WNPJ Founders Video Project

On a cold February morning in 1991, more than 300 people gathered in the Assembly chamber at the Wisconsin state capitol to respond to the recently launched U.S. war on Iraq and to map out a plan for a more just and peaceful world. This meeting gave birth to the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, which has since grown to a statewide coalition of more than 170 member organizations and hundreds of dues-paying individual members. Of that initial group of 300, more than 50 are still members of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. This "20 Year Club" has stayed with us in good times and bad, through the Clinton, Bush and now Obama administrations.

Below is a collection of brief video interviews with "20 Year Club" members.

 

Bonnie Block, who also served as Director of WNPJ and as a member the WNPJ board:

David Leeper, who has stayed active in the peace movement and has maintained his WNPJ membership for the past 20 years:

Jack Tiffany, a longtime member of the WNPJ board and an active member of the Madison Friends Meeting:

Mary Beth Schlagheck, WNPJ Co-chair, and organizer of the Madison weekly peace vigil, which will reach its 30th anniversary in December:

Susan Becker, a contact for two WNPJ member groups: Madison Friends of International Students, and Church Women United of Dane County:

 

John McGinley of Juneau County Peacemakers talks about how WNPJ has helped their group work on social justice issues of homelessness, fair wages for undocumented workers and more:

 

Ben Manski, who came to the 1991 meeting as one of a group of Madison West High students, sees value in WNPJ because "Our strength comes from organizing statewide."

Will Williams, a Vietnam Veteran who has been part of Vets for Peace and Madison Area Peace Coalition, says, "Peace is the only thing that will save this earth." Will says "WNPJ has opened the eyes of a lot of people to what is going on."

Tim Kehl credits WNPJ with helping to "unite all disparate elements of peace movement." He says President Obama's election shows "We need not just to elect a liberal or progressive, but to keep the pressure on from the peace movement."

Robert Kimbrough, a Veteran for Peace, recalls that  he argued strongly for the inclusion of the word "Justice" in our name (Our name as first proposed was Wisconsin Network for Peace.)

Lance Green, who was our Newsletter editor for ten years, values WNPJ becaust "It's important to join people's power together for the right causes."

Alan Ruff, active in Madison Area Peace Coalition and Rainbow Books, says, "A statewide network has been crucial in getting a peace and justice message out." After a brief interruption from a Capitol police officer, Alan continues: "More people are making the connection between austerity at home and endless war overseas."

Former WNPJ board member Barb Boehme recalls that she had long been active with Madison-Area Urban Ministry, but not with the peace movement until that day in February 1991. For her, WNPJ "Gave me the opportunity to do things that really matter and form lasting friendships with dedicated people."

David Giffey of Vets for Peace recalls the 1991 start of the Gulf war as "a profoundly sad time" but says, "For me, WNPJ represents the thread of continuity that is so necessary for the peace movement." 

Joanne Elder, who came to WNPJ through her involvement in the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom and United Nations Association of Dane County, says, "All of us have bits and pieces, but WNPJ puts it all together."

Russ Attoe, who has maintained his WNPJ membership for the past 20 years, appreciates our events calendar.