Carrboro: Long Perspectives and Broad Foundations

WTR Day 2-3 & Greensboro2 066“She’s the crossroads where all activists meet,” Pittsboro resident John Heuer said of his friend and colleague Peggy Misch.

This time, we met with Peggy in Carrboro, N.C., in the shade of the large Oaks outside the historic Carr Mill Mall. It was a privilege to listen to these two long-time activists talk about their work and to garner some advice for our proposed S.E. Regional gathering, and share ideas about how regional activists can strengthen our networks for collaborative action.

We were first introduced to Peggy in Charlotte a month earlier, at the Duke Energy Stop Cliffside Coal Plant action.  Our mutual friend, Triangle WILPF member, and peace walker Jean Chapman introduced us then, and has helped to connect us with many other key organizers in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area.

Clare, Jean & Peggy in Charlotte

Peggy is rounding out her seventh decade as an activist in the most dynamic sense of the word.  In 2008 she was given the International Human Rights Award from The Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina for her work across many issues throughout the decades. Peggy brings passion and determination to these and other just causes she has embraced. And sitting across from her to listen,  it was apparant that her influence is wide reaching and vital with groups such as North Carolina Stop Torture Now, and the Coalition for Peace With Justice, a group working to establish a just peace in Israel and Palestine.  Peggy also spoke ofher concerns for immigrant rights, particularly with the injustices perpetrated by 287G legislation, and her work as a founder of the Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee.  

After 26 years, John has retired from Architectural and Engineering Services at UNC Chapel Hill.   He is a Viet Nam war resister and community organizer involved in numerous and varied groups, including the North Carolina Greens, and Veterans for Peace , Chapter 157 in North Carolina’s Triangle area.  John has recently taken a lead role with NC Peace Action.   Coleman and John first met on a conference call with the Backbone Campaign’s Bill Moyer helping to coordinate the late March North Carolina loop of The Procession for the Future”. This touring parade uses high production value art, puppetry and spectacle to animate our aspirations and portray a set of progressive policy priorities. 

Both Peggy and John had been in Johnston County the night before to appeal to the County Commissioners to sign a pledge prohibiting the torture taxi extraordinary rendition flights flown through Aero Contractors in Smithfield, North Carolina. 

Clearly, these elders have not let “retirement” keep them from the work at hand. They have much to teach, much to share, and a spirited perspective on ways forward based on decades of dedicated work for justice.

Old places and old persons in their turn, when spirit dwells in them, have an intrinsic vitality of which youth is incapable, precisely, the balance and wisdom that come from long perspectives and broad foundations— George Santayana (Spanish born American Philosopher, Poet and Humanist )WTR Day 2-3 & Greensboro2 067

NEXT: We’re greeted at Silk Hope Catholic Worker by a new generation. 

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