Rise from the ashes of 2020 with Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice

by Kate Ellison

Everyone is asking, plotting, and planning what’s next. It’s a new year, we have a new president, and a vaccine to push back the virus that has nearly paralyzed us for months. 

Astrologically, the Age of Aquarius finally dawned on Winter Solstice 2020. In 2021 we will be able to gather together, not to go back to normal, but to move forward with new vision and renewed determination. 

The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice has long hosted annual gatherings of movement groups from throughout the Southeast (and nationally) to plan actions, provide education, and support smaller groups in activities they are creating. FCPJ is ready for everyone to hop off Zoom and meet in person!

FCPJ has been a leading peace and justice organization since 1982, linking activists across the state. Born in Orlando, the organization moved around for nearly a decade, networking and participating in actions. Then, in 1994, the Geiger family generously donated 14 acres of their land in Bradford County as a meeting facility for peace activism and youth.

Their intention was always to provide space for peace education – a place for kids to learn the essential skills of peaceful conflict resolution and respect for each human being and the planet. 

Before the pandemic, FCPJ hosted a Peace Camp for children of the Immokalee farm workers, many of whom came back year after year as they grew up. We are envisioning new peace camps (perhaps this summer) utilizing the 2100 square foot meeting hall and kitchen, indoor and outdoor showers, plenty of space for games.

Even during the pandemic, we recently hosted a memorial for Karen Smith, suddenly taken from her prison resistance actions. About 50 people were able to safely gather outside, share a meal and a bonfire, and find the inspiration to move forward without her.

Because we are land-based, the value of protecting the environment is central. Climate justice has to be the foundation for all forward movement. No more toxic prisons, no cancer alley, no lead pipes for drinking water, no polluted neighborhoods, no Nestle. Obviously.

FCPJ is growing and building community. We have always had tent camping for events, and now we offer a few RV hookups for short visits or staying for the winter. Movement groups can rent the space for gatherings of up to 100 people. There are two eco-friendly homes on the land, where residents live, garden, and work on FCPJ projects. See Florida4peace.com.

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