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Peace activist offer some grand motherly advice

Igniting an international peace movement just isn't enough for some not as long as there is still a war going on, that is.

Some founding members of Grandmothers Against the War were in the Capital District on April 27 and 28 talking about effective strategies to bring tragedies to light and help spread the word on their anti-war movement.

Joan Wile, an award-winning singer/ASCAP songwriter, and Barbara Walker, who has 50 years in international settings, including the Institute of International Education and the United Nations, both made the trek from the their downstate homes to give guest lectures and media interviews in the area.

The women's visit was organized locally by Grannies for Peace, a project of Women Against War, and Delmar resident Maud Easter, who is a part of the local group, said she was thrilled to hear their stories.

We were very excited to have them," she said. "Their stories are so wonderful and they were the inspiration for our own Grannies for Peace here."

They spoke at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany as well as in classes at Siena College and the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany during their trip.

Wile describes how her desperation in 2003 about ending the war in Iraq led to the inspiration that a grandmothers' action might attract attention.

"I said to myself, 'I've got to do something," Wile told The Spotlight about standing on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan with anti-war buttons and protest signs. "I thought someone was going to punch us at first but we sat there, two old ladies and the next week there were three of us, then four, then five."

By the month's end, there were 18 members standing, she said, members who also came to found the "Granny Peace Brigade," an organization that is still highly activate in protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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