2021 Plowshare Annual Report

Plowshare Peace and Justice Center was active again in 2021.  Despite another hard year of the Covid-19 pandemic, we persevered.  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; distributed the Virginia Defender and Appalachian Voices; lobbied political officeholders; worked to get the show Democracy Now! and a valid Citizens 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.  Below is a breakdown of our activities by committee and coordinator:

Plowshare Board: The Plowshare board held a mini-retreat in October to consider how Plowshare was doing and ideas for new projects.  The board approved a statement on Myanmar and a resolution about Julian Assange.

Peace Vigil Committee: Silent peace vigils gathered every month in front of the Roanoke City Market Building.  (Vigils began gathering in April 2005; 190 vigils were held by December 2021).  We also participated in and co-sponsored the Sierra Club climate change vigils.

Program Committee: Programs and workshops were presented.  These included: a “Peacemaking Initiatives” program with David Swanson in April; a “Conscientious Objection” program with the Center on Conscience and War in May; a “Cuban Pilgrimage” program with the Pastors for Peace in July; a “Remembering the Vietnam War” program with John Ketwig in October; the “Jesus Fatwah, Part 1” films in November; and the “Jesus Fatwah, Part 2” films in December.

Death Penalty Committee: Wonderfully, Virginia abolished the death penalty in 2021 so no vigils were held.  The committee plans to gather for vigils if the federal government kills people.

Carpooling Coordinator: No carpools to demonstrations were scheduled due to the pandemic.

Newspaper Committee: The newspapers the Virginia Defender and Appalachian Voices were distributed throughout the year.

Lobbying Committee: The committee made contacts (letters, emails, Facebook posts, calls, visits) with Representatives Griffith and Cline and their staff; Senators Kaine and Warner and their staff; State Senator Suetterlein and his staff; House of Delegates Member McNamara and his staff; and Governor Northam and his staff.  Letters were sent to Representatives Cline and Griffiths about their opposition to the certification to the 2020 Presidential election.  We attended an in-person meeting with Representative Griffith’s staff as part of the Climate Change Lobby group.  (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 a Friends Council meeting in April and November.  They spoke on Plowshare concerns at the annual Virginia Tech Foundation meeting in July.  They sent out 15 Action Alerts containing legislative items and encouraging Plowshare supporters to contact their officeholders about the items. 

Outreach Committee: The committee used our Facebook page, Facebook group, email list, website and “Plowshare News”, our quarterly newsletter, to share concerns and projects.  A calendar containing Plowshare events, Southwestern Virginia Activist events and a Southwestern Virginia activists list was published online monthly.  We created a Plowshare YouTube channel to show our programs.  We were interviewed on Radio Free Roanoke for its “Community Connections” program. 

Finance Committee: The “Plowshare News” quarterly newsletter continued to bring in contributions.  The Plowshare pledge list contained 20 individuals and groups.  A new Plowshare PayPal account was set up so supporters can donate online on an occasional or a regular basis.

Volunteers Committee: The committee contacted several people about joining the board and other committees. 

Other: Plowshare worked with the Honest Election Group, a local group formed to respond to the attempted coup by President Trump, in January.  We joined in the delivery of Palestinian petitions to Senators Warner and Kaine’s staffs in July.  Plowshare gave contributions to Radio Free Roanoke and the Virginia Defender.  We donated our collection of progressive literature to the Swarthmore College Peace Archives. 

Plowshare had a budget of $13,030 for 2021.  We took in $12,587.56 from pledges, contributions and Kroger cards.  We spent $11,492.41 (consultant’s fee; office supplies; copies; postage; post office box; bulk mail permit; state corporation commission fee; financial support for other groups; and programs expenses).  We had $9,146 in our checking and saving accounts as of December 31, 2021.

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!