April 28, 1978
At the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility, near Denver, over 5,000 protested and nearly 300 were arrested over the following eight months for blocking railroad tracks entering the plant where plutonium bombs used as detonators in hydrogen bombs are produced.

April 28, 1979
A few weeks after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania
[see March 28, 1979], a crowd of close to 15,000 assembled at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production plant near Denver, Colorado. Singers Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt took the stage along with various speakers including Dr. Helen Caldicott. The following day, 286 protesters, including Pentagon Papers source Daniel Ellsberg, were arrested for trespassing in their civil disobedience at the Rocky Flats facility.

April 28, 1996
Sixty-one were arrested for dismantling railroad tracks leading out of the Gundremmingen nuclear power station in Bavaria, Germany.


April 29, 1915
The International Congress of Women convened on this day in 1915 at The Hague in the Netherlands. More than 1,200 delegates from 12 countries— Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the United States—were all dedicated to the cause of peace and a resolution of the great international conflict that is now referred to as World War I.
Often called the Women’s Peace Congress, the meeting was the result of an invitation by a Dutch women’s suffrage organization, led by Aletta Jacobs, to women’s rights activists around the world. Jacobs believed that a peaceful international assemblage of women would “have its moral effect upon the belligerent countries,” as she put it.
Aletta Jacobs, Dutch suffragist and an organizer of the Women’s Peace Congress
This was the origin of the organization known today as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
WILPF history

April 29, 1962
Nobel Prize-winner (for chemistry in 1954) Linus Pauling picketed the White House with others protesting the resumption of nuclear weapons testing. He had been invited there by President John Kennedy, to be honored at a dinner along with other Nobelists.

April 30, 1917
The American Friends Service Committee was founded to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors the opportunity to serve those in need as an alternative to military service in what was later known as World War I. They worked with British Friends assisting refugees from that conflict. Quaker values in action
AFSC history AFSC today

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April 30, 1967
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a sermon entitled, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” at Riverside Church
in New York City.
“The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism.”
Listen to or read the speech

April 30, 1977
A group of 14 mothers who had met in the waiting rooms of police stations while trying to discover the whereabouts of their children, organized the first of a continuing series of demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace on the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their children were among the “disappeared” (los desaparecidos), victims of the Argentina’s “dirty war” against its own people.
Each Thursday afternoon they gathered at the Plaza to demand that the fate of the victims be made known. Some of the mothers, including Azucena de Villaflor, their first president, themselves disappeared. In spite of this, the group soon counted some 150 members and eventually grew to several thousand in 1982-83.
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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April 30, 1996
About 120 activists were arrested over the following eight days in Washington, D.C., in support of a fast by Sister Dianna Ortiz. The Ursuline nun had been kidnapped, tortured, and raped by U.S.-trained and supported Guatemalan Army officers in 1989; she was fasting to demand that the U.S. government release information on her assailants.

Sister Diana Ortiz


May 1, 1886

May Day was called Emancipation Day in 1886 when 340,000 went on strike (though it was Saturday it was a regular day of work) in Chicago for the 8-hour workday.

May 1, 1890
May Day labor demonstrations spread to thirteen other countries; 30,000 marched in Chicago as the newly prominent American Federation of Labor threw its weight behind the 8-hour day campaign.

May 1, 1933

The Catholic Worker newspaper was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Dorothy Day said, “God meant things to be much easier than we have made them,” and Peter Maurin wanted to build a society “where it is easier for people to be good.”

May 1, 1948
Senator Glen Hearst Taylor (D-Idaho) was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, for trying to enter a meeting through a door marked for “Negroes” rather than using the “whites only” door, and convicted of disorderly conduct.
Taylor was the Progressive Party candidate for Vice President, running mate of Henry Wallace. He was in Birmingham to address the Southern Negro Youth Congress.
Senator Glen Hearst Taylor

May 1, 1967
Soviet youths openly defied police and danced the twist in Moscow’s Red Square during May Day celebrations. In the early ‘60s the Twist had been banned in Buffalo, New York, and Tampa, Florida. The religious right claimed the Twist was actually a pagan fertility dance.

