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OLD FIRST REFORMED CHURCH 4th and Race Sts. Philadelphia, PA.

Slide show of photos by Harvey Finkle - NOTE: You will need to save the Slide Show file to your Desktop. After it downloads, click on the icon and the Slide Show will start. The controls are in the upper left corner of the screen. You can advance the Slide Show by clicking on the right arrow. You can also go back by clicking on the Left arrow. When you are finished, hit the Escape key. (Not recommended for people with dial-up connections.)

April 3, 2006:

From Bob Smith:

Many, many thanks to the  nearly 100 people who brought their voice to yesterday's Brandywine Peace Community and Kensington Welfare Rights Union [KWRU] sponsored program of panel presentation, workshops, and center city walk and rally at Phila. City
Hall. Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's historic "A Time to Break Silence" speech on April 4, 1967 (read the entire speech or listen to it below) and Dr. King's assassination exactly one year later (April 4, 1968), the event  brought together anti-war and anti-poverty activists in a unique time reminiscent of Dr. King's 1967 call for a conjoining of the peace and civil rights movements of the time.

Many thanks to all on the opening Anti-Poverty/Anti-War Speakers Panel: Peter Lems, Program Associate, Iraq Peacebuilding Program, American Friends Service Committee; Ray Martinez, SEIU Local 668; Sr. Margaret McKenna, New Jerusalem Laura; Galen Tyler, director, Kensington Welfare Rights Union; and Bill Perry, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.

Many thanks to the workshop leaders:

Organizing Voters for Election 2006 -  Jennine Miller, Project H.O.M.E. and  Anthony Gindraw of Vote for Homes! Coalition
What would peace and justice organizing look like?: American Friends Service Committee staffers Oskar Castro, director of AFSC's Youth and Militarism program, and Roberta
Spivek, coordinator of the U.S. Economic Justice program

My Life Matters: How the Poor Organize for Economic Human Rights: Members of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union

Many thanks to all the endorsing groups: Endorsers: Bubbes and Zaydes (grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East, Philadelphia Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Project HOME, PRAWN, Shalom Center, Simple Way.

Thanks and Appreciation to Harvey Finkle for the exhibit of his superb photos; to our main speaker, Cheri Honkala,  National Coordinator of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights
Campaign; to Janet Lowe for the day's striking lead banner, and especially, much appreciation to the Old First Reformed Church, and its pastor, Rev. Jeff Shanaberger, for the open doors and generous support.

Remembering Dr. King's statement about church "not being a place we go to, but rather go from for justice and peace",  a march with chants ("Time to Break the Silence About this Bloody War, A Time to Break the Silence About War on the Poor") echoing throughout 
center city Phila.immediately followed the program before rallying at Phila. City Hall where we heard from: Bal Pinguel, American Friends Service Committee; Celeste Zappala, Military Families Speak Out, whose son, Sherwood Baker, was killed in Iraq in April '04; Many thanks to these dear friends for their words and presence.

Enduring friendship and music was provided by Tom Mullian "Six Strings Against the War"), The rally concluded with a ceremony in which participants read the names of U.S. and Iraqi war dead as well as victims of domestic poverty and social neglect.

A good, quick but to the point, article appeared in today's METRO paper.  A photo appeared in the Phila. Daily News.

We celebrate the day's a collaborative effort and message. The silence has been broken and the anti-war/anti-poverty voice will continue.


Welcome & Introduction to the day's event by Bob Smith, staff coordinator, Brandywine Peace Community:

Welcome on behalf of the Brandywine Peace Community and the Kensington
Welfare Rights Union [KWRU] and all the endorsers of our gathering here
at Old First Reformed Church: Bubbes and Zaydes (grandparents) for Peace
in the Middle East, Philadelphia
Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Project HOME,
PRAWN, the Shalom Center, and the Simple Way. 

"There comes a time when silence is betrayal", so began Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church.  One year later, to the
day, Dr. King was shot and killed in Memphis, TN while supporting
striking sanitation workers. 

