This video was made by Cris McConkey and is published on the Tompkins County Against War & Occupation website. Among many other things, Cris is also a member of New York State Direct Action for Peace (NYSDAP).
In mid-July of 2009, Peace Now Ithaca, a local group in the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York that had organized a successful campaign to designate Ithaca a Sanctuary City for war resisters, received word that 21-year old Iraq veteran and conscientious objector, Josh Sieber, was on a trek across the nation and wanted to come to Ithaca. With the help and cooperation of the Ithaca and Perry City Friends Meetings, the Social Justice Council of the Ithaca Unitarian Church, the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance and annual Peace Forum, we organized a potluck dinner to meet Josh, a local Peace Walk with him, and arranged for his participation at the festival.
Joining Josh on the walk were Plowshares and Catholic Worker activist Ellen Grady, her daughter Saoirse, Peace Now Ithaca activistBob Nape, and videographer Cris McConkey. At the festival, Josh met up with former medic and conscientious objector Michael Blake.
The peace forum is an annual event at the Fingerlakes Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance. It was started by Jolene Uticone, a widely known and loved youth worker. This video starts with the peace walk and ends with Josh’s address in the Dance Tent, where he was invited to speak by the traditional Irish band the Grumblin Rustics.
To sum up Josh’s message in one sentence: We need to live out of trust and out of love… …and not out of fear.
-Thanks to Cris McConkey and Tompkins County Against War & Occupation