May 1, 1977
Following a 24-hour occupation at the site of two proposed nuclear power plants in Seabrook, New Hampshire, 1,414 people were arrested.
The non-violent civil disobedience, organized by the Clamshell Alliance, became a model for anti-nuclear direct actions across the country. National and international news coverage brought the issue of nuclear power into public focus and no nuclear reactors were ordered after that time. Those plants already approved eventually went online, including Seabrook Unit I, but Unit II was never built. 
There is still no permanent methed for long-term safe storage of highly redioactive nuclear waste generated by such plants. Most of the radioisotopes in high-level waste have extremely long half-lives (some longer than 100,000 years).
Currently, it is stored on-site at nuclear plants around the country.
continued (info, photos, links). . .
No Nuclear
a series

Peace quote

“I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr

May 2, 1963
Hundreds of children ranging in age from six to eighteen were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, as they marched from Kelly Ingram Park, across from 16th Street Baptist Church, to downtown singing, “We Shall Overcome.”
Part of an ongoing effort to end segregation in that city, and following the arrests of many adults including Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the children had volunteered to minimize the threat to families if a breadwinner were jailed. A judge had issued an order preventing any of 133 civil rights leaders from organizing a demonstration.
Birmingham, the capital of Alabama, had been the site of 18 unsolved bombings in black neighborhoods over recent years, and the place where mobs had attacked Freedom Riders on Mother’s Day in 1961. Leaving the park in groups of fifty, the kids were put in vans by police, led by Eugene “Bull” Connor, until there were 959 filling the city jails.

May 2, 1968
The Poor People’s Campaign began with groups from several locations around the U.S. setting out for Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the conditions of poorest in the United States. It was conceived and organized by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and, following his assassination the previous month, led by his successor at the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Reverend Ralph David Abernathy.

The first wave of demonstrators arrived in Washington on May 11. One week later, Resurrection City was built on the Washington Mall, a settlement of tents and shacks to house the protesters.
Resurrection City

Peace quote

“Bring on your tear gas, bring on your grenades, your new supplies of Mace, your state troopers and even your national guards. But let the record show we ain’t going to be turned around.”
– Ralph Abernathy

Let peace fly

May 3, 1886
At Haymarket Square in Chicago, a rally was being held because of a strike at the McCormick Harvester plant and, just two days after the enormous May Day turnout. Though the mass meeting was peaceful, a force of 176 police officers arrived, demanding that the meeting disperse. Someone, unknown to this day, then threw a bomb at the police.
In their confusion, the police began firing their weapons in the dark, killing at least three in the crowd and wounding many more. Seven police died (only one by the bomb), the rest probably by police fire.
Read more

May 3, 1963
In Birmingham, Alabama, Public Safety Commissioner and recently failed mayoral candidate Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor used fire hoses and police dogs on children near the 16th Street Baptist Church to keep them from marching out of the “Negro section” of town.

With no room left to jail them (after arresting nearly 1000 the day before), Connor brought firefighters out and ordered them to turn hoses on the children. Most ran away, but one group refused to budge.
The firefighters turned more hoses on them, powerful enough to break bones. The force of the water rolled the protesters down the street. In addition, Connor had mobilized K-9 (police dog) forces who attacked protesters trying to re-enter the church.
Pictures of the confrontation between the children and the police were televised across the nation.

All great legislation grows out of mass movements organized by people like you and me.
Three important movements from our history that President Obama referred to in his 2nd Inaugural address.
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May 3, 1971

The first broadcast of National Public Radio’s evening news and public affairs program, “All Things Considered,” was aired on about 90 public radio affiliates around the country. The main story was the disruptive anti-Vietnam protests in Washington.

It is now the third most listened-to radio program
in the U.S.
Listen to that first program


May 4, 1961

A group of Freedom Riders left Washington, DC for New Orleans in a first challenge to racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals; it was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

The Freedom Riders dining at a lunch counter in Montgomery before traveling to Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Read more about the freedom riders 

In the style of the 1963 March on Washington
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May 4, 1970
Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on anti-war protesters
at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others,
one permanently disabled.
The previous day, President Nixon had announced a widening of the Vietnam War with bombing in neighboring Cambodia.

There were major campus protests around the country with students occupying university buildings to organize and to discuss the war and other issues.
Read more

Peace quote

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
Mario Savio, Berkeley Free Speech Movement

May 4, 1983
A “sense of the Congress” resolution, intended to urge a halt to all testing of nuclear weapons, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives (287-149). The support for a nuclear freeze, ending all American and Soviet nuclear weapons testing, was widespread. In ballot resolutions in 25 states, the freeze had passed in all but one, losing in Arizona by just two points.