In his "A Time to Break Silence" speech, yes, Dr. King spoke out against
the Vietnam War, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world"  But more fundamentally, he called for a vision
of a social change movement that would speak "beyond Vietnam".  He called
for a conjoining of the civil rights movement and the peace movement of
the day.  He called for a movement that proceeded on the basis of the
inseparability of a commitment to domestic justice with efforts to stop

Today, we come together thirty nine years after Dr. King's prophetic
speech and call, thirty eight years after his assassination.  I attended
Dr. King's speech that evening, April 4, 1967.  While the sound system
kept me from hearing clearly Dr. King's words, his voice in the following
months reverberated throughout the some of the most defining points of my
life a few months later.  I would violate the military draft law and
spend time in federal prison in resistance to the war in Vietnam. 

His voice reverberates for us all today as we gather to "Break the
Silence" concerning the inseparability of war and poverty undergirded by
what Dr. King called "the evil triplets of American society: racism,
materialism, and militarism.  

Today, we come together in "A Time Break the Silence" to stop the war in
Iraq, to end poverty, to come together for justice and peace, peace and
justice, human economic rights.  Today, we will begin with a panel of
anti-poverty and anti-war activists, continue with workshops and a talk
by Cheri Honkala, national coordinator of Poor Peoples Economic Human
Rights Campaign.  We will then proceed from this church in a march to
Phila. City Hall for a Rally to Break the Silence because in the words of
Dr. King,  "Church isn't a place that we go to but a place we go from for
justice and peace."


Philly IMC article


On April 2nd , Philadelphia-area antiwar and antipoverty activists will meet for a very important  gathering at Old First Reformed Church at 4th and Race Sts. to create a stronger link between these two movements and their goals for peace with justice.

The gathering, titled A Time To Break the Silence: End Poverty, Stop the War, Coming Together for Peace and Justice commemorates Martin Luther Kings April 4, 1967 Riverside Church speech A Time to Break Silence (Read or listen to the Riverside speech here), exactly one year to the day before Dr. King's assassination (April 4, 1968), has been planned jointly by the Brandywine Peace Community and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, with several supporting organizations including Project HOME, the American Friends Service Committee, and PRAWN.  Some of us focus on ending homelessness in our activism, while others concentrate on ending the war, but finding ways of effectively stressing and communicating the connections between these issues is vital to gaining greater popular support for both causes.
The gathering will begin at 2PM on Sunday, April 2nd and feature a panel discussion and workshops with noted peace and economic justice activists. After closing remarks at 5PM from Cheri Honkala from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, we will march to City Hall for a rally with speakers and remembrance of those who have died from war and/or poverty with a reading of their names.
Please join us at this critical time for both movements and lets create new or even closer working relationships to bring greater urgency to ending the war and realizing a more just and humane society. In addition, please distribute this attached flyer as far and wide as you can.      

Join with area activists from both movements for a panel discussion and workshops on bringing both movements together in common efforts around issues of this costly war, counter-recruitment and the "poverty draft", cuts in Medicaid, college loans, affordable housing, along with other social programs, and fighting for a "moral budget" and economic human rights.

Panelists will include Peter Lems, AFSC; Galen Tyler, Kensington Welfare Rights Union; Sr. Margaret McKenna, New Jerusalem Laura; Ray Martinez, SEIU Local 668 ; and John Grant, Veterans for Peace.

Workshops by Oskar Castro and Roberta Spivek, AFSC on counter-recruitment and economic justice; Jennine Miller and residents, Project HOME on voter registration to end homelessness; Penn Med Students and Kensington Welfare Rights Union staff on issues behind enlistment in the military such as Medicaid and college financial cuts and lack of affordable, decent housing.

Closing remarks by Cheri Honkala, Poor Peoples' Economic Human Rights Campaign National Co-ordinator.


Brandywine Peace Community 610-544-1818   

Kensington Welfare Rights Union 215-203-1945

Past Brandywine Peace Community Martin Luther King events: 2006, 2005