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Washington and Wall Street: ‘Women of Wisdom’ talk on civil disobedience

Copyrighted photo by Shadia Fayne Wood Virginia Kennedy is shown being arrested during the peaceful protest of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline in Washington, DC on August 20. The Pike County, PA resident and her daughter Marygrace will discuss their experience on October 29.


October 27, 2011

PLEASE NOTE: This event was postponed due to a snowstorm. It has been rescheduled to Sunday, November 13, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Tusten Library in Narrowsburg.

NARROWSBURG, NY — “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it,” he urged in 1849 in “Civil Disobedience.”

More than a century-and-a-half later, four regional women will take on the topic of civil disobedience by sharing accounts of their personal experiences for the purpose of fostering discussion.

The role played by civil disobedience in the past, as well as the role it is increasingly playing today as activists take to the streets in the growing “Occupy” movement, will be addressed at the event on October 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Tusten branch of the Western Sullivan Public Library on Bridge Street in Narrowsburg.

Virginia Kennedy, mother, teacher and long-time resident of Pike County, PA, was arrested in Washington, DC with 64 others on the first day of a peaceful protest of the controversial Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Her August 20 arrest—one of over 1,200 during the two-week action to raise public awareness of the danger of the pending pipeline approval—brings the issue of confronting power and injustice through nonviolent civil disobedience home to the Upper Delaware community.

Virginia will be joined by her 17-year-old daughter Marygrace as they recount the experience in vivid detail and reflect on the questions it raises.

In addition to the Kennedys, longtime community organizer and activist Beverly Sterner and renowned children’s author and illustrator Vera B. Williams will share their experiences of nonviolent civil disobedience as both strategy and philosophy.

The public is invited to share personal accounts of civil disobedience and offer information about local opportunities for activism. Youth are especially encouraged to attend and harvest the wisdom of experience from an older generation.

“It’s personally and culturally positive to have this conversation about encouraging more people to be active and involved and to not be afraid to step up,” said Virginia. “I never give up on the power of people to make radical change and the people are on the move now. The unrest is palpable. This agitation that people are feeling is disturbing, but also filled with possibility.”

The event is sponsored by the Crones Club—a group of elder women of the Upper Delaware region dedicated to sharing resources and wisdom to enrich the community.