PHOTO BY DIANE CHIDDISTER
Local residents Masako Yamano, left, Dimi Reber, Kay Kendall and
Ken Simon organized a community Peace Portrait, which
will be taken Saturday, March 15, 11 a.m., at Gaunt Park.
a picture for peace
Dimi Reber likes the idea of creating a Peace Portrait because
local residents will use their bodies to express their beliefs. Ken Simon
is attracted to the positive energy of being with many people who are
It struck me immediately that there is something upbeat about it,
a way to come together, Simon said.
Reber, Simon, Kay Kendall and Masako Yamano invite community members who
favor peaceful solutions to the current Iraqi crisis to join together
this Saturday, March 15, at 11 a.m., at Gaunt Park to make a Peace
Portrait. The photograph, to be taken by Dennie Eagleson, will be
made into a postcard to be sent to members of Congress and to family and
At the event organizers will also collect signatures, which will be published
in the Yellow Springs News. In case of rain on Saturday, the portrait
will take place on Sunday, March 16, at 12:30 p.m. At a later event, participants
will gather to sign and send the postcards.
Participants are encouraged to wear bright clothes. Since too many signs
could obscure faces, organizers plan to create a statement in large letters
to be held up by those in the back row.
The Peace Portrait concept began in Port Townsend, Wash., where that community
gathered in October for a photo to protest a U.S.-led war against Iraq,
said Kendall, who discovered the idea in Yes journal. In Port Townsend,
800 people, or about 10 percent of the population, took part.
The idea has spread, and the island of Maui recently took its peace portrait,
Kendall said, along with several other localities.
Local Peace Portrait organizers feel strongly that waging war on Iraq
is not the way to resolve our countrys difficulties with Saddam
I believe war is the most dangerous thing we can do, that it will
inflame hatred in many countries, especially in the Arab world,
said Reber. I think were modeling to the world a lack of restraint
and a flaunting of international law.
Growing up in Japan, Yamano observed the destruction caused by World War
II, and asked her elders why they had a war.
People in my mothers generation said that they didnt
have a choice, she said. I decided that if I have a choice,
I will say, no war.
Discouraged about the Bush administrations talk of war, Reber last
fall organized a discussion group about the book Hopes Edge by Francis
Moore Lappe, which examines a variety of progressive grassroots projects
around the world.
The book looks at projects that start small and ripple out,
Reber said. They arent so much a protest against something
as people taking a positive action.
The Peace Portrait organizers all took part in the discussion group, along
with several other participants. Talking together helped lessen their
feelings of powerlessness about the Iraqi war, said organizers, who have
taken other actions as well. Kendall, Simon and Yamano attended protests
in Washington, D.C., Reber organized an October rally in Yellow Springs
against the war and Simon distributed signs opposing the war to local
shop owners, so that those who wished to do so could put a sign in the
While they sometimes feel hopeless about the world situation, the organizers
said taking action leads to feeling more empowered.
If I watch too much mainstream news, I feel desolate, Reber
said. But when I envision something productive or am part of a group
of people working together, I feel hopeful.