Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – January 2021

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – January 2021


The expression, “Neither wind, rain snow nor hail (and now pandemic)” took on a new meaning when members of the Fresno WILPF Library Committee, under the leadership of co-chairs Ann Carruthers and Cheryl Caldera, delivered a complete new set of books of the 2019 Jane Addams Children’s Award Books to the library at Sunset Elementary School, a Fresno Unified School District elementary school in southwest Fresno. With necessary precautions of wearing masks and social distancing, the ceremony was held outdoors. The donation of these books was gratefully accepted by Sunset librarian Tomasita Rodriguez.

Fresno WILPF has donated complete sets of these award-winning books for 30 years to libraries and schools in the Fresno area, and in particular to those in communities in which young readers might have only limited access to literature of this breadth and quality.

Book donation at Sunset School pandemic style. Left to right: Jane Addams, Cheryl Caldera, Ann Carruthers, Tomasita Rodriguez (librarian), Sandra Rios Balderrama (with Lei) and Nancy Hatcher. Photo by Sandra Rios Balderrama

The Jane Addams Peace Association describes the awards as follows: “The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community and equity for all people.”

The selections are made by a national committee that annually reviews books submitted for consideration of these prestigious awards, named in honor of activist Jane Addams, who not only founded Hull House in Chicago in 1899 but also is the founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a tireless advocate for children, education, freedom and democracy. Fresno WILPF is proud to carry on the legacy of Jane Addams and her commitment to humanity.

In addition to the donation of these books to schools and libraries, four years ago Fresno WILPF set up a library at the  Arriaga Community Center in Malaga, a rural Fresno County community that was without a library.

The Fresno WILPF Library Committee consists of nearly a dozen members, all of whom have a strong commitment to providing resources for young people to have opportunities to read and have access to excellent and age-appropriate literature.

—Nancy Hatcher


This letter gives thanks to Marcia and Victor McLane for their legacy and devotion to social justice. The McLanes worked and traveled throughout the United States and internationally—advocated, wrote, listened, discussed issues, led and spoke out for political issues and developed creative ways to organize events, with plain-spoken words—to further the common good and human rights ideals.

Marcia and Victor McLane. Photo courtesy of Michael McLane

During WWII, Victor served in alternative service as a conscientious objector to the military draft. During the American Vietnam conflict, both he and Marcia, with WILPF members and many peace and faith organizers, counseled young men and women to serve peace, not war, for the good of the national best interest, to protest and save lives. They helped untold numbers of refugees flee oppression and war and to make connections in the San Joaquin Valley and get into new homes.

Their lives were dedicated to radical transformation, trust in deep and abiding faith, encouragement and inspiration to those in-crisis and persecuted, to educate younger generations and to be consistent peacemakers for changes to the oppressive systemic relationships.  

Thank you, Victor and Marcia. We remember your strength and perseverance, being with us, teaching us to seek paths to justice through networking, information, planning and action on the ride to Peace and Freedom.

—Janet Capella


At a Peace Fresno meeting, they called for volunteers who were to go in teams, bringing counter-military recruitment materials to Fresno area high schools during their lunchtimes. The team would go to their chosen high school once a week.

I had the great fortune to team up with Vic McLane, a “seasoned” peace activist who had done this before at Roosevelt High School. I didn’t know what to expect the first couple of times, but Vic was experienced.

After signing in at the office and getting a name badge, we headed out to the quad. Vic had a special spot where we laid out our materials. As the students passed during lunch, we handed out pamphlets, letting them know that there are options other than joining the military and that we were there to answer any questions.

Many high school students sign up for the military when the recruiters make a presentation in their government classes.  It was rewarding to inform students of other options, and for those already signed up it was important to give them an opposing point of view, which the law allows.

Besides passing on important information, the best part was how the students reacted to Vic. They were always happy to see him! They clustered around him listening to every word. For the students, it was like a peace-loving grandpa who came to visit once a week. For me, it was wonderful being on Vic’s team and making a new friend.

—Bev Fitzpatrick


(From an interview done by Ellie Bluestein, published in 20 Fresno Women Committed to Change. Used with permission.)

Not too long after the Vietnam war, the war machine changed to Central America, and we started what is called “low-intensity conflict.” Because of my experience in Mexico (where she worked as a volunteer with American Friends Service Committee for 18 months in a clinic, prior to going to nursing school) and my involvement with WILPF, I was very much aware of what was going on.

I was elected to the WILPF National Board and, in 1980, Kay Camp said to me, “we need to take a trip to Central America to really understand what’s going on.”

I was unaware of how much killing was going on in Guatemala. When we went to Guatemala, our contact was a Presbyterian missionary who had lived in the country for about 18 years. He said, “We have been witnessing one of the most terrible things. Almost every morning, we will find bodies by the river, either students or professors.”

In 1983, I went to Nicaragua with Marjorie Tuitt, president of Church Women United, and reported back to WILPF. We stopped to see the mothers of the heroes and the martyrs. When we got there, there must have been at least 20 women, dressed in black, carrying huge red flowers for us. These were mothers whose children had been killed by the Contras. I had to say, “I’m ashamed of being here. I’m ashamed to be with you and to know what our government has done.” They were so accepting and they said, “We know the difference between you and your government.”

The next trip was in 1986, to Chile…

I always felt it was important to tell about the trips because, more and more, as I went out of the country, I realized that the U.S. press is censored; I don’t think there was any other way to put it. And not only should we know about where our tax dollars are going, but what’s happening to the people that are suffering because of the huge war machine that there is in this country.

Often, when I would speak, people would say, “Well, I’ve never heard anything like this before. Is this true, what you are saying?” I would have to say, “These are things that I saw with my own eyes.”

The WILPF Page is usually compiled and edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves (lenivreeves@gmail.com).

Jan. 14, 7 p.m., online. Watch your e-mail for the announcement and link or call-in number. If you have no e-mail or are not on the WILPF listserv, contact Teresa or Leni by phone for the information.

Jan. 27, 3 p.m. (4th Wednesday of each month). Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities.

Send dues to WILPF Fresno, P.O. Box 5114, Fresno, CA 93755.

Send questions and information updates to Evonne Waldo at evonnewaldo@yahoo.com.

WILPF membership is $35/year. Contact Evonne about the low-income rate, sponsored by our contributions above the $35 that goes to the national organization.

Though we cannot meet in person.

Contact Jean Hays at skyhorse3593@sbcglobal.net.

Contact Ann Carruthers at acarruthers@earthlink.net.

Contact Jean Hays at skyhorse3593@sbcglobal.net.

Contact Leni at lenivreeves@gmail.com.

Contact Bev Fitzpatrick at dfitzpatrick29@comcast.net.

Contact Evonne Waldo at evonnewado@yahoo.com.

Contact Jean Kennedy at drjeankennedy@yahoo.com. Zoom discussion held the last Sundays of each month at 6.30 p.m. To join, RSVP with your e-mail address for the Zoom link to drjeankennedy@yahoo.com or text 559-270-1023.

On hiatus.

Find us on Facebook!       


  • 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.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x