Annual Reports


Plowshare Peace and Justice Center was active again in 2023.  We see our mission primarily as being a peace and justice education center, but we also hold witnesses; lobby political officeholders; and organize change campaigns.  Specifically, we gathered for peace vigils; presented programs and workshops; offered rides to demonstrations outside Roanoke; prepared to hold death penalty vigils; lobbied political officeholders; worked to get the show Democracy Now! and a valid Community Advisory Board at WVTF-FM; and co-sponsored a Climate Change vigil with the Sierra Club.  We also raised funds, did outreach and recruited volunteers for Plowshare.  (Please note: our treasury had declined significantly by the end of the year.  We hope more contributions and pledges will come in, so we can continue our work).  Below is a breakdown of our activities by committee and coordinator:

Plowshare Board: The board endorsed the Arab-American Heritage Month Celebration, the opposition to the Evans Spring project and the effort to redesignate the Shawnee National Forest to the Shawnee National Park.  We agreed that Plowshare be listed as an organization in the Apartheid-Free Coalition. The board held a mini-retreat in October to consider how Plowshare was doing and ideas for new projects.  We issued a statement on the Gaza-Israel War.  We wrote a letter opposing the potential expulsion of the Palestinian people from Gaza in another Nabka.  We created a Palestine Committee.

Peace Vigil Committee: The committee organized silent peace vigils every month in front of the Roanoke City Market Building, especially with a concern for Palestine.  (Vigils began gathering in April 2005).  The city contacted us about a requirement to file for permits every three months.  This was not the understanding that we have had with the city since our lawsuit.  We found the legal documents about this and contacted the city regarding the permits.  The city agreed to continue our original agreement: we will apply for permits yearly, and they will be issued quarterly. We also participated in and co-sponsored the Sierra Club climate change vigils. 

Program Committee: The committee showed the film Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing in June.  We organized the Progressives Potlucks in March, June, October and December.  We held our annual Open House in October, at which we presented the Peace- and Justice-maker of the Year Award.  The committee began organizing another Teen Peace Jam for the spring 2024, partnering with the Points of Diversity and the Roanoke City Youth Services.  We co-sponsored Kingian Non-Violence Training in April and May and the Ride for Palestine in July.  We publicized the Voices from the Holy Land film series, both a film and an online salon, monthly. 

Death Penalty Committee: We discontinued our death penalty vigil committee.  Virginia abolished the death penalty in 2021.

Carpooling Coordinator: The coordinator offered to arrange rides to the antiwar demonstration in Washington DC in March and for the Palestinian demonstrations in Washington DC in November and December.

Lobbying Committee: The committee made contacts (letters, emails, Facebook posts, calls, visits) with the staff of Representatives Cline and Griffiths and Senators Warner and Kaine, especially about Palestine.  We presented the Move the Money resolution to the Roanoke City Council in June.  We wrote Op-Ed pieces for the Roanoke Times.  The committee also lobbied with the Roanoke Citizens Climate Lobby, Fairfax Grassroots, Interfaith Power and Light, Code Pink and the Evans Springs group.  We participated in meetings of the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee.  (Plowshare is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  It does not endorse or give money to candidates.  It expresses our concerns to officeholders). 

Public Information Committee: The committee attended Friends Council meetings in February and April.  We spoke on Plowshare concerns about WVTF-FM at the annual Virginia Tech Foundation meeting in June.  We also contacted National Public Radio about our concerns.  The committee sent out 17 Action Alerts containing legislative items and encouraging Plowshare supporters to contact their officeholders about the items.  We offered a Pastors for Peace program in May.

Palestine Committee: The Palestine Committee was created in November. We attended demonstrations in Roanoke and Washington DC in November and December.  We organized a vigil at the Elbit plant in November.  We publicized a link for UNICEF to aid Gazan children. We sent out a template for a letter about a permanent ceasefire that Plowshare supporters could share with their officeholders and local newspapers.  The committee mailed letters of concern about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism to local mosques and temples We supported the Southwest Virginia Coalition for Palestine, Jewish for Peace and other groups concerned about the Palestinian people.  We have been creating a Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions project, for which we have been reaching out to many individuals and groups to work with us.

Finance Committee: The “Plowshare News” quarterly newsletter continued to bring in contributions.  The Plowshare pledge list contained 15 individuals and groups.  Plowshare PayPal and GoFundMe accounts were available so supporters can donate online on an occasional or a regular basis.  We have a financial consultant who can help Plowshare supporters support us through bequests and IRA distributions. 

Outreach Committee: The committee used our Facebook page, Facebook group, email list, website and “Plowshare News”, our quarterly newsletter, to share concerns and projects.  We reorganized the Plowshare website and created a Plowshare Instagram.  We also posted to Reddit.  More people signed onto all these media.  A calendar containing Plowshare events, Southwestern Virginia Activist events and a Southwestern Virginia activists list was published online bi-monthly.  We created a Plowshare YouTube channel to show our programs, which now contains ten videos.  We visited the Beth Israel teen group in January.  We tabled at Pride in the Park and the Arab-American Heritage Month Celebration in April and at the Henry Street Festival in September.  We tabled weekly at the South County Library and the Raleigh Court Library, starting in the fall.  We marched in the Labor Day parade in September and the Grandin Road Christmas parade in November.

Volunteers Committee: The committee contacted several people about joining the board and other committees.  We had one new member join our board and several volunteers became active on our committees.

Other: Plowshare gave contributions to Radio Free Roanoke and the Virginia Defender.  We worked with the Mountain Valley Pipeline opposition.  We made efforts to restart the Truth-in-Recruitment project.

Plowshare had a budget of $12,996 for 2023.  We took in $12,788.07 from pledges, contributions and Kroger cards.  We spent $13,070.68 (consultant’s fee; office supplies; copies; postage; post office box; bulk mail permit; state corporation commission fee; Peace Vigil committee expenses; Palestine committee expenses; Program committee expenses; and financial support for other groups).  We had $7,516.26 in our checking and saving accounts as of December 31, 2023.

Plowshare Peace and Justice Center thanks all the volunteers who worked so hard and all the supporters who gave financially.  You made it all possible!