Empty Shoes Show Toll of Iraq/Afghanistan War at ‘Eyes Wide Open’ Exhibit

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eyes-wide-open-exhibit-american-friends-service-committee-king-plaza-palo-alto-photos-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-stories Rows of empty soldier’s boots filled King Plaza in downtown Palo Alto on Saturday, March 16, to represent lives lost in the 10 years since the start of two U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the “Eyes Wide Open” Exhibit.

The site was sobering enough, but included in the exhibit were rows of civilian shoes—from casual and dress shoes of adults to small pink and white girls’ sneakers—representing the men, women and children civilians killed during those wars.

Members of the community gathered in the plaza to hear various speakers, sing songs of peace, and participate in prayers from different faith traditions, as well as walk amidst the shoes and reflect on the names of the individuals they represented.

The traveling exhibit was created by the American Friends Service Committee. The Palo Alto event was co-sponsored by the committee and numerous local peace groups, including Mutifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 101. [Read more…]

Peace and Understanding at Palo Alto Holiday Fair

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Last year when I attended the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, little did I know Ruth_Mutch_Wendy_Leonard_Sharon_Leonard_Ilhangane_Project_Holiday_Peace_and_Social_Justice_Fair_Palo_Altothat one year later I’d be behind one of the many booths which offer some small way to make the world a better place.

On Sunday among the tables in the long, bright multipurpose room selling everything from Fair Trade olive oil and coffee, to beaded necklaces and ornaments, to scarves and hats in every hue, I was selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook. It was a great day of meeting new people, hearing about wonderful local organizations, and making some great contacts for future stories.

In between talking to people at my booth, I managed to sneak in some holiday shopping. I picked up some adorable beaded ornaments for friends (and myself), and another beautiful gift I will remain mum on in case someone I know is reading this post 😉 . They came from a booth run by Limitless Horizons Ixil, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatamala.

The annual fair was co-sponsored by the church and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.  More photos after the jump. [Read more…]

Don’t Miss the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Fair Dec. 9 (GNS Will Be There!)

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If you’ve been looking for special gifts that make a statement, gifts that actually could change the world, you need to get yourself to the Holiday Holiday-Peace-and-Social-Justice-Craft-and-Info-Fair-Palo-Alto-Good-Neighbor-StoriesPeace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair in Palo Alto this Sunday, Dec. 9.

I will be at this awesome fair selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook. The fair is from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St. It is co-sponsored by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and First Presbyterian.

Last year I went to the fair to do a post for the website, and got to wander around checking out all the great products from all over the world, as well as meet a lot of volunteers—”good neighbors” all—passionate about the nonprofit organizations they were representing.

There were lots of handmade items and artwork benefiting craftspeople in the countries of origin, fair trade coffees and other food items, recycled Christmas ornaments, and other great gifts. There were even rescued kittens in need of good homes, and rescued birds on display. A number of groups were on hand to educate shoppers about their charitable work, and maybe find new volunteers and donors.

If you come, stop by the Reach and Teach booth, check out the datebook, and say “hi”.