THE DUTCHESS PEACE COALITION
By Pat Lamanna
The Dutchess Peace Coalition was founded early in 2003 by a group of Dutchess County citizens concerned that the United States was preparing to invade Iraq. When the invasion began shortly after, continued meeting and continued to protest the actions of the Bush Administration. We joined in demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C., and locally began a campaign to inform the public about the hastily-passed U.S.A. Patriot Act. At some point, however, we made the decision to return to our original mission: to promote peace.
Over the years, we have tabled at many community events; showed a wide variety of antiwar films; and participated in various larger demonstrations in Kingston, New York City, and Washington. We’ve also handed out anti-recruitment flyers at Poughkeepsie and Beacon High Schools. We discovered a book of poetry by prisoners of Guantanamo, and put together a creative and moving presentation in which members of our group, clad in orange jump suits and black hoods, read their poems and told their stories at poetry coffeehouses in the area.
We affiliated with PANYS in 2008. Three of us attended the PANYS annual meeting this year, and two of us participated in Lobby Day on June 30 by visiting Senator Schumer’s Hudson Valley office and speaking with an aide about Afghanistan.
You’ll find video, photos and a great deal of information about the organization at our web site, http://www.dutchesspeace.org, which is ably mastered by Fred Nagel.