How Schenectady Neighbors for Peace Started

I was new to Schenectady and intent on becoming involved in the community as quickly as possible. One afternoon, I filled out the volunteer section of the Upper Hudson Peace Action newsletter, and mailed it before last pick up that day. By 9 the next morning, David Easter was on the horn, explaining that he and Anita Paul had been speaking about organizing the already innumerable peace activists of Schenectady County into a new action oriented group. Would I please call her with my offer of help? I did, and that was the why and how of our new activist group, Schenectady Neighbors for Peace.

Anita, Bertha Kriegler, and I met at my home on July 6th, and since it was at my place, the other two announced that I would be the coordinator. ! We planned our first meeting for 9/11 at the main Schenectady Library, sent out notices of our intent, and planned our first event, Eyes Wide Open, to be exhibited at two locations. Three weeks later, Bonnie Koshofer joined our ranks with a primary responsibility of publicity and notifying the media, although we all shared all duties of making the group and events happen.

Our 9/11 organizational meeting was a big success with approximately 40 attendees, many of them first time activists. Anita led the meeting, brainstormed with the participants for ideas of action, and broke us into groups of our own choosing. The following sub committees were created: leafleting and counter-recruitment training; discussions and films; letter writing to the newspapers; advocacy with the media; and in-house newsletter and other forms of communication. There were many additional areas of interest noted for future consideration.

At this point we have successfully completed our Eyes Wide Open events which were held at Union College, and downtown Schenectady, and all sub committees have become activated.

Elizabeth Villalobos, October 1, 2006