Saturday, September 21 is recognized the world over as the International Day of Peace. It’s also the day a longtime local activist group dedicated to that very pursuit is celebrating a major milestone.
The Charlottesville Center of Peace and Justice marks its 30th birthday Saturday night with a 5 p.m. birthday party-cum-peace potluck at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 109 Rugby Road.
The group was started by local activists who traveled to New York in June of 1982 for the Nuclear Freeze Rally. They incorporated as the Charlottesville Peace Center less than a year later, and has lobbied for peace and social justice since. It’s tackled issues distant and close to home: nuclear war, Martin Luther King Day celebrations, apartheid, the death penalty, international debt, war in the Middle East, a living wage at UVA.
At the heart of its mission, the group said in a news release announcing the anniversary, is the effort to make global issues local ones. “In the whirl of events as they are happening, we cannot judge the effects of our actions or words. Looking back on this anniversary occasion, we can begin to understand the meaning of what we have done and said by asking a simple question,” they wrote. “Would we be closer to peace and justice if we had done nothing and remained silent?”