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This Week in History April 21st – 27th



April 21, 1856
Stonemasons and other construction workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House. They advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. Their direct action protest was a success, becoming the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight-hour workday, inspiring the celebration of Labor Day and May Day.
The Peace Cap
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April 21, 1989
Six days after the death of Hu Yaobang, the deposed reform-minded leader of the Chinese Communist Party, some 100,000 students from more than 40 universities gathered at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu prior to his funeral.
They voiced their discontent with China’s authoritarian communist government, and called for greater democracy. Ignoring government warnings of violent suppression of any mass demonstration, the students were joined by workers, academics, and civil servants.
Pro-democracy student protesters face-to-face with policemen outside the
Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square the day of Hu Yaobang’s funeral.


April 22, 1963
The Mothers for Peace, a group made up of Catholic Workers, members of PAX (which became Pax Christi in 1972), Women Strike for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and others, met with Pope John XXIII to plead for a condemnation of nuclear war and the development of nonviolent resistance.
About Women Strike for Peace

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April 22, 1970
Poster at the first Earth Day
On the first Earth Day observance, an estimated 20 million participated in peaceful demonstrations of concern for the environment across the U.S. An estimated 20 million people participated including ten thousand grade schools and high schools, two thousand colleges across one thousand communities.
1st Earth Day, 1970
The ecology button and sticker reissued

Read about the history about the ecology symbol

April 22, 1992

50,000 attended “Don’t Count On Us,” an anti-war rock concert in Belgrade, Serbia. It was to the nationalist regime of President Slobodan Milosevic an expression of the resistance within society to the military aggression he had been pursuing in the name of Serbian nationalism. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the various constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia—Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina—had declared their independence.
Following a military draft call-up, fewer than 10% had reported for duty, and there was considerable dissension within what was then still called the Yugoslav People’s Army.
Read more
Peace quote

April 22, 1997

On Earth Day, Plowshares activists Donna and Tom Howard-Hastings used handsaws to cut down three poles in northern Wisconsin supporting the ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) transmitter for communication with submerged Trident nuclear submarines. After the poles were cut they were decorated with photos of children and posted with documents about international law and treaties outlawing nuclear weapons. They also placed stakes to mark tree seedlings under the transmission lines that they said were “doomed to the cutting bar.”
They cut a section of one of the downed poles, carrying it to the nearby transmitter site where they turned themselves in to security personnel.
They were then taken into custody by county sheriffs. An ABC-TV news affiliate, along with reporters from two public radio stations, were on hand to observe what happened.
During the three-day jury trial on charges of sabotage and property destruction in Ashland County . . .continued (info, photos, links). . .


April 23, 1968

Students at Columbia University in New York City occupied campus buildings to protest military research and the razing of part of the neighboring Morningside Heights section of Harlem to make way for a new student gymnasium.

Perspective from 40 years on by Mark Rudd,
one of the Columbia leaders

April 23, 1971

In the final event of Operation Dewey Canyon III, nearly 1,000 Vietnam War veterans threw their combat ribbons, helmets, and uniforms on the U.S. Capitol steps along with toy weapons.
Read more about Operation Dewey Canyon III

April 23, 1996

Nineteen Ukrainian demonstrators were arrested in the capital, Kiev, during an illegal anti-nuclear protest marking the 10th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the largest and deadliest nuclear accident in history [see April 26, 1986].

Chernobyl veterans


April 24, 1916
The Easter Uprising began when between 1,000 and 1,500 members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood attempted to seize Dublin and issued the declaration of Irish independence from Britain.

The seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation
Read the Proclamation
Read more

April 24, 1934

This editorial cartoon appeared in New Masses magazine. It refers to the attempt of anti-radical vigilantes and repressive college administrators to disrupt the first national student strike against war.


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April 24, 1967
At a news conference in Washington, D.C., General William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, said that the enemy (considered to be North Vietnam and the Viet Cong southern insurgents) had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.”
Though he said that ninety-five percent of the people were behind the United States effort in Vietnam, he asserted that the American soldiers in Vietnam were “dismayed, and so am I, by recent unpatriotic acts at home.” This criticism of the anti-war movement was not received well by many in and out of the movement, who believed it was both their right and responsibility to speak out against the war.

