Peace Jam

Peace Jam at Brattleboro Union High School

“Human security requires directing our resources toward providing for the basic needs of human beings so they are secure in their daily lives. For too long, security has een defined in terms of the security of the state, not of individuals. We call it national defense. The US spends more on its military and weapons systems than all of the other nations of the world combined. The billions and billions of our tax dollars that go to weapons systems and other aspects of ‘defense’ is money that will never be spent on our public schools, or on an affordable health care system that gives everyone access to health care, or on creating jobs with dignity. Money for war will never be used to fight poverty and other social ills that tear apart the socioeconomic fabric of a country and often are fundamental causes of armed conflict. We have to change that kind of thinking.”  Jody Williams in her book “My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize”

jody williams with studentsWWAC began working with Nobel Peace Laureate and WWAC Member Jody Williams when  we presented her Zoom talk in 2020 (add link).  

We created a Peace Jam Task Force comprised of Carla Lineback, Amanda Thurber, Lissa Weinmann, Kerstin Roos, Kenny Pepper on behalf of The Commons Media Mentoring Project and Lauren Coffano of PeaceJam international and are building a PeaceJam Community Support Group to help initiate an ongoing club and programming at Brattleboro Union High School students starting September 2022. 

WWAC, working with the Brattleboro Rotary, sent two BUHS students attended a PeaceJam regional conference with Kailash Satyarthi in April 2022.

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Youth Outreach/PeaceJam – July Update

WWAC continues to gather community around and coordinate with BUHS students and faculty on a new PeaceJam program at the school starting this September. The program follow a WWAC sponsored speech by your fellow member and Brattleboro native Jody Williams – see video HERE.

PeaceJam connects students with Nobel Peace Prize laureates on raising social consciousness and activism. If you are interested or wish to help support this initiative please contact windhamworldaffairscouncil@gmail.com

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Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams to Address Brattleboro Union High School Students May 17, 2022

6 May 2022, Brattleboro, Vermont: Members of the public are invited to attend Nobel Peace Laureate and Brattleboro Union High School alumna Jody Williams addressing the entire BUHS student body outdoors at Natowich Field on May 17, 2022 at 10:30 am. The BUHS Jazz Band will play at the event which will also be broadcast later on BCTV. If it rains, the event will move to the school gymnasium. Members of the public who wish to attend must register ahead of time at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/peace-jam-rally-with-jody-williams-tickets-334894758237.

Working with BUHS students with support from a new ‘PeaceJam Task Force’ at the Windham World Affairs Council (WWAC), Williams is planning to launch a PeaceJam ‘Ambassadors Program’ at BUHS this Fall to connect students to issues of peace, social justice, and nonviolence through the study of the life and work of Nobel Peace Laureates from across the globe. The program introduces students to the personal, social, and institutional contexts that shape today’s world, builds core competencies in altruism and compassion, respect and inclusion, as well as global citizenship and civic engagement. 

“I firmly believe that anybody can make a difference in this world if they choose to work with others toward a greater good. We look forward to working with BUHS students to help them identify their passions and support their work toward making this world a better place for all life on it,” Williams said.

Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on a global treaty to eliminate landmines worldwide. She grew up in Brattleboro and attended the Green Street School where she says standing up to a bully helped shape the rest of her life. She graduated from the University of Vermont, the School for International Training and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. She recently moved back to the Brattleboro area where her mother and most of her family still live. 

The Program includes the Google-backedBillion Acts of Peace (Billion Acts) service platform that supports and highlights student activism across the planet and creates learning relationships across borders. Students participating in the Program create their own service learning projects to address pressing issues in their communities as part of the Billion Acts campaign. 

Following the May 17 speech, Williams will visit classrooms, follow student work and return next Spring to share students’ experiences with them. “We are looking forward to having such an accomplished alum come to BUHS to offer inspiration and ongoing programming to our students,” Interim Principal Chris Day said.

WWAC student intern Eva Gould, a BUHS sophomore, is excited about PeaceJam and has been helping to organize a group of students to prepare for William’s visit. Two other BUHS students joined 200 other high school and college students for a PeaceJam conference in Silver Spring, Maryland with 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi in April. Students will share their PeaceJam experience with the WWAC and Brattleboro Rotary, who helped support their trip, and help shape PeaceJam programming at BUHS.

Vermont Independent Media (The Commons) Media Mentoring Project is covering BCTV’s coverage of the event; Retired BUHS teacher Nancy Olson and Nancy Braus of Everyone’s Books helped get copies of William’s autobiography My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, to the school library in April. A plaque outside the Green Street School pegged to a Brattleboro Words Trail audio story on Williams provides insight into Williams and her ties to Brattleboro. 

These groups and a growing roster of individuals will work through the PeaceJam Task Force to support BUHS students and faculty to increase community mentorship and cultivate activism, hope and participation in a vibrant global movement. To learn more or to become involved, or if you need help to access the event, please contact windhamworldaffairscouncil@gmail.com

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