Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?
I took the World BEYOND War War Abolition 101 online course in spring 2021 and I was totally inspired and energized to get to know some of the dynamic and passionate WBW staff and board of directors, and learn about the global peace movement. I decided to join a local chapter, but I was surprised to find that there wasn’t one. So I signed up for the WBW Organizing 101 course and in November of 2021 we held the first meeting of Montréal for a World BEYOND War!
What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?
Even though we have only been a chapter for a few months, chapter members have already attended a number of peace-related demonstrations and rallies (Montréal is sometimes referred to as La Ville des manifs), and we issued a statement supporting the Wet’suwet’en. Our chapter has participated in No Fighter Jets Coalition meetings and we are planning to focus on that campaign in 2022.
Since January is the one-year anniversary of the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, our chapter is excited to be hosting a free webinar on January 12, 2022, with local author, foreign policy expert, peace activist, and WBW advisory board member Yves Engler. Yves will give a presentation on NATO, Norad and Nuclear Arms—three entities that are very much on Canadian peace activists’ radar as we begin 2022. Register here!
What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with anti-war activism and WBW?
I would encourage this person to go ahead and share your gifts—whatever they are—with the world. If you like rallies, attend rallies, if you like to write, write, if you like to discuss, join a discussion group and organize or attend a webinar. Peace is to the global community what health is to the individual—if you don’t have that, our lives are very limited and we all suffer. Peace activism is one of the most noble and important endeavors you can take on, and if we all join together maybe we can help humanity to evolve from its regressive competitive mindset to a culture of peace, in which we appreciate our connections to each other and our responsibility to all of the natural world.
Be a leader, even if you don’t necessarily think of yourself that way. I think that this cartoon says it best:
What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?
I love to learn, through books, news items, and documentaries, but world events, and the realities like racism, speciesism, and climate change, can be depressing. I find that taking action puts me in touch with inspiring people and makes me feel more hopeful about everything. It is an amazing feeling when you participate in a campaign and then realize that it has succeeded—as has happened with environmental and political campaigns that I have participated in.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your activism?
Practically speaking, my activism continues as before, but with Zoom meetings instead of in-person ones. (I never thought I would say this, but I miss in-person meetings!) Philosophically speaking, I think that the pandemic and ongoing climate change have made us all more aware of our own mortality and vulnerability so in that sense it is an opportunity like never before to advocate for peace, or in other words, sanity ;).
Posted January 5, 2022.