Goshen College students were invited to take part in a weekly witness for peace as part of an ongoing community demonstration.
Last week, Gwen Gustafson-Zook, minister of worship at Goshen College, posted an eye-catching announcement in the Communicator. In summary, it was an invitation for Goshen College students to head downtown on Wednesday to witness against the ongoing war in Iraq. Every Wednesday afternoon, community members gather to pray and support those who suffer in Iraq and war inflicted areas.
The majority of the members who participate in this protest are from a group called Seniors for Peace. The members of this organization focus on efforts to promote peace in the public sphere. For example, they have read names of people killed in Iraq as a part of their peaceful vigil. Standing in solidarity on the corners of Lincoln and Main streets, the people remember and recognize the deaths of the Iraq war.
The organized protests started at the inception of 2003 US involvement with Iraq, which eventually became an invasion. From then on, these members have continued their cause for the next 11 years.
Gustafson-Zook said, “The fact that this protest has happened weekly, throughout winter, the heat of summer, is a testament to the consistent commitment to voice their opposition to the war.”
Although, these days the group isn’t as massive in size as it was during the inception of the war, it’s still a conscious collective of people who call people to remember that the United States is still engaged in war.
“It would be wonderful if college students could join Seniors of Peace to raise awareness and to learn from people who have a long experience,” Gustafson said. “They started protesting around 2003, back to the days when some current college students were young as 8 years old.”
Evelyn Kreider, who is 99 years old, has been involved for over 10 years since the inception of the witness action. As a veteran to this movement, she hopes that their signs remind passersby that dialogue is more effective in solving international problems.
In regards to student involvement, Kreider said, “the energy of young people would encourage existing participants and also show the public that this concern involves everyone, not just older people. Militarism is a societal problem to be solved by all ages”
She recalls watching her father refuse war bonds in World War 1. For her, this experience served as a symbol of peace and, eventually, her commitment to peace-related witness. For college students to join her and others might create a significant impact within student lives as well.
This open invitation allows Goshen College students to join hands with Seniors of Peace, as well as other like-minded community members. Students have the opportunity to join the peace-minded movement as well as hear stories from people who have consistently made their position known within the community. Becoming part of a movement, gives a chance for each person to become part of a solution.
Goshen College students can join to become a public witness, participate with local community members and to join their peaceful stance against the ongoing war in Iraq, every Wednesday from 12:15-12:35 p.m. at the intersection of Lincoln and Main streets.