Category Archives: Peace Fairs

2014 Grassroots Community Fair at Hunter College


Tuesday, March 18 at the Hunter Grassroots Community Fair:

The Granny Peace Brigade came to the fair to ask Hunter students for help. We would like the New York City Council to pass a resolution banning weaponized and surveillance drones in NYC. How will that happen? If many, many voters call their City Council representatives asking for drone-control legislation we just might get a law passed. (Click on photos for larger images.)

Photo: Caroline Chinlund
Photo: Caroline Chinlund
Photo: Caroline Chinlund
Photo: Caroline Chinlund

As students stopped by we gave out flyers and FAQ sheets…



Photo: Phyllis Cunningham
Photo: Phyllis Cunningham




…and got into many interesting conversations about drones.



Photo: Eva-Lee Baird
Photo: Eva-Lee Baird




Photo: Phyllis Cunningham
Photo: Phyllis Cunningham

Here’s what we asked them to do:










Go to
Type in your address and borough.
Your council person will appear along with contact info.
Get the phone number and make a call.
Identify yourself as a constituent,
and say that you want your councilperson to support a resolution banning weaponized and surveillance drones in NYC.

– Caroline Chinlund, Eva-Lee Baird & Phyllis Cunningham
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Granny Peace Brigade brings Drone info to Hunter College


Seven Granny Peace Brigade members accepted the invitation of Hunter College’s Democracy Fair organizers and prepared an educational exhibit about drones, which are unmanned airborne vehicles.  Drones can be peaceful, or they can be deadly.  They can also invade privacy and contribute to severe stress when they hover over homes.  In Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan, drones have killed the innocent along with suspected guilty persons; but no judge or jury had determined guilt before the execution was carried out.  The GPB re-purposed the Gizmo tubes used for our Penny Poll to poll opinions of people at the Democracy Fair about drones.

2013_03_14_hunter_1(Click on photos for larger images)

Among the many students, teachers and others who shared their opinions of drones, many were fully aware of the issues, others less so.  Some people gave serious thought to the issues before casting their penny into either the Yes or No tube.  The handouts we gave out provided information and links to sources for more information.


We met many thoughtful people at Hunter College, as we have in the past and the day was fruitful for us.  We introduced people to the concept to limiting drones to peaceful purposes and having legislation to bar their use for surveillance or assassination.  We also found a group of little children who had tunics almost exactly like ours; they are much cuter than we are, for sure!


Edith Cresmer, text and photos

Nydia’s Greeting at the 2011 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs


(Our Granny Peace Brigade member Nydia Leaf is attending the 2011 World Hiroshima and Nagasaki Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, August 3 – 9 in Japan.)


KONICHIWA – Greetings from the Granny Peace Brigade in New York City!

It is a great honor for the Granny Peace Brigade to participate in this World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.  Since 1945 when the United States dropped uranium and plutonium bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our two countries have been forever linked.   It is a special privilege to attend this gathering and to bring you messages of support from people who believe in the work of Gensuikyo for the Abolition of all nuclear weapons.

The Granny Peace Brigade members are OBAASAN – and we are part of a larger network of older women in the USA.  Our group came into existence after many Obaasan were arrested in 2005 for opposing the Iraq war.  We have gained respect and a reputation for fighting the militarization the US government imposes on its citizens and on other nations under the name of “Democracy.”  We collaborate with other peace and justice organizations and our motto is “We Will Not Be Silent.”   We are engaged in the same struggle as you:  to speak Truth to Power because there must be a world of peace for future generations.

We have several committees in the Granny Peace Brigade – Counter-Recruitment; No U.S. Military Bases in other Countries, and Legislative.  We have a Website and Blog that enable us to publicize our actions and communicate with others, both individuals and organizations, and has much information:

Hisae Ogawa has given a name to the dual efforts needed to inform people and work for change – GLOCAL – since we must work on both global and local levels.  Our committees work glocally.

For example: 30 miles from New York City is the site of Indian Point, a nuclear reactor plant with 3 units which first opened in the 1970s and is designed like the Fukushima units.  More than 1500 tons of radioactive waste is stored at the site. In the event of an accident, there is still no workable evacuation plan for the 8 million people who reside within a 50 mile radius of Indian Point.  Despite public opposition to renewing an operating license, it is possible the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will approve the request from the Entergy Corporation.   Does this sound like some sort of INSANITY?  Yes, it is !!

In working with other groups the Grannies have many areas of involvement – there is no shortage of problems needing attention !!

We admire your extraordinary artists (like Kenzaburo Oe, Kurosawa, Ozu, Miyazaki, Murakami) and their work reflects what Article 9 of your constitution represents – a renunciation of war and the need to clear a path of harmony to save our planet.

The people of Japan understand better than anyone else that the United States government has the most powerful military in history.   It has developed weapon systems of catastrophic power and is the only country ever to have dropped nuclear bombs on another nation; it spends more for war than all other countries of the world combined.

At the same time, because of this Addiction to War, the United States stands isolated from most other countries. Here are only two examples where the USA does not participate in United Nations treaties.  These are important manifestos which address the rights of people over property.

The KYOTO PROTOCOL has been signed and ratified by191 member states but not the U.S. which generates 25% of global Greenhouse gases.

There is PAROS – PREVENTION OF AN ARMS RACE IN OUTER SPACE.  The U.S. is the only country to vote “no” to this treaty (Israel abstained).  Since 2001 the USA has spent $75 Billion a year to militarize space and has launched the first robotic war, using Unmanned Aerial vehicles over Afghanistan and Pakistan that are controlled remotely, very far from the battlefield

In the United States, the economic recession has caused 25% of the children to go to bed hungry every night. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Against this backdrop of militarism, the need for peacemakers to connect their work is even more important.  We know that most governments are motivated by self-interest so let us turn to each other for support, inspiration and the strength in numbers that we need.  We understand what values are needed to have a livable planet for future generations; we are the realists of the world and we persist because we must do the hard work together.    WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.

– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo: Phyllis Cunningham



The Granny Peace Brigade takes the message to the March 6 Social Change at Fair Hunter College.


Did you know:
• Since 2002, over 66,000 women in the military have been victims of sexual abuse or rape.
• Incidents of rape and sexual assault in the military increased 73% between 2004 and 2006.
• In one VA center alone, 41% of female vets reported being the targets of sexual abuse while enlisted.
• 29% reported being victims of rape during their tour of duty.

H. Con. Res. 28 introduced by Representative Jane Harman (CA) is the first step in bringing desperately needed changes to the Department of Defense’s policies and procedures in handling cases of rape and sexual assault on women in the military. It calls for the Department Of Defense developing an effective, pro-active strategy for investigating and prosecuting cases of sexual abuse. Having an army theme in adult films in this day in age is becoming increasingly popular, if you really wanted to, have a look over at sites like to see what we mean.

Rape and other acts of sexual assault against women in the U.S. Armed Forces have skyrocketed since 2002, including a staggering 73% increase in reported incidents from 2004 to 2006. These assaults are committed by U.S. military personnel, however the Department of Defense has failed to support the victims of this abuse. Investigations into reported instances have been inadequate, and prosecution and punishment almost nonexistent. Don’t stand by, stand up for the victims.


Grass Roots Action Technical Notes:
We asked the students to call their representatives on the spot. If they didn’t know who their representatives were we helped them find out. We explained that H. CON. RES. 28 is in committee and will not will not come up for a vote any time soon. When calling about recently introduced legislation that has been referred to a committee we ask our representatives to co-sponsor the legislation — unless they already have signed on. In that case we thank them.


Do you know who your representative is? Find and contact your elected officials via and

– Eva-Lee Baird and Fran Sears for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Five Grannies and a fella pitch ‘Opt Out Option’ at East Harlem Teen Fair.


August 30:  Educational and career outreach, health information, and support groups for teens and families along with food, music, face painting and fun — City Council Rep, Melissa Mark Viverito sure knows how to throw a party. Nydia, Judy, one Joan and both Barbaras are joined by our new friend, Kevin, from Brooklyn for Peace. Our table is set up with stacks of Opt-Out forms, Truth in Recruiting information, information about alternative opportunities to the military and candy — lifesavers and lollipops. Turns are taken holding down the table as the others fan out to engage the young participants and their parents.
We weave through the crowd, distributing the forms and starting conversations. Several other organizations and their representatives are working the room, offering us opportunities for further networking including the Education Advocate from State Senator Jose Serrano’s office, the Executive Director of Peace on the Street, and representatives from the Center for Employment Opportunities, Harlem Drummers, CodePink and AmeriCorp dedicated activists who are all doing important are work with high school students on non-military educational and career options.
The crowd is lively, responsive and receptive to our message. One thing is very clear, in the world of “No Child Left Behind”, all too many parents and kids are not getting the facts about the Opt Out Option. The vast majority of people we talk to – moms, dads and even their ‘too cool’ teenage offspring – are deeply grateful for the information we give them.

A young video crew from MNN Youth Channel asks to interview us about our work and we are more than pleased to get in front of their cameras. As soon as we get a broadcast date and time, we’ll let you all know.

To all of you folks who are so generous in your praise of the Granny Peace Brigade, who often ask us, “But what can I do?”, here is a suggestion.
Go on our website – – and click on the section about Counter Recruitment. Read up on what we’ve been doing, take a look at our videos and download and print out some Opt Out forms. Counter recruiting is something you can do on a spontaneous basis — you don’t need banners, buttons, maps, permits or anything other than a good opening line and a smile. Grab a friend (like swimmers, counter recruiters should use the Buddy System) stake out a spot near a hub for teenagers and/or their parents — then get busy! Prepare to be welcomed (sometimes hesitantly) and thanked (often effusively) — and when you’re done, be secure in the knowledge that you have helped build a more peaceful and just world.

Okay, get out there — and keep in touch. We can learn so much from each other and there is much for us all to do.

Barbara Harris & Fran Sears with Barbara Walker, Joan Pleune, Judy Lear, Nydia Leaf, Kevin (a college student working with Brooklyn for Peace)

Granny Peace Brigade at Brooklyn Peace Fair


On Saturday, March 26, we share a table with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at the bustling Brooklyn Peace Fair. Fran, Phyllis, Bob, Joan P, Bev and Caroline are up in the balcony at the GPB table along with the WILPFers, Jen and Bibienne. Barbara H is below with CodePink.

Peace groups and peaceful people are everywhere in the Schwartz Gym of Long Island U. It’s a really unique gym, with madly rococco walls and balcony betraying its past as a huge movie theater. People move among the many tables, networking and learning.
At a certain point the program begins, and the Raging Grannies including Corinne, Mercy, Lillian P and Betty start a set which is full of smarts and passion. Corinne’s song is dedicated to and about Sean Bell, and very poignant.

We are encouraged to find so many peace and social justice organizations together here in Brooklyn and we quickly sign ourselves up to present a workshop next year.
A member of the Black Veterans for Social Justice tells us that he knows about the GPB and is so glad to see us here. We’re just as glad to see him as we engage in conversation about AFRICOM. All in all, the Brooklyn Peace Fair is a very good experience. We’re exposed to many and our work is made more visible to others. Hopefully, the work for peace has been expanded. We’ll be here next year. Will you join us? Continue reading Granny Peace Brigade at Brooklyn Peace Fair