July News

Talking Peace News: July 2023

It’s been a very busy month at the WNY Peace Center, and we are excited to share with you all what we’ve been up to — along with some of our plans for the fall! See below for more about:

  • The historic Golden Rule anti-nuclear peace sailing vessel arrival in WNY 7/30-8/2
  • Mind-Body Skills Group meetings on Thursdays beginning 8/3
  • Camp Peaceprints 2023: Healthy Lives Matter (7/17-7/28)
  • Walter Simpson Memorial Fund
  • Save the Date 11/10/2023: WNYPC 56th Annual Dinner ft. Rima Vesely-Flad
  • Action Alert: Weigh in on the proposal of a new jail in Erie County
  • ICYMI: new Talking Peace Radio episodes

Golden Rule sails into Buffalo for a Peaceful, Nuclear-free Future

The iconic peace vessel, the [3] Golden Rule, originally used by Quakers sailing to the Marshall Islands to try to stop US’s nuclear bomb testing, will visit in Buffalo on its Great Loop journey promoting Peace, enforcement of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and a NuclearFree Future.

The recent release of the movie [4] Oppenheimerand the upcoming anniversary/remembrance of the tragedies of [5] US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasakimake this a very timely visit.

When/Where: Events run from Saturday, July 29th through Wednesday, August 2nd. See updated schedule of events below.

Who: Organized by [6] Veterans For Peace (VFP), both the national organization managing the boat and its tour, as well as our local [7] VFP Chapter #128; and the [8] WNY Peace Center (WNYPC). More on the organizers is below. Co-sponsors include Indigenous Women’s Initiatives, Nekanehsakt, and Buffalo Friends Meeting. All are welcome.

Why: We are at more risk of a nuclear war than ever before, with war in Ukraine, no related diplomatic efforts, and a new generation of nuclear weapons in process. Furthermore, nuclear weapons became illegal on Jan. 22, 2021, the date of coming into force of the [9] Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We in WNY have paid mightily for nuclear proliferation, especially from the nuclear waste at West Valley as well as leftover waste from the Manhattan Project (by Seneca and Tuscarora Reservations, respectively). We need a peaceful, nuclear-free future for the good of the next seven generations and all creation.

The Golden Rule arrived in WNY on 7/29 as part of [10] two-year “Great Loop”from Chicago to Miami to Maine.

[11] Visit the Golden Rule WNYPC event page!

WNY Golden Rule Schedule of Events

Sat, 7/29 (PAST)

⛵ 9 AM @ Buffalo State TECH 160: Poster-making workshopfor children and adults (Parking in Lot R-12; first floor on East Side of Technology Building
⛵12 PM @ Elmwood & Bidwell: Women In Black anti-nuclear silent vigil

The Golden Rule sailboat successfully sailed through the thunderstorm to dock at Canalside Park in Buffalo.

Sun, 7/30 (TONIGHT!)

⛵ 5-6:30 PM @ Buffalo State University TECH 240: Poster making.All materials will be supplied; bring your artistic creativity.

⛵ 6:30 PM @ Buffalo State TECH 240: Opening event, Welcome/Aloha Golden Rule.Panel Discussion with Mark Colville (Kings Bay Plowshares 7); Kathy McGoldrick (West Valley Taskforce), Helen Jaccard (Golden Rule Project Manager), Chris Appleton (former Golden Rule Skipper), Diane Hinman, Dr. Charley Bowman (local environmental & antiwar activist), Vicki Ross, and Tom Casey.

Mon, 7/31

⛵ 10 AM @ Canalside Park: Official welcome and press conference. A traditional Haudenosaunee Thanks-giving address given by Jill Clause; Golden Rule crew,  Committee President and past Veterans for Peace Chair Gerry Condon, and Project Manager Helen Jaccard; Mark Colville, Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Amistad Catholic Worker (has done time for civil resistance for a Nuclear-Free Future); and Shannon Seneca, Haudenosaunee Environmental Engineer, Mohawk, Turtle Clan, Environmental Health Specialist working as Assistant Faculty at Roswell Park’s Center for Indigenous Cancer Research, Alternate Member on West Valley Citizen Taskforce; with proclamations from Erie County and the City of Buffalo.

