Setting the stage for justice
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
The main characters in We Are Many—Amir Amirani’s documentary about the 2003 global march against the Iraq War—were activists, not A-list actors, although a few famous faces can also be spotted among the military-veterans-turned-peacemakers, politicians, philosophers and others who were inspired to make their voices heard in the years following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
When the 2014 film about the largest demonstration in history makes its North American live-streaming premiere on Mon., Sept. 21, it will be doing so in partnership with Whatcom Peace and Justice Center’s 17th annual International Day of Peace.
The event caps four days of happenings celebrating the work of the WPJC in advocating for peace and against wars and militarized systemic violence at home and abroad, and will include exclusive music performances and a Q&A panel discussion with Amirani, various cast members, and leaders from key activist organizations. Entry to watch the action unfold in your home theater is $7-$12, with 40 percent of the net profit from ticket sales benefitting the WPJC.
With a theme of “No Justice, No Peace”—a historical chant and message invoked during recent protests to highlight how positive peace will only be achieved in the presence of justice—the nonprofit is setting the stage for a powerful keynote address that promises to keep seasoned activists in the game, and inspire new ones to find the mettle to stand up for what they believe is right and just.
You’ll want to register in advance for the virtual events, which begin with an opening video at 6pm Friday online at WPJC’s website, YouTube, and Facebook. At 6pm Saturday, tune in to find out more about the history of WPJC and why they’re renaming the Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award—a way to honor local peacemakers whose life work is in the spirit of the founders of Bellingham’s long-running Peace Vigil—to the Rosemary and Howard Harris Lifetime Peace Award. Western Washington University political science professor Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson, the cofounder of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and longtime champion of nonviolence and civic engagement, will be this year’s worthy inductee. Stick around for his acceptance speech, and chances are you’ll learn a thing or two about Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist movements.
Before the main event on Sun., Sept. 20 (more on that shortly), the center will also host an in-person faction of its International Day of Peace lineup at a Silent Auction Pop-up taking place from 12pm-4pm Fri., Sept. 18 at Bellingham’s Holly Street Plaza. While staying socially distant and masked, attendees can meet WPJC volunteers, learn about their work and the upcoming weekend of events, donate to the center and get sweet deals from local businesses at a silent auction table. (If you’ve ever wanted to treat yourself to a personal magic show or take a private aerial lesson from a circus performer, know those are among the unique options to bid on as part of the auction.)
From Sept. 18-20, “Take Out for Peace” will also help Whatcom Peace and Justice Center reach its $5,000 fundraising goal with three days of events highlighting Black-owned businesses. Order from Guud Bowls on Friday, Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine on Saturday, and Brandywine Kitchen on Sunday, and 10 percent of profits from each day’s sales will go to WPJC. You’ll have done your part to help the center keep its doors open during a time of unprecedented need, and won’t have to worry about cooking dinner.
By 6pm Sunday night, attendees at the virtual and in-person events should be primed for a game-changing conversation between Seattle Black Panther cofounder Aaron Dixon and Portland-based author, artist and educator Walidah Imarisha, who is also the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Studies from Social Justice Movements. Dixon marched with Martin Luther King Jr. at age 13 and has spent more than 25 years working with gang-involved youth, and in addition to her activism Imarisha has facilitated numerous programs across her home state about Oregon Black history, so their conversation should be a compelling one.
“The historical discussion between two of the most significant Black organizers in the Pacific Northwest,” event organizers say, “honors this year’s uprisings against state violence across the country following the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade while calling upon our local community to confront white supremacy and anti-Blackness wherever it arises.”
Entry to “No Justice, No Peace” is by donation. For more details about International Day of Peace events, go to http://www.whatcompjc.org