Plowshare Peace and Justice Center was active again in 2022. 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. Below is a breakdown of our activities by committee and coordinator:
Plowshare Board: The Plowshare board approved a Julian Assange resolution in January and sent it to the Roanoke Times and also approved a statement on the Ukraine War in April, which was published in the Roanoke Times. We signed onto the Quaker Palestine Information Network Petition and endorsed the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights. We sponsored the Peace Talks Discussion Group. The Plowshare board held a mini-retreat in October to consider how Plowshare was doing and ideas for new projects.
Peace Vigil Committee: Silent peace vigils gathered every month in front of the Roanoke City Market Building. We resolved some questions about insurance with the city through our lawyer. (Vigils began gathering in April 2005; our 200th vigil was held in September 2022). We also participated in and co-sponsored the Sierra Club climate change vigils. We participated in events of the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee.
Program Committee: Programs were presented. These included the Pride film in January; “Frederick Douglass Speak on Democracy” in February; “Insider Perspectives on Domestic Violence” in April; “From Palestine to Ferguson” in June; “Ecology and Peace: Transforming Trouble into Strong Nutrition” in September; and a Progressives Potluck in December.
Death Penalty Committee: 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 are now either distributed online or shipped to Roanoke, so we discontinued this committee.
Lobbying Committee: The committee made contacts (letters, emails, Facebook posts, calls, visits) with the staff of Representative Cline, Senator Warner and Governor Youngkin. We also lobbied with Roanoke Citizen Climate Lobby, Fairfax Grassroots, Code Pink, and Interfaith Power and Light. (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 April and November. We spoke on Plowshare concerns about WVTF-FM at the annual Virginia Tech Foundation meeting in June. The committee also contacted National Public Radio about our concerns. We sent out 19 Action Alerts containing legislative items and encouraging Plowshare supporters to contact their officeholders about the items. We offered a Pastors for Peace program in July.
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 bi-monthly. We created a Plowshare YouTube channel to show our programs, which now contains nine videos. We tabled at Earth Day in April. We marched in the Labor Day parade in September and the Grandin Road Christmas parade in November.
Finance Committee: The “Plowshare News” quarterly newsletter continued to bring in contributions. The Plowshare pledge list contained 17 individuals and groups. Plowshare PayPal and GoFundMe accounts were set up 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 rollovers.
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.
Plowshare had a budget of $12,945 for 2022. We took in $8,718.96 from pledges, contributions and Kroger cards. We spent $13,178.27 (consultant’s fee; office supplies; copies; postage; post office box; bulk mail permit; state corporation commission fee; financial support for other groups; vigil expenses; and program expenses). We had $7,508.64 in our checking and saving accounts as of December 31, 2022.
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!