A group of pacifists met outside the Madison Municipal Court for the a Vigil for Peace demonstration Monday.
Attendees held signs and passed out pamphlets to pedestrians walking by on the corner of Doty Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Occasionally, a passing car would honk to show support for the Vigil for Peace, which has been in continuation for 34 years.
U.S. veteran Lars Prip compared the impact of the event on the community’s social attitudes to ripples in water.
“I don’t know where those ripples are going to go, but I want people to be aware that there are other alternatives,” Prip said. “What they do with it is up to them.”
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Kathleen Cairns handed out fliers promoting a Climate Resistance Watch Party this coming Wednesday at the Alicia Ashman Public Library.
Like many others at the rally, she would like to see an increase in youth involvement and activism. While some young people stopped to take fliers, the event was void of any college-aged adults.
Individuals at the event supported a variety of causes related to war, including social and economic inequalities and environmental activism. Cairns said climate protection is an essential part of the peace movement.
“Climate underlies everything,” Cairns said. “You take away a livable climate, and you’re going to have war, refugees and major disruption. That’s where we’re headed.”
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The gatherers supported a variety of ideologies and opinions on war. Prip believes profit and the desire to protect American interests in foreign resources — like fossil fuels — is the underlying root of American military involvement.
Desert Storm Veteran Brad Geyer said American wars dehumanize people of different national, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Many of the vigil members spoke or wore slogans condemning President Donald Trump, who, according to The Washington Post, plans to ask for $716 billion in defense spending for 2019.
Although the event was not arranged by any specific organization, people at the event came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Margery Lyford has been an active member at the Bethany United Methodist Church for more than 50 years.
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“It really helps me to be with other peacemakers,” Lyford said. “There’s quite a bit of Camaraderie.”
While many of the attendees spoke on what they hoped to accomplish, some did feel a little disheartened about the perceived lack of interest from the public.
Tom Lynk, whose mother was an active pacifist in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was unsure about the impact of the vigil.
“This may plant the seed, but it’s hard to know how much of that filters down through the consciousness,”Lynk said.
The vigil ended with a song circle. Many of the members offered friendly goodbyes to each other before parting separate ways.