⛵ 1 PM @ Canalside Park: Community gathering with music(featuring Bill Moran), drum circle (at 2:30 with Carolyn Zimmerman), poetry, mural-making, and boat rides; bring your own food

⛵ 7 PM @ The 9th Ward (341 Delaware Ave. near Tupper): Musical performances by JJ White (blues), Jean Dickson & Phil Banaszak; with Special Tribute to Bill Marx (Pax Christi) – including his grandson Brian Harrell

Tues, 8/1

⛵9:30 AM @ Buffalo State TECH 240: brunch & meet the GR Crew; planning session:Future Strategies for a Nuclear-Free Future(Parking: Lot R-12; 2nd floor, west end of Technology Bldg)
⛵ 1 PM @ Canalside Park: Sailboat rides & Q&A with the GR Crew; mural

Weds, 8/2

⛵8 AM @ Canalside Park: Send-off. Darelyn Spruce, Seneca, singing, leading kayak escort (bring your own canoes, kayaks, and/or paddleboards)

Golden Rule WNY Event Organizers
Veterans for Peace (VFP) founded in 1985, include both war- and peace-time veterans of the US armed services, as well as non-veteran associate members; all working to expose the true costs of war, establish a culture of peace, and heal the wounds from war. Learn more about their work at [12] veteransforpeace.org.

The Western New York Peace Center (WNYPC) has been working for peace and human rights since our inception as part of Rev. Dr. King’s Clergy & Laity Concerned in 1967. We pursue our mission of “Peace through Justice at home and abroad”through a wide range of activities, campaigns, and coalitions. Learn more about our mission at [13] wnypeace.org.


Weekly Mind-Body Skills Group

Join us for an eight-week Mind-Body Skills Group Session, facilitated by Jacquie Cherry and Deidra EmEl every Thursday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, beginning August 3rd. This transformative program offers a compelling blend of evidence-based healing techniques designed to assist you in navigating life transitions, managing stress, and coping with illness within a nurturing and compassionate group environment.

Register [15] hereto embark on this empowering journey. African-Americans in leadership roles that complete this program will be given preference for Embracing Buffalo’s retreat for African-American Healers. (See below for EB details and donate [16] hereto support the retreat.)
For more information, please call the WNYPC office at 716-332-3904.
Embracing Buffalois a collaborative effort between two trios of women healers – three who live in Buffalo, and three who simply love the place that we call “Home”. The EB team understands the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll of service on the servants. Our intention is to replenish community leaders and healers, contributing to expanding their capacity for continued service to humanity. Learn more about Embracing Buffalo’s work [17] here.


Camp Peaceprints 2023:

Healthy Lives Matter
Camp Peaceprints is an annual summer camp designed to introduce youth to social justice, while providing them with peaceful conflict resolution skills and exposure to a broader community. It is a two-week long alternative education program for participants ages 8 – 13, with older youth serving as Youth Assistants. Participants take weekly field trips and hear from local organizers daily. The lesson plans expose them to alternatives to violence exercises, historical movements to end oppression and modern day efforts in community organizing. Music, art, theater, dance, and recreation are significant facets of the program.

Our 2023 theme was “Healthy Lives Matter.”We explored what personal and community health is and how to maintain it. We considered fundamental components of health: fresh air, clean water, sunlight, mindfulness/meditation or connecting to a higher power, sleep, exercise, whole foods, and rest. We learned how a healthy environment benefits us, other living creatures, and the earth. We explored justice issues around health equity that various communities face and why impoverished communities face major health challenges. Campers learned what resources people need in order to have a healthy community. They now understand that their own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health matters in creating a healthy community.

Camp Peaceprints is facilitated by [19] SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolenceand the Western New York Peace Center. We are grateful for all of the support this year from the [20] Prevention Council of Erie County. Scholarships were made possible by the Riefler Ministry Enablement Fund, the Children’s Foundation of Erie County, and the Jim and Audrey Mang Camp Peaceprints Scholarship Fund. Learn more about Camp Peaceprints (including past years’ themes) [21] here.

[22] Check out more photos from CPP 2023!

