WILPF – October 2015

WILPF – October 2015


WILPF will meet on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N. Van Ness Ave. This meeting is open to all members.


Oct. 7 (first Wednesday of each month) at noon at the Fresno County Courthouse. Wear black, bring a sign and stand in silence for peace; we ask that you respect the silent vigil, please.


(listener-supported free speech radio for Central California)

Oct. 28, 3 p.m. (4th Wednesday of each month). Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities. You know you want to tune in!


Meetings on selected Mondays at 7 p.m. Call Ellie at 559-229-9807 for details.




A Dangerous Woman is an activist who opposes war and militarism, advances human rights, supports a just economy and a healthy planet, and connects peace, environmental, racial and social justice issues. Jane Addams, the first U.S. woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the first International President of WILPF and the Most Dangerous Woman in America, said, “True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.”



At the Fresno Central Library, Margarita Engle presented a WILPF and Library cosponsored event for adults and children, with discussion and readings from her award-winning poetic works, including poems from her Newbery award-winning The Surrender Tree, her Jane Addams 2015 award-winning The Silver People and the entire Drum Dream Girl. A diverse crowd of adults and children enjoyed the spirit and the dreams, as well as the insight into the life and work of this extraordinary poet and author.

During September, display cases at the entrance of the library featured the history of WILPF and the Jane Addams Peace Association. The cases were filled with award-winning Jane Addams children’s books that promote peace, social justice and environmental responsibility. The WILPF Fresno branch has donated sets of these books annually to the Central Library for the last 30 years. We invite you and everyone to visit the Central Library to see these amazing displays created under the expert guidance of artist Janet Capella. The members of the WILPF Central Library Committee include Ann Carruthers, Janet Capella, Donna Salwasser, Sandra Rios Balderrama, Elke Kurpiers, Teresa Castillo, Bambi Heckmann, Jean Hays, Patty Bennett and Leni Villagomez Reeves.

WILPF Fresno thanks the Fresno County Public Library, Friends of the Central Library (who sold almost all the books supplied for sale by Book Barn) and especially librarians Lisa Lindsay and Joy Sentman-Paz!



About 250 people participated in the reception at Fresno State’s Madden Library on Friday evening, Sept. 11, for the Exhibition of 100 Years of Dangerous Women, the Fresno Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s celebration of its 50th anniversary, as well as the centennial of the international organization.

People came to view the Exhibition and learn more about WILPF history, both internationally and in Fresno. Many participants came to celebrate new times with old friends: comrades in peace marches, sweatshop and free-speech protests; fellow artisans in the making of fabric banner strips to wreath the local Federal Building and the Pentagon in the desire for peace (1985, “The Ribbon Project”) and the banning of nuclear weapons; and witnesses to the need for partnership with and healing of the earth. These and other stories are told on the walls in “posters”—montages of photographs and narrative—written, designed and coordinated by WILPF members Pat Wolk and Sandra Iyall. Iyall was President of the local branch during the nationally famous suit by local WILPF against the City of Fresno for removal of anti-draft placards from the City’s buses.

In the center front of the Exhibition, local artist Margaret Hudson’s sculpture of Gaia, Mother Earth being reborn out of the anguish of carnage of Central American guerilla warfare in the 1970s, greeted all viewers. Behind Gaia, on the balustrade of the Third Floor Ellipse Balcony Gallery, various of the dog-eared and well-worn peace and protest signs from current marches remind us that our witness may be helping to hold the line, but the work is not yet complete: Free Palestine; No Blood for Oil; DRONES KILL Civilians—people like you and me; and TROOPS HOME NOW!

On the north wall, under the motif “A Dangerous Woman is an Activist who…,” the faces of the founders of the international organization, highlighting Jane Addams, and the founders and “old guard” of the Fresno Branch, highlighting and honoring Ellie Bluestein, founder of the local branch 50 years ago when 12 women out of 40-some invited came together and agreed that one of the (currently) 52 branches of WILPF in the United States ought to be in Fresno.

The motif and definition of “A Dangerous Woman” was carried forward through local WILPF history on the south wall:

A Dangerous Woman is an activist who…

  • opposes war and militarism,
  • advances human rights,
  • supports a just economy and a healthy planet,
  • and connects peace, environmental and social justice issues.

Each of the thematic elements was accompanied by posters showing local WILPF history with some national and international history and artifacts intertwined.

The program included the Raging Grannies and introductions of notable persons and Anniversary/Centennial Committee members by Sandra Iyall, as well as an invitation to the Exhibition and Reception (on Sept. 12) at the Fresno County Central (Downtown) Library by Committee Chair Ann Carruthers.

Francine Oputa read a poem that emerged out of the Black Lives Matter movement, “We Are Not Done,” by Audette Fulbright Fulson.

The Madden Library contingent of the Anniversary and Centennial Committee includes Sandra Iyall, Pat Wolk, Patty Bennett, Melissa Fry, Barbara Gaines, Barbarann Hormann, Claudia Luft, Kay Pitts, Joan Poss and Joy Quigley. Co-Chairs of the entire project are Ellie Bluestein and Mary Murphy.

Murphy also thanked many of the organizations and individuals that made both exhibitions possible. WILPF-US (see www.wilpfus.org) contributed a “mini-grant” of $2,000. Local and regional private donors contributed about $6,000. Dixie Salazar, local poet and artist, contributed the painting Peace. The Madden Library contributed funds for the Reception at the Madden Library; in addition, the Madden Library staff, including Dean Peter McDonald, Susan Christensen, Tammy Lau, Marcie Morrison and Cindy Wathen, contributed their organizing abilities with grace and aplomb. Peter Hudson delivered the (quite large and heavy) clay sculpture Gaia, on behalf of his mother Margaret. Liz Laury loaned quilts made by her mother, WILPF activist and artist Jean Ray Laury. Gerry Bill replicated an “Eco-Pod” in miniature, from the plans by Architect Art Dyson, to show the direction of the Dakota Eco-Garden, project initiated by WILPF member Nancy Waidtlow. Ron Vineyard and the Fresno Center for Nonviolence contributed receipt of funds and accounting. Adam Nance at Office Depot worked with Sandra Iyall and Pat Wolk to produce the posters for the walls.

Photo credits in the program and on the wall acknowledge the work of Pat Wolk, Howard Watkins, Mike Rhodes and George Ballis.



Community Water Center, El Centro Comunitario por el Agua, will host the annual Water Justice Celebration: Leaders in the Face of Drought, with the goal of securing safe water for all communities. Fresno WILPF has voted to cosponsor this event, which will occur on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 210 W. Center Ave. in Visalia.

Martha Guzman-Aceves, Deputy Legislative Secretary in the Governor’s Office, will be present, and guests at the event will be treated to delicious Mexican food and music from Mariachi Juvenil Nueva Generación.

For more information, visit www.communitywatercenter.org/water_justice_celebration_leaders_drought.



Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. There’s still time to volunteer to table at this amazing event—with great music, crafts, food and plants in an idyllic environment under the shade trees. To help, contact Joan Poss at 559-227-6134.


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Save the date: Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Big Red Church

Lots of time still to gather donations for the silent auction and figure out how you will contribute to this event, WILPF Fresno’s major fund-raiser. You can help out at the event by donating stuff, food and your time. Contact Jay Hubbell at jayhubbell@comcast.net for vendor space or Kyla Mitchell at kyla.noelle@gmail.com to volunteer or donate.


The WILPF page is compiled and edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves. Contact her at lenivreeves@gmail.com.


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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