WWFOR has a long tradition of activism and works on a variety of issues at any given time, depending on the interest and energy of local members and chapters, the organization’s long-standing commitments, and current events and conditions. We strive to balance ongoing work with responses to immediate needs and events. We often work in collaboration with other groups, in official coalitions or as allies in order to maximize our efforts. Because we see the connections between a broad spectrum of peace, environmental and justice issues, linking with others allows us to address a variety of issues and pool our resources.
Our current programs include the following:
Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship
The WWFOR runs the Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship (MYPF), a year-long Fellowship that includes a Fellowship Grant to work on a nonviolent social change project of your choice and includes a multi-day intensive training in nonviolent direct action for high school and college age youth, ages 14-23.
2017 Mike Yarrow Peace Fellow, Jamie Margolin, inspired by the MYPF Intensive Training program, focused her project and funds on starting a youth-led climate justice organization, “This is Zero Hour” with a Youth March on Washington in summer 2018. Greta Thunberg, then 15 years old, “read about Zero Hour’s day of action online. Then, a month later, she began her Fridays for Future strike campaign, protesting outside Sweden’s parliament every week. The strike movement spread across Europe and the world, becoming a key part of today’s wave of youth climate activism.”
You(th) Can Make a Difference!
Climate Action N.O.W.
The program is called “Climate Action N.O.W. (Neighborhood Organizations of Washington)” and is intended to apply neighborhood organizing principles to the climate crisis issue. The mission of Climate Action NOW is to develop and then promote small neighborhood study/action groups to understand the urgency of the climate crisis and then to support participants to take appropriate action, either as a neighborhood group or individually. Neighbors are invited to a first meeting, which will include a potluck, childcare and facilitated discussion and readings. Those who are persuaded that the climate crisis is real, is urgent and that we can/should do something, will be invited to continue meeting for the purpose of determining what actions the group, or individuals in the group, can take to respond to the situation. It is anticipated the meetings/potlucks will repeat bi-weekly or monthly.
Nonviolent Legacies Video Project
The Nonviolent Legacy Video Project (NVLVP) intends to accomplish several goals, including:
1) inspiring younger activists by hearing the stories of elder activists recount the pivotal moments in their own life as they faced the challenges of confronting war, injustice and environmental degradation with nonviolent resistance, even when doing so involved great personal risk and sacrifice;
2) honoring elder FOR members and supporters by creating, perhaps with the assistance of their family members, a video tribute to each interviewee to detail the legacy of the life of nonviolent resistance each has attempted in his/her/their own way;
3) raising funds for the ongoing work of the WWFOR by linking the video production to a “legacy gift” donated to the WWFOR by the friends/family of the interviewee;
4) increasing intergenerational cooperation; and understanding between younger and elder activists by having the interviewers be younger activists and including questions of interest to younger activists as they contemplate their own lifetime commitment to nonviolent activism;
5) promoting membership in the WWFOR by all activists by posting the videos on the WWFOR web site and YouTube channel, as well as distribution to family and friends of the interviewee as desired by each interviewee.
Civil Rights Tour Comic Book
In December, 1957, the FOR published and distributed 250,000 copies of a 16 page comic book, “Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story“, which served as a primer on nonviolent resistance for the burgeoning civil rights movement.
In January, 2020, Mike Yarrow Peace Fellow and part-time FOR staff, Erika Mazza-Smith, a youth climate activist/artist, participated in a “Civil Rights Tour” of the deep South, led by Mary Lou Finley (MYPF Director who had worked with King in Chicago in 1965-66). WWFOR requisitioned Mazza-Smith to compose and illustrate a comic book to share lessons and stories of the civil rights movement and the tour for today’s youth climate activists.
Activist Google Groups
WWFOR hosts a number of issue-specific online Google Groups where activists with a shared interest can exchange information, resources and organizing advice. Groups focus on:
Monitor Nuclear Energy
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Other Programs and Issues
Peace in Iraq & Afghanistan:
WWFOR worked to end the sanctions against Iraq in 1991, sanctions that led to the excess deaths of 500,000 children.
WWFOR with our ally AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) launched the Pledge of Resistance in 2001 prior to the start of the Iraq War, generating more than 4,000 signatures in WA State and 100,000 across the country.
In 2002, WWFOR with allied groups and individuals founded SNOW (Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War), which, at its height claimed over 40 neighborhood groups working nonviolently for peace.
Historically, WWFOR has participated in vigils, demonstrations, and nonviolent actions. Sometimes we have taken a leadership role, while other times we have joined other’s efforts.
The current Bring Our Billion$ Home Campaign (BOBH) continues to express our opposition to the wars and occupations.
Throughout its history, FOR has worked to promote human rights, whether in U.S. (support for civil rights) or around the world (Latin America solidarity work, among others). In the past year, WWFOR has worked in coalition:
With the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) to end torture and close Guantanamo.
With Seattle United Against FBI Repression, we have worked to stop the attack on the civil liberties of peace and solidarity activists.
We join with a number of groups as an ally to address immigrant rights issues (including El Comite, Casa Latino, One America). We help organize the annual May Day march and rally, drawing thousands into the streets. We worked with a coalition of groups to change the official name of King County to Martin Luther King Jr. County.
Support for Veterans:
FOR has advocated for conscientious objectors and war resisters since World War I. In keeping faith with that historic commitment, we continue to support the work of such groups as IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War), Veterans for Peace (VfP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). WWFOR was a leading organizer of the historic 2007 “Citizens Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq: The Case of Lt Ehren Watada.” We support Veteran-owned, veteran-operated Coffee Strong, located just outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)
WWFOR is a member organization of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). Locally we coordinate actions on Tax Day, highlighting how much of our tax dollars go to militarism.
FOR has a long-standing commitment to the abolition of the death penalty. WWFOR is an active member of the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Through WCADP, we engage in education and outreach, work to change laws in the legislature, advocate in the media, and respond to imminent executions. The Olympia FOR has an extremely active Committee for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.