Walter Simpson Memorial Fund

As you all know, our beloved friend and hero, Walter Simpson, passed on February 2, 2023 at age 73. (Buffalo News Obituary [23] here.) Walter was a stellar, devoted, life-long peace and justice activist. Multi-dimensional in approach, Walter:

  • Was part of the WNY Peace Center from the start, serving as its Executive Director from 1976-1980, and involved throughout the years;
  • Taught, planned, organized, and acted with extreme integrity for Environmental Justice, Human and Creation’s (including Creatures’) Rights;
  • Was UB’s Energy Officer for 26 years, promoting & achieving great advances in use of renewables – both saving them money and helping the planet;
  • Was an expert on the inter-relatedness of militarism and environmental degradation – in resource wars, in war causing mammoth pollution etc;
  • Spoke truth to power, including courageously confronting Henry Kissinger in an in-person meeting;
  • Strongly opposed nuclear weapons and US foreign policy, performing civil disobedience and being arrested for same.
  • Due to the depth and breadth of Walter’s activism, Ken Sherman, founder and first Executive Director of the WNY Peace Center (WNYPC), has established the Walter Simpson Memorial Fundto support WNYPC operations.

Ken Sherman, close to Walter as fellow members of the Sunflower Collective, referred to Walter as a “Peace Patriot.” Ken has initiated the [24] Walter Simpson Memorial Fundwith a donation of $1,000, and challenges those who knew him to make a donation in his honor: $1,000; $500; $100; $50. Donations of every size will be gratefully received. Our goal is to reach $10,000 by November 10, 2023 – the 56th Annual Dinner of the WNYPC (see below).You can donate to the fund [25] here, or send a check made payable to the WNY Peace Center to 1272 Delaware Avenue, Carriage House, Buffalo 14209 (please include Walter’s Memorial Fundin the memo line).

You can hear the audio of Walter’s Memorial Service (held July 8) [26] here. There is also a  [27] GoFundMe pagefor the Walter Simpson Solar Memorial, which includes a plaque for Walter and Joan Bozer at the wonderful solar carousel at Canalside, and a bench for visitors at the UB Solar Strand.

Deep Thanks and Love  to Walter, Ken, and all working for Peace through Justice! Walter Simpson, Presente!

Save the Date: 11/10/2023 – WNYPC 56th Annual Dinner

We are excited to announce our 56th Annual Dinner Keynote Speaker: Rima Vesely-Flad, PhD
Dr. Vesely-Flad is scholar of social theory and social ethics, with a focus on Critical Race Theory, Buddhism, Christianity, and Social Justice. She has practiced vipassana in the Insight tradition since 2006, after spending a year in an American Zen lineage. She has been deeply inspired by Black dharma teachers, and as a result, her most recent project has been to make visible profound dharma teachings through the lens of Black voices (contemporary dharma teachers as well as Black writers).

Dr. Vesely-Flad on her work: “This is a labor of love, and also rests upon two decades of working as an organizer, legislative advocate, and direct service provider in the movement to dismantle the system of mass incarceration in the U.S. My first book, [28] Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice(Fortress Press, 2017) arose from grassroots activism in New York State. My new manuscript, [29] Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation(New York University Press, April 2022), brings the voices of more than 70 Black dharma teachers and practitioners to the center of American Buddhism.”

Learn about Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad at [30] buddhismandblackvoices.com.

WNYPC Annual Dinner event details – including location, ticket purchasing options, and more – coming soon to Talking Peace News! Also check for updates at [31] wnypeace.organd our [32] FB Event page.

Action Alert

We want to hear from you! Click the image above to take our community feedback survey and share your take on Erie County’s proposal for a new jail.

Talking Peace Radio

Check out our 7/19 taping of Talking Peace with the WNY Peace Centerfeaturing Gerry Condon, former board chair of Veterans For Peace and Chair of the Golden Rule Committee; Chris Appleton, former skipper of the Golden Rule; Tom Casey, Golden Rule WNY Planning Committee member; Sameria Mbili, Peace Action and WNYPC member; and Victory Ross, WNY Peace Center (WNYPC) Board Chair.

Discussion topics include: the Golden Rule trips to stop US nuclear testing in Marshall Islands; its current Great Loop voyage for a Nuclear-Free Future; events in Buffalo 7/29-8/2 (see Golden Rule section above); the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; ways people can help, get more involved

Talking Peace Radiois taped for just under an hour and live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch during taping; airs on WBNY 91.3FM the following Monday at 12 noon EST, with simultaneous live-streaming audio at [35] wbny.buffalostate.edu.⁠ Special thanks to Richard Wicka of [36] Think Twice Radiofor all his work!

Support Our Work!

We can’t do all of this without you!Make a [38] monthly Peace Pledgeof $25 or more and be one of the first to receive our new WNYPC t-shirt, a secondary gift of your choice (peace pin or sign), future Talking Peace Newsletter acknowledgement, and discounts to select WNYPC events!

Or donate other ways here!