Spring Assembly 2023

Evolving Nonviolence

Our wonderful gathering was on Saturday May 6, 2023

Select recordings are now available! Additional presenter infomation is below.

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation announces its 25th Annual Spring Assembly. 

Video-Conferencing event.

Click to scroll down to info about:


Keynote speaker Helena Cobban
Workshop facilitators Kathy Railsback and Sean Arent
Mike Yarrow Peace Fellow youth activists on social justice projects
Plus, music by Tom Rawson, Q&A and breakouts, informal discussion


8:45 am Zoom space opens.
9:00 Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, Music
9:15 Keynote Speaker: Helena Cobban
9:35 Q & A
9:55 Introduction of workshop leaders:

  • Kathryn Railsback of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
  • Sean Arent, Director of Washington Against Nuclear Weapons

10:00 Workshops + Q & A
10:55 Break.
11:00 Youth activists in Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship Program & Q & A.
11:40 Comments on Event
11:45 Music: Tom Rawson
12:00 End of formal program; Informal Sharing begins.
12:45 Informal Sharing ends.


Ukraine War, Armistice, and Negotiations

Helena Cobban will speak in favor of an armistice in the Ukraine war with the Korean War Armistice as something of a template. Such a ceasefire situation could then hopefully create an environment that would facilitate negotiations between warring countries.

Keynote presenter, Helena Cobban is an analyst of global affairs who for many years contributed a regular column on global issues to The Christian Science Monitor. Four of her seven books have been on the Middle East, the others on broader global issues. She is the founder and CEO of Just World Books LLC and Executive President of Just World Educational, where she is also currently writing for Globalities.org. One of her recent articles is “Iraq, Ukraine, the world today” (https://globalities.org/2023/03/iraq-ukraine-the-world-today/.)  Helena is a member of the Friends Meeting of Washington, D.C.


WORKSHOP 1: Organizing for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Sean Arent, coordinator of the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition will present on WANW’s plan to build power using grassroots organizing techniques.

Workshop facilitator, Sean Arent, is the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Manager at the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and the coordinator of the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons coalition. He is a graduate of the University of Washington-Tacoma with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and has been an activist and organizer in the progressive, climate, campaign finance reform, labor, and housing movements since he was a senior in high school. In his spare time he serves on the Steering Committee of the Tacoma for All campaign and as the Co-chair of the Tacoma Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

WORKSHOP 2: War and Nonviolence: Questions Worth Exploring

During times of war, it can be especially difficult to speak out against state-sponsored violence. Fortunately, we have many wonderful models to learn from. This workshop will address: What is nonviolence? How do we practice it? How do we use nonviolence to engage with powerful forces at  work today that are promoting violence and war- making? How do we use nonviolence to bring  about true peace?

Workshop facilitator, Kathy Railsback is the resident activist at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. She has worked since the 1970s on campaigns related to women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, environmental justice, protesting war, and other issues. As an immigration attorney, she worked closely with organizations to support refugees and asylum seekers. She is currently the principal on a project supporting trauma education efforts among South Sudanese refugees in East Africa. Kathy believes in nonviolence as a way of life. Her work against nuclear weapons stems from her view that we cannot find peace through creating fear of violence.


Youth activists participating in the Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship (MYPF), a year-long WWFOR program for high school and college age youth, ages 14-23.  The program includes a Grant for interns to work on a nonviolent social change project of their choice. Fellows receive training and support throughout the year.  In 2020 through 2022 we moved the training online due to COVID-19.  The 2023 program format has not yet been decided.  We will hear from interns in the 2022 program.

Sarah Pham, who is a 2017 MYPF Graduate and current WWFOR Regional Council member, is one of the coordinators of the MYPF program. Now enrolled at the University of Washington, Sarah leads monthly “Strategy/Support” meetings via Zoom and has set up digital spaces for the MYPF to communicate and support each other through the year.  Sarah will give a quick overview of the program and introduce current enrollees.

Dwija Adamala, of Olympia.  Having participated in protests regarding gun safety, human rights, Black Lives Matter, and environmental issues, Dwija is working on the increasing problem of economic inequality and hopes to “promote a more equitable future in Olympia.” More specifically, Dwija plans to “create workshops to inform people about the connection between economic inequality and other forms of persistent inequality” and create an action guide on the issue.

Kimberly Il, of Olympia & Seattle.  Kimberly is a Cambodian-American with refugee parents who resettled in the U.S. after the Khmer took over Cambodia. She will be discussing her project on generational trauma and genocide reconciliation Khmer refugees. A student at UW, she has experience organizing for release of detainees at the NW Detention Center in Tacoma.


Tom Rawson will provide musical interludes. Tom is a folksinger, storyteller, and activist who has performed at many FOR concerts and was the song leader at the FOR Northwest Regional Conference at Seabeck for many years. See https://www.tomrawson.com/ for more about Tom.


ONLINE REGISTRATION at https://wwfor2023sa.brownpapertickets.com/. You can select a donation of $0 (free attendance), $5, $10, or $20 according to your means and you can also make an additional donation of $1-$50 at any of these registration levels. You will need to provide name, email, phone number and will receive the Zoom link by email. You will also be asked to specify your workshop preference.

OTHER WAYS TO REGISTER. Register by phone 206-789-5565, email wwfor@wwfor.org, or postal mail WWFOR, 225 N 70th St, Seattle WA 98103.  If you are making a donation and prefer to send a check instead of paying online, please use the address above.  We just need your name, email (if available), workshop preference, and phone number and we will provide Zoom connection information.


You can reach us at 206-789-5565 or wwfor@wwfor.org

David Lambert, chair of the planning committee has assembled a list of resources on nonviolence. Click here.

Hop back up for info about:

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Information and select recordings of presentations from previous spring assemblies:

2022 | 2021 | 2020