May 19, 2019
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‘Roots and fruits’ of nonviolence on display at Saturday rally in Bangor

Judy Harrison | BDN
Judy Harrison | BDN
Andrea Simoneau (center) and Andrew Williams of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine work on a painting to visually explain the roots and fruits of nonviolence on Saturday in West Market Square, the fifth anniversary of Campaign Nonviolence.

Andrea Simoneau sat in the sun Saturday afternoon in West Market painting a picture to show the cause and effect of nonviolence for the fifth annual End Violence Together event in Bangor.

Simoneau, 31, of Bangor is the art director for the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, a sponsor of the event along with Pax Christi. She worked with a committee to create a tree that would visualize “the roots and fruits” of nonviolence in society.

The roots of the tree represented understanding, respect, security, justice and transformation, she said. Among the leaves were the words diversity, truth, peace, trust and respect.

“We wanted to emphasize the interplay among all these things and to show how we accomplish nonviolence,” she said while painting in the leaves and background with the help of Andrew Williams, 31, of Bangor. “Our poster used the same theme.”

The event was part of many held nationwide this month through Campaign Nonviolence, a long-term movement to make nonviolence mainstream. It was initiated in 2014 with a week of actions in mid-September that includes the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21. Since then, it has grown from 230 actions to more than 1,600 actions last year across the U.S. in all 50 states and around the world.

The current non-denominational organization grew out of Pace e Bene, founded in 1989 in California. Its name was derived from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, who used the phrase in their own time as a form of greeting. Translated from Italian, it means “Peace and all good!”

Organizations that took part in Saturday’s event included well-established groups such as the Peace and Justice Center, Job Corps in Bangor, the Mabel Wadsworth Center and Rape Response Services. Newer groups with specific political agendas, including the Bangor chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Indivisible Bangor, also took part.

“We are laser focused on a specific piece of legislation and a proven strategy to gain its passage,” the website of the CCL’s Bangor chapter said. “We are working for the passage of Carbon Fee and Dividend, the climate change solution economists and climate scientists alike say is the ‘best first-step’ to preventing the worst impacts of a warming world.”

Indivisible Bangor is part of a national movement to resist the agenda of the Trump administration and return the control of the U.S. Congress to the Democratic party.

Pat Burnes, 75, of Orono said that she joined the organization after retiring last year. A delegation from Indivisible Bangor meets regularly with the Bangor staff of Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, a Democrat.

“I was very upset by the election of Donald Trump,” Burnes said Saturday. “This is a way for me not to feel powerless because I’m working to change the way the political world is now.”

As the End Violence Together Rally went underway at 1 p.m. Saturday, it drew more like-minded progressives than conservatives. Trained facilitators were on hand to help de-escalate any arguments that threatened to become heated, organizers said.

Saturday’s event was to conclude with a march through downtown Bangor. A march in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the the national arm of Campaign Nonviolence is set for Friday and Saturday.

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