Note: This guest blog post by Angelina Conti remembers another time when a nonviolent peace encampment was used as a tool for protest.
by Angelina Conti
When the Occupy Wall Street movement began in Zuccotti Park in September, I was surprised to find myself thinking about the Bonus Army and a lesson half remembered from a high school history class … something about veterans occupying the capitol, General MacArthur, and a fire.
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How can Friends churches, Friends meetings (monthly, quarterly, and yearly), and our Quaker organizations nurture and support spirit-led witness?
I used to teach second grade at an inner city elementary school in Vallejo, California. I was teaching there when the riots occurred in Los Angeles in response to the initial verdict acquitting four police officers who had beaten Rodney King. That morning, I interrupted the usual routine to invite the students to discuss what was happening. Many of my students, who were mostly of African, Filipino, Mexican, and East Indian descent, told story after story of their own experiences of racism.
I was at the FGC offices in Philadelphia when the Twin Towers were hit. We watched together as the first tower burned, believing that it was some kind of freak accident. When the second plane struck, I was incredulous for a while that this could have been intentional. I had a physical response – of astonishment, of sorrow, of grief. We as staff gathered together in worship, then dispersed, clutching for our families, for sanctuary, for news.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.