Media Contacts:

Name: Kyle Silliman-Smith
Title: Program Director, Peace & Justice Center
Phone: 802-863-2345 x6
Email address: kyle@pjcvt.org

Name: Robin Lloyd
Title: Lead Organizer, VT Stands for a World Beyond War Coalition
Phone: 802-862-4929
Email address: robinlloyd8@gmail.com
For Immediate Release
The Peace & Justice Center presents the VT Peace Conference
BURLINGTON, MAY 1, 2018 - The Peace & Justice Center, and affiliated groups are proud to announce the second Vermont Peace Conference: Building a World Beyond War, on Saturday May 12 from 9:30 – 4:30 pm at the Old North End Community Center on 20 Allen St., Burlington.

Our keynote speaker is Beata Tsosie-Peña from the Tewa tribe near the Los Alamos National Laboratory New Mexico. Tsosie-Peña is a poet, performer, and mother who has spoken out about the nuclear industry that has occupied the sacred ancestral homelands of the Tewa people since the establishment of the Manhattan Project in 1943. The realities of living next to a nuclear weapons complex has called her into environmental health and justice work with the local non-profit organization, Tewa Women United for the last ten years. She will bring her vision of the sustainability of our Earth for future generations to our conference.

Fifteen hour-long programs will fill most of the day. They will address aspects of what it will take to build a world beyond war. Participants will have the opportunity to choose three of the fifteen. Activist and organizing groups are encouraged to attend as a team so as to gain information from as many topic areas and people presenting as possible. The content is designed to work in collaboration with other topics and issues covered. The conference will focus on specific aspects of building a world beyond war. Programs will include panel discussions, group trivia games, workshops, and presentations and are led by organizers, authors, and activists from around the state including Bennington, Randolph, Montpelier, Bristol, Burlington, and more. All programs on the day of can be found at www.pjcvt.org/vt-peace-conference-2018. Here is a small sampling of workshops to get a sense of the scope of the day.
  • North Korea – Deterrence, Preparedness or Preemption
  • #MeToo and Global Feminism
  • Economic Revolution: Five Systems to Change
  • Global Trade and Racism
  • The Meaning of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Israel?
  • The Impacts of US Militarism in Okinawa and Forewarning Regarding the F-35
  • Pipeline Politics: The Shocking Truth about Endless Wars in the Middle East

How to Get Rid of All Nuclear Weapons is the one program offered by someone outside of VT. This will be led by special guests Dr. Timmon Wallis and Vicki Elson from Northampton MA, and founders of NuclearBan.US, a new organization affiliated with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). They will present a workshop about how citizens can implement the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, recently signed by 122 nations at the United Nations. In the same way as cities and states have implemented the Paris Climate Accord even though the federal government has announced plans to withdraw, Wallis and Elson will introduce ways to make cities and states ‘nuclear compliant.' States Elson, “This treaty is a game-changing new tool. It’s not just a moral or humanitarian issue any more. It’s a legal issue too. We can boycott the 26 companies that make nuclear weapons and the financial institutions that support them. We can compel divestment, legislation, and enforcement. We won’t stop until every nuclear weapon has been dismantled.” 

The conference is sponsored by the Peace & Justice Center in collaboration with the VT Stands for a World Beyond War Coalition. This coalition was formed in 2016 because of a need for increased collaboration and connection between folks doing peace work in many ways throughout the state. Coalition member groups include Burlington Vermont Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Peace & Justice Center, Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans for Peace, Save Our Skies VT/Stop the F35s Coalition, Vermonters for Justice in Palestine (VTJP), the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, Vermont Action for Peace, Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund, Kunsi Keya Tomakoce, Global Unity and Solidarity Club at Rice Memorial High School, Justice for All, Kids4Peace VT, and more.

People can register for the conference at pjcvt.org/vt-peace-conference-2018 or call 802-863-2345, x6. Registration to this conference includes coffee and snacks in the morning AND lunch (catered by Nepali Kitchen) for all participants! The base pricing is very low thanks to sponsor organizations and groups, a grant from the Serena Foundation, and individual donors covering the bulk of the conference expenses. It is important to all involved that this program is financially accessible to everyone wanting to be a part of this ongoing work for peace.