Thursday, July 26, 2007

KNOW Founders Reduce Their Time and Presence

On Sunday, September 1, 2002, Tom Small asked his wife, Nancy, what she wanted to do for her birthday. "I'd like to stand in front of the Federal Building with a sign saying 'No war in Iraq,'" she said.

Tom thought that to be a good idea so he called his friend, Patrick Jones, and the three of them arranged to meet at noon in front of the Federal Building on downtown Kalamazoo's main street to hold signs protesting a war against Iraq. The three continued their demonstrations each week and gradually other people found out about their "Sunday peace vigil." The group grew to 10, 15, and 20 and consisted of many people who had stood for peace many years ago during the Vietnam War. Later that fall, as many as 200 to 250 people joined the group that included students and professors from Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, Quakers, pacifists, members of the clergy and laity, Muslims, Veterans for Peace, local activists and senior citizens. On the first night after the war began, KNOW held a silent night time peace vigil and 700 people showed up.

How amazing what a small group of people can do! The Sunday vigils have met every week without fail since Tom and Nancy started them five years ago. For the first four of those years Tom also conducted the small group meeting after the vigil. This meant that he not only collected announcements, but prepared inspirational messages, some of his own and some from published sources. They both attended bi-weekly KNOW planning meetings and continued to work as a team to promote KNOW, peace, and the Sunday vigils.

This week Tom and Nancy announced that they would discontinue editing the Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW) newsletter. They have been sending it every week by e-mail over these past five years. But activists that they are, they will concentrate themselves to the great work they were doing before this awful war began: environmental education and service. To quote Tom's message:
As part of our campaign against violence to nature, the two of us are starting work on a new web site centering on climate change. We’ll begin redoing the old Earth Day web site and then move to a new web address. Ed Shankman has agreed to be our web master, and Nancy and I will work together on content. In addition to the environmental newsletter we do for our local chapter of Wild Ones, we’ll also do a newsletter focused on climate change. A new web site and two environmental newsletters are more than enough to keep us busy."
Peace be with you, Tom and Nancy, and thank you for all you have done for KNOW and for peace!

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