch at MacAlpine’s Diner and Soda Fountain, a few blocks away, which has been an institution in Phoenix since 1929 (not quite as long as WILPF has been an institution). This, we hope, will be a good opportunity to get to know some of our new members and friends as we chat about future plans. We also hope that many of our “Most Dangerous Women” cast members will get active again.

Also, thanks to Jeanmarie Bishop for setting up a branch website, which we hope will be up and running, with items posted on it, later this month.

Inset photo: Greater Phoenix Branch member Kevin Greathouse and treasurer Barb Taft wait to welcome visitors to their table at the Mesa MLK Day celebration. Credit: Mike Taft.



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