Why I Stand- opening reception
The LAVA Center (324 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301, Greenfield MA)
The Traprock Center for Peace and Justice announces a free multimedia exhibition in August, 2022, at the LAVA Center (Local Access to Valley Arts), 324 Main St., Greenfield, MA, featuring statements from some attending the weekly Greenfield Town Common vigil, with photos, video and original banners.
From April to October, Saturday morning vigils on the Greenfield Town Common are certainly a livelier affair than in midwinter. The yearly farmers market nearby brings more passersby, the music on offer is a pleasant background to the serious business at hand.
Otherwise, the ‘audience’ mainly consists of drivers and passengers in cars driving by or stuck at that long light at Main and Federal Streets.
What they see on those Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon ranges from a few people to a sizeable group standing with signs calling for: racial justice; reparations for past exploitation; for peace at home and the world with major cuts in military spending; ecological justice and strong climate action: “No War, No Warming.”
From Conway resident Mary McClintock’s statement we learn about the origins of this long-running institution, established in the run up to the second war on Iraq:
"In September 2002, I was one of four women who showed up at the Greenfield Common on the same Saturday at 11am. Rather than drive to Amherst or Northampton to stand up for peace, two pairs of us… had independently decided Greenfield needed its own peace vigil. We were part of a huge outpouring of peace activism around the world. While I stood in Greenfield with my 'Work for Peace' apron, my friend, Anne, made a human peace symbol with her co-workers in Antarctica."
These ongoing Saturday vigils, and some of their regular participants, are the subject of a unique month-long exhibit planned and organized by Pat Hynes, Traprock Director for a decade, since 2022 active as a collaborative board member.
Her plan - and the exhibit - includes statements by 11 vigilers, photos by fellow board members Emily Green and Anna Gyorgy, and dramatic handmade banners by Wendell artist-activist Sally Alley Muffin Stuffin, illuminating a number of issues and struggles of concern.
The month of August is especially important because of the annual (this year the 77th) August 6-9 commemoration of the first use of the atomic bomb against civilians, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The opening of the exhibit will follow the Saturday, August 6 vigil from 11 am to noon. Vigilers then will remember the atomic devastation and call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, where nuclear confrontation looms.