Ten years ago a small group of local residents founded Juneau People for Peace and Justice. The war in Iraq had just started and people wanted a voice.
Since then, Juneau People for Peace and Justice has been a visible and vocal organization dedicated to cultivating the message of peace.
JPPJ will commemorate the decade on Saturday with a Celebration of Hope that peace really will be given a chance in this war-torn world.
It started in December 2002, when the group took out a newspaper advertisement in the Juneau Empire.
Founding member K.J. Metcalfe says it was signed by people of all political persuasions.
“Had over a thousand signatures of local people saying war was not the answer,” he says.
Many of those people later joined in a march across the Douglas Bridge that also swelled to more than a thousand people.
“So there was a fair amount of discussion going on in the community and some people would walk that walk and come out and not only talk about peace but also be on the streets,” Metcalf says.
Similar groups across the country had formed, and their messages were being heard. JPPJ got the ear of at least one member of the Alaska delegation, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who participated in a town meeting-type forum protesting the war.
It was held the day after Memorial Day. Rich Moniak was there.
“And she said that our event, with all that dissent about the war, was every bit as patriotic as the Memorial Day celebration she had seen the day before,” Moniak recalls.
JPPJ is holding a community Celebration of Hope from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Northern Light United Church. Bring a dish to share.