Note - after reading my blog you can
see a slideshow of all my photos
of the 2008 Brooklyn Peace Fair -- just CLICK HERE.
Apr 28, 2008
Manhattan has its Broadway. Washington has its cherry blossoms. Brooklyn has its Peace Fair. This year, thousands of Brooklynites and people from beyond Brooklyn streamed into the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University to attend the fifth annual Brooklyn Peace Fair. Organized by Brooklyn For Peace and co-sponsored the LIU Student Government Association, the fair is the culmination of this year's actions for peace and justice in the borough and the city.
Hundreds of Peace Fair posters were placed in store windows throughout north Brooklyn neighborhoods.
A team of hard-working volunteers had labored for months preparing for the event. Speakers were acquired, performers were signed up, workshops were organized, merchants were solicited for ads, publicity was designed and disseminated and the word was gotten out onto the streets of Brooklyn to make the Fair the resounding success that it was.
The morning of April 26th finally arrived. It was a chilly and cloudy day, but no rain as had been promised. Expectations were high because the weather seemed ideal - not too beautiful so that people would be outdoors; not too rainy to keep people at home.
Arriving early, I entered the gymnasium where the main stage had been set. (A separate building, adjacent to the gym, would be used for the workshops). Sound engineers were busy making their acoustic tests. Representatives of close to a hundred organizations were setting up their information tables. Brooklyn For Peace members were setting up their tables as well - their various committees - Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Latin American - each had their own table. And there were tables to sell BFP t-shirts, buttons and distribute and display literature.
Sound equipment was set up and acoustic checks were made.
Many organizations attended the Fair as participants. Here, the Green Party of Brooklyn set up a table to display their information.
The Camp Kinderland table.
Fort Greene Peace was there!
As 11 o'clock rolled around, people started arriving, but in small numbers and some of us began to wonder if we had miscalculated the support that the Fair would attract. But in a short while, things picked up and soon there was a buzz of excitement at LIU as the auditorium was filled with people crowding the tables and attending the workshops.
BFP's Vice Chair, Rusti Eisenberg, conducted a lively workshop on Iraq.
Congressman Major Owens led a workshop -- Mobilization for Peace and Prosperity. Bring Our Dollars Home to Stop the Budget Cuts.
State Senator Eric Adams led a workshop on Youth, Race and the Criminal Justice System.
As the workshops ended, the auditorium filled to hear the speakers who had been invited. The featured speaker was Debbie Almontaser. She had been a victim of a right-wing smear attack emanating from the NY Post and the New York Sun newspapers. Selected by the Bloomberg administration as principal for a new Arabic studies high school (the Khalil Gibran International Academy), she was soon abandoned by the Mayor and the schools Chancellor in the face of the attacks. A broad community support for Debbie has since been organized and the fight-back continues.
David Tykulsker, Vice-Chair of Brooklyn For Peace, introduced the featured speaker of the day, Debbie Almontaser.
Debbie Almontaser made an uplifting speech that stressed the need for a multi-national, multi-cultural unity to the fight for peace and justice.
The speakers were followed by an array of performers - singers, poets and child acrobats that dazzled the audience. By the end of the day the consensus was that the 2008 Brooklyn Peace Fair had been a great success. It brought together a diverse sampling of Brooklyn residents who are yearning for change. They want an end to the war and the expenditures for war that have devastated their communities. They want to turn the country in a different direction - away from war and destruction and toward peace and friendship. Their vision is a country where all people can enjoy their human and civil rights and lead lives of dignity and fulfillment. The Peace Fair was a culmination of months of activities on behalf of that vision. But it's also the basis of bringing people together to continue that struggle in the months and year ahead of us.
Performers dazzled the audience with their immense talent. Stephanie Rooker and Carey Rava made beautiful music.
An impassioned performance by Abiodun, one of the orginal Last Poets, rocked the crowd at LIU.
To see all my photos of the
2008 Brooklyn Peace Fair
just CLICK HERE.