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Every Drop Counts: Coming Together for Water

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

WNPJ Fall Assembly

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice ( brought people together in Appleton to learn about challenges and solutions to the water issues we are facing in our communities - which are playing out all over the world.

This program was dedicated to the work of Dawn Sturdevant Baum (1976-2023), Wisconsin attorney who became General Counsel for the Yurok Tribe in Northern California, and spoke up for indigenous peoples around the world at the the UN Climate Change COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland and COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where she spoke about the importance of using indigenous knowledge with sovereignty in addressing the climate crisis.

Watch segments from the program:

Dean Hoegger of Clean Water Action Council speaks about laws citizens can use to protect the waters of the state and about some current legal challenges that threaten to take away the DNR's authority and the rights of citizens to protect the environment and human health. Play clip

Lynn and Nancy Utesch, featured in the film Sold Down the River, spoke about the third world water conditions in Wisconsin brought on by factory farms, and affect farms in their region. This issue is being played out across the United States as politicians seem to put the interests of their corporate donors over the health and safety of their constituents. Play clip Watch Sold Down the River (15-minute film)

Rights of Nature Wisconsin Initiative - Terry Dawson and WISDOM representative David Liners, and Rev. Mark Richards. Today, we face global environmental crises - including soaring extinction rates and accelerating climate change. This has happened despite thousands of environmental laws. What those laws have in common is that they regulate the exploitation of nature - treating nature as existing for human use. It's time for that to change - for our laws to recognize nature -- the waters, plants, animals and ecosystems we live among -- as a living being with legal rights. Play clip

Bill Christofferson received the Peacemaker of the Year Award 2023 - Introduced by Milwaukee's Vets for Peace contact Mark Foreman (l) and Blue Heron Award from Co-chair Mary Kay Baum (r).

Photo credit Brad Geyer of VFP Madison

Bill has served on the WNPJ Board and has been connected with many of our member groups, including Nukewatch, Veterans for Peace, WAVE, and more. He has written a book: "Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson". This past year, Bill coordinated the sailing of the anti-nuke ship "The Golden Rule" into Wisconsin waters, spreading information about the hazards of nuclear waste and war-heads at each place she docked.


Tribute to George Paz Martin, by Julie Enslow

George Paz Martin, 1946-2023

George Paz Martin was born in 1946 in the Philippines, the WWII love child of an island beauty and a black American GI. His father brought them to the United States after the war and George was raised in Milwaukee’s black community. At the age of 16 their parish priest, civil rights leader Fr. James Groppi, took George with him to Washington DC for the March on Washington . There, George was 20 feet from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. It changed his life.

After years of working for non-profits in the areas of economic development, civil rights, homeless vets, health care for the homeless, gang violence and a stint in marketing and promotion, George ended up in 2000 working in the Ralph Nader for President campaign and became a leader in the Green Party. He joined Peace Action Wisconsin and became totally committed to peace and justice, nuclear disarmament and anti-war organizing. In 2001 he became program director for Peace Action WI and joined the national effort to stop a US war on Iraq. He was chosen as national co-chair of United for Peace and Justice for 8 years.

George was a powerful, dynamic speaker, an excellent organizer and had the ability to bring people together. His international work for peace led to over 20 trips to Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. He was interviewed on radio and TV in over 120 countries.

Twenty years ago, WNPJ had its annual meeting during intensive efforts to prevent a U.S. war on Iraq. George Martin was there and passionately proposed a statewide action at our US Congressional home offices. WNPJ and George organized sit-ins at three of Sen. Kohl’s offices simultaneously. In Milwaukee we occupied Kohl’s office four days and three nights. If George was here today he would be calling for WNPJ to again promote joint actions around the state at congressional offices to stop the Israeli genocide against the people of Gaza. Let us do all we can to help bring justice and peace to Israel/Palestine.

November, 2023


More photos from the Assembly

(photo credit to Ronna Swift of Appleton)


Great Blue Herons depend on wetlands and waterways.

In summer they make nests on very high trees, close to each other in a rookery. Adults spend most of every day stalking in water to slowly catch fish for themselves and for their young.

Nesting in a large rookery protects the young from predators. Plus one adult heron stands guard ready to challenge and scare away any predator.

This community is dedicated to protecting all of its members.

Mary Kay Baum, Co-chair of WNPJ



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