July 25, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

McMahon, Ferris and McGovern: Not your usual transfer story -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women’s lacrosse defeats Richmond 10-6 to win sixth straight A-10 Championship -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No. 13 UMass women’s lacrosse knocks off Duquesne 16-3 to reach Atlantic 10 finals -

Friday, May 2, 2014

UMass one of 55 schools currently facing investigation over handling of sexual assault cases -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two thefts reported at library -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senior Columns 2013-2014 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass Dining proposes major meal plan changes -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass baseball beats UConn for first time since 2007 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTV’s seemingly controversial new show proves to be ‘Faking It’ -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Weekly Peace Vigil draws in locals during cold winter months

Bryn Rothschild-Shea/Collegian

On a cold February Sunday at noon, about six locals gathered at the Amherst Town Common and braved wind and occasional snow flurries, taking part in a weekly vigil that has been held on Sunday afternoons in downtown Amherst for 34 years.

The Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice in a Nuclear Free World advocates for worldwide social justice, an end to nuclear weapons and an end to arms trades, according to the free flyers participants hand out to passersby, while others hold signs and banners.

Bundled in a coat and helping to hold a banner that read: “Peace cannot be achieved by force” was Pat Church, a regular attendee of the peace vigils.

Since the late 1970s, the vigil, according to Church, has been “overarching,” and “inclusive.”

“Our focus is almost anything that has to do with justice whether it’s for women or minorities or different aspects of the war machine in different places, such as Iraq or Afghanistan, or now Africa or Yemen ,” she said.

Church explained that the vigil was started by a couple who had been holding a vigil in Springfield in opposition to war in the 1970s. When the couple relocated to the Pioneer Valley, they decided Amherst needed a vigil, too.

“Some vigils are exclusive. They only want to talk about one issue, but if you want to come and bring a sign and talk about an issue, we’re pretty welcoming,” added Church.

At the vigils, there are a variety of signs displayed. Depending on how many people are present, sometimes they break up into groups of people who want to talk about issues and others who want to hold signs and pass out flyers.

Holding a sign that read, “Stop U.S. Wars,” Dade Singapuri, a regular at the peace vigils, said she attends as often as possible. A particular issue that concerns Singapuri and inspires her to come to the vigils, she said, is U.S. drone attacks. Singapuri is concerned about civilians who she said live in fear of drone attacks on a regular basis, afraid to go out in groups for events like weddings or funerals, since drone attacks are said to target people in large groups.

“Drones are part of our military prison industrial complex. This country is the biggest exporter of weapons in the world. The more people who kill each other … the better our business is.”

Church said that attendance at the vigil is largely dependent on the time of year and the weather. On this chilly day, only about six people were present, and a few people stopped by briefly for a flyer or to talk, and then continued on their way.

Church added that sometimes attendees are people who used to partake in vigils when they were kids, growing up in the Amherst area.

Mark Watkins, another regular attendee, said there were some Sundays before the Iraq War began when a hundred or so people showed up. Often, he said, they get dozens of people. Watkins said he comes to the vigil every Sunday.

Watkins noted that there is free lunch offered every Sunday for anybody who chooses to stay for the entire hour and hold a sign. They get the food from Amherst Chinese Food, not far from where the vigil takes place.

“We don’t know what our effect is just (by) being here,” added Church. “But we have had people come back and say what we talked about here really engaged their mind, and (they) looked into it and wound up changing (their) major or things like that.”

Steffi Porter can be reached at steffi@student.umass.edu

Comments
2 Responses to “Weekly Peace Vigil draws in locals during cold winter months”
  1. D.L Kennedy says:

    Just wondering why there are not protests in Amherst against the killing perpetrated by Islamist fanatics around the world, including those in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Mali, Libya, Gaza and Iraq. The Syrian government has killed at least 60,000 people in the last year. The Amherst vigil remains silent. It just isn’t PC to speak out against the misogynist, homophobic, and anti-Christian and anti-Semitic Islamist fundamentalists who kill thousands of people each month, and who threaten the United States and its allies. The Amherst vigil is protesting against the United States instead of against the people who truly are opposed to peace.

  2. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Those who beat their swords into plowshears will plow for those who don’t.

    The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer. — Theodore Roosevelt

Leave A Comment