General Westmoreland meeting President Lyndon Johnson later in 1967, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam
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“I used it (the newsletter) last year when I taught the Nonviolence: Theory & Practice class, and the students really seemed to like it, so I’m including it in their weekly reading again this semester…I think it’s a fabulous resource, and includes so many events that people hadn’t even heard of or don’t usually think about.”
– Karen, Center for Applied Conflict Management

April 24, 1971
500,000 demonstrated against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. It was the largest-ever demonstration opposing U.S. war; 150,000 marched at a simultaneous rally in San Francisco.

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A button inspired by Gandhi
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April 24, 1987
On the World Day for Laboratory Animals, nationally coordinated demonstrations occurred in California, Arizona, Florida, New York, Minnesota, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Tennessee, and other states. It was the largest display of civil disobedience for animal rights ever. Hundreds of activists across the country blocked access to university laboratories and more than 150 were arrested nationwide.
The day was designated to bring attention to the treatment of lab animals used in testing of medical and other products, sponsored in Congress by the late Tom Lantos (D-California).
World Day Laboratory Animals


April 25, 1969
The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and 100 others were arrested while picketing a Charleston, South Carolina, hospital to support unionization by its workers.
Read more about Reverend Ralph David Abernathy

April 25, 1974
A peaceful uprising by both the army and civilians, known as the Carnation Revolution (Revolução dos Cravos), ended 48 years of fascism in Portugal. People holding red carnations urged soldiers not to resist the overthrow and many placed the flowers in the muzzles of their rifles. The regime killed four before giving in to the popular resistance.
Read more   Lisbon demonstration ’74
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(a luta continua=the stuggle continues
in português)
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April 25, 1993
Nearly one million marched for homosexual rights and liberation in Washington, D.C.

Health Care Rally at April 25, 1993 The AIDS quilt on display as part of the event.

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April 25, 2004


The March for Women’s Lives drew a record 1.15 million people to Washington, D.C. The marchers wanted to protect legal and safe access to reproductive services including abortion, birth control and emergency contraception.
Organized by a coalition that included the National Organization for Women (NOW), Black Women’s Health Imperative, Feminist Majority, National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Planned Parenthood, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The March for Women’s Lives was the largest protest in U.S. history.
Read more

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April 26, 1966
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales founded the Crusade for Justice, a Chicano activist group, in Denver, Colorado, and marked his departure from the Democratic Party. It was the beginning of a nationalist strategy for the attainment of Chicano civil rights.
Read more
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
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(paz=peace in spanish)
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April 26, 1968
A national student strike against the Vietnam war enlisted as many as one million high school and college students across the U.S.

April 26, 1986
A major accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine near the border with Belarus, both then part of the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor sent radioactivity into the atmosphere. Only after Swedish authorities reported the fallout over their country 1385 km away (860 miles), did Soviet authorities reluctantly admit that an accident had occurred.
During a fire that burned for 10 days, 190 tons of toxic materials were expelled into the atmosphere (3% of the reactor core). Winds blew 70% of the radioactive material into neighboring Belarus.
The explosion at Chernobyl was the world’s largest-scale nuclear accident. Approximately 134 power-station workers were exposed to extremely high doses of radiation directly after the accident. About 31 of these people died within 3 months. Another 25,000 “liquidators”—Soviet soldiers and firefighters who were involved in clean-up operations — have died since the incident of diseases such as lung cancer, leukemia, and cardiovascular disease.
400,000 were evacuated and over 2,000 towns and villages were bulldozed to the ground in areas considered permanently contaminated.
Deaths and illnesses directly attributable to radiation exposure continue.
continued (info, photos, links). . .
No Nuclear
– a series –

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April 27, 1936
The UAW (United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America), gained autonomy from the AFL (American Federation of Labor), becoming the first democratic, independent labor union concerned with the rights of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers

April 27, 1937
The Social Security Administration began operation by making its first payment to an American protected under the law, principally the elderly, and children who’ve lost their parents. 

April 27, 1942
Sixteen pacifists, including Evan Thomas and A.J. Muste, refused to register for the World War II draft. Muste was a Quaker activist, founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and author of two pamphlets that same year, War Is the Enemy and Wage Peace Now.
A.J. Muste still working for peace 25 years later
with Dorothy Day, leader of the Catholic Worker movement.

April 27, 1994


South Africa held its first multiracial elections and chose anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela (with more than 62% of the vote) to head a new coalition government that included his African National Congress Party.

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