SDS students join with Veterans for Peace in Asheville

SDS students join with Veterans for Peace in Asheville

Since WRL Asheville began our travels, reconnecting with local members and identifying allies throughout the Southeast, we’ve heard a lot of stories and learned a lot of history. We’ve talked with those who have known and worked alongside Gandhi, King, Thomas Merton and Ceasar Chavez. Others have stood with Myles Horton, Dorothy Day, & Rosa Parks, or ignited the movement with music, like the legendary duo Guy and Candie Carawan. 

Long-time civil rights activist Issac Coleman and WRL member Sue Walton

Long-time civil rights activist Issac Coleman and WRL member Sue Walton

Sometimes we sit around a fire circle, or cross paths at the library, a coffee shop, or favorite local restaurant. We’ve visited on front porches sipping iced tea, in conference rooms of activist offices, and at kitchen tables helping prepare a meal. We’ve even crouched down along a row of beans helping a farmer harvest for market as we planned for a gathering of war tax resisters. We’ve helped with trainings for nonviolent campaigns as varied as confronting banks that finance mountain top removal, to developers stealing the public commons in our town.

With Asheville being the activist crossroads that it is, we keep our ear to the ground and participate and collaborate in actions planned by many local groups, including UNC Asheville SDS, Veterans for Peace, Women in Black, the Buncombe Greens, Katuah Earth First! Coalición de Organizaciones Latino-Americanas (COLA), Canary Coalition, and more. The rich mixture of people we meet right here at home—some activists, some not— opens a window on local and world issues providing a perspective that highlights the need for our work.

Out in the field with organic farmer and war tax resister Jim Stockwell in Celo

Out in the field with organic farmer and war tax resister Jim Stockwell in Celo

In our travels we’ve been welcomed into homes of both rural and urban activists, many with decades of dedicated work for social and economic justice. We’ve met people living in well-supported action communities, and those who take a stand in lonely outposts where political allies are hard to find. Some have just set out on their paths of action; others have generated the campaigns and movements that still have relevance today.

 In our next post we will highlight our recent visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, with the mission “to maintain the XVIII Airborne Corps as a strategic crisis response force, manned and trained to deploy rapidly by air, sea and land anywhere in the world, prepared to fight upon arrival and win.”

In the midst of this miliatry town, we met with long-time activist Chuck Fager and learned more about  Quaker House, a peace witness there since 1969, and the work of the GI Rights hotline: 877-447-4487

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