BROOKLYN, N.Y. — May 15, 2010. On Saturday , May 15, Brooklyn For Peace hosted the 6th annual Brooklyn Peace Fair. This year the event was held on the campus of Brooklyn College — and many college, high school and junior high school students visited the fair.
Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch, was the keynote speaker. Bourgeois is a Vietnam Veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart as an officer in that war. In 1972 he became a Catholic priest with the Maryknoll order and worked with the poor in Bolivia for five years. When he spoke out against the repressive dictatorship he was imprisoned and then expelled from Bolivia.
Undaunted, Fr. Bourgeois continued to work on the problems in Central America and in 1980 he was one of the founders of the School Of the Americas Watch. The SOA Watch focuses attention on the school run by the U.S. military to train U.S. and Latin American military officers in the skills of investigating and controlling the civilian populations in their countries -in cooperation with the U.S. military.
Several of the fair’s events took place at the Brooklyn College Art Lab. A large group of students were attracted to the information about the hundreds of thousands of people captured and imprisoned by the ICE immigration raids. Letters were read from prisoners at some of the nearby prisons. People were taught about the round ups and the lack of any legal human rights. It was reported that over 250,000 are being held at all times. Information was provided about the businessmen who are making huge profits on the prisons.
A number of peace and justice activists made presentations at the Peace Fair, including: the Brooklyn Haiti Solidarity Initiate, Food Justice Brooklyn, Lutheran Family Health Centers, Global Kids, Brooklyn College Community Partnership, Samba School for Social Justice, G.I. Resistance, Fellowship Of Reconciliation, the Alliance of Conscious Documentarians, Darfur People’s Association of New York, The Health Care Professionals Against Torture, World Can’t Wait, SOA Watch, The Dialogue Project, Pastors For Peace, Brooklyn MoveOn, WBAI, NY CISPES, Veterans For Peace, Park Slope United Methodist Church, Madre, Interfaith Peace Coalition, Run For Congo Women, All Souls Bethlehem Church, Physicians for National Healthcare, the Indypendent, Peace Action NY, and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.
A number of elected officials supported the event, including Assemblymember Jim Brennan, Council Member Letitia James, and U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke.
Support also came from Brooklyn stores such as Met Foods, Healthy Nibble, Henry’s End Restaurant, Dewey’s Candy Store and service providers including Save Mor printers, Select Mail and Con Edison.
Political music and rebellious satire was provided by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, the Raging Grannies, Dave Lippman, Stephanie Rooker, Metro Sonics, Veronica Nunn, Spirit Child, Gio Safari, the Last International, Ill-Literacy.
The annual peace fair brings together a wide variety of people who have opted to study war no more — preferring to learn, and teach about, the need for peace in today’s world.