Mary Ellen Quinn and Ilze Petersons have watched history unfold throughout the years.
The Civil Rights Movement. The Vietnam War. The Iraq War. The Gay Rights Movement. The list goes on.
Each conflict, each struggle, each moment during which violence was threatened or a struggle against violence ensued brought Quinn and Petersons to believe in the need for a different kind of culture: one of nonviolence.
Quinn, a social worker and co-coordinator of PaxChristi Maine, a Catholic organization that opposes any form of violence, brought the End Violence Together Rally and March to Bangor in 2014 as part of the national “Campaign Nonviolence.” The event drew almost 200 people who took a stand against violence of all kinds, whether that be war and poverty or unequal treatment and environmental destruction.
“Nonviolence can be a very effective strategy for social change,” Quinn said. “‘Campaign Nonviolence’ is trying to broaden that concept to say that nonviolence is a way of life.”
The rally and march is set to return on Sept. 19 to Bangor’s West Market Square with the support of more than 40 organizations.
This year the rally will begin at 1 p.m. It will feature drumming, speakers, music by Voices for Peace and information tables of sponsoring groups. Children’s activities coordinated by the Maine Discovery Museum will be available. The rally will be followed by a march through downtown Bangor and a concluding ceremony at West Market Square.
The event is one of many being held across the country as part of Campaign Nonviolence Week to raise awareness about the relationship between war, poverty and environmental destruction.
“The issues we’re concerned about are connected,” Petersons said. “We can start working on any one of them and know we’re part of a larger movement.”