Peace Rally Program in Madison hosted by Veterans for Peace


Noted speakers, music, high school scholarship awards, and poetry readings are scheduled for a Peace Rally Program beginning at 12:45 p.m. Monday, May 25, at James Madison Park, 614 E. Gorham Street. The program on Memorial Day afternoon is hosted by Veterans for Peace, Clarence Kailin Chapter 25.

In addition to the May 25 program, Veterans for Peace (VFP) will sponsor a “Memorial Mile” display of more than 6,675 simulated grave markers to acknowledge U.S. deaths in the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Memorial Mile display, May 23 to May 30, will be located along Atwood Avenue east of Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Peace rally speakers May 25 at James Madison Park will include:

  • Everett Mitchell, social justice advocate, attorney, activist, and pastor, speaking on “Resisting the Narratives of War.”
  • David Newby, president emeritus of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, discussing efforts by U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW).
  • David Couper, priest and former police chief – “Keeping the Peace” invocation.
  • Will Williams, veteran and activist, with closing remarks.

Warm-up music will be provided by the band Old Cool. A spoken word performance by UW-Madison’s First Wave is scheduled, as well as a poetry reading by Veterans for Peace member Daryl Sherman. Sean Michael Dargan will play a bagpipe tribute to end the program while names of war casualties are read. Audience members will be invited to place red carnations at the nearby Abraham Lincoln Brigade marker. Chapter 25 namesake and founding member, the late Clarence Kailin, was a volunteer fighting fascism with the International Brigade in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Program emcee is Chapter 25 member and Vietnam War veteran David Giffey.

During the May 25 program, graduates from area high schools will be honored for their participation in the annual Veterans for Peace essay and scholarship competition named after the late VFP member Dr. James Allen. This year, 40 students at seven high schools from Madison to Baraboo to Boscobel wrote essays on the topic “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.” More than $4,000 in scholarships have been awarded annually by Chapter 25 since 2007. Veterans for Peace is a non-profit organization. All funds are raised through donations and small grants. The program is free and open to the public. Good will donations will be accepted during the program and at the Memorial Mile site.

Chapter 25 member Steve Books will offer Veterans for Peace educational information. Audio assistance provided by Norm Stockwell and Steve Ringwood, WORT-FM Radio.

(Media: For more information contact David Giffey, 608-753-2199 or email Interviews with participants available.)

VFP Scholarship Essay Contest Open to Students in Six Rural Southwestern Wisconsin Schools

Since 2006, Veterans for Peace Chapter 25 has offered $500 scholarships to a growing number of graduating seniors in rural high schools in Southwestern Wisconsin. To apply for the scholarship, senior students are required to write a 500- to 700-word essay on the topic: “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.”

In each of the six rural schools where scholarships are offered, a member of Chapter 25 provides information to students about the cost of wars – both human and monetary – and alternatives to the military. Veterans for Peace counter-recruiting takes place during lunch hours in the school cafeterias, where military recruiters often visit. Guidance counselors in the high schools list the Veterans for Peace scholarships each year along with dozens of other community scholarships available to the students.

Since the scholarship program began nearly a decade ago, the number of participating rural schools has grown, as has the number of students entering the essay contest. In some cases, 15 percent or more of a high school senior class has written an essay on the peace topic.

In addition to the scholarships in six rural Southwestern Wisconsin schools, Chapter 25 also offers a scholarship for students attending a high school in the City of Madison. (See this page).

This year, schools outside the City of Madison participating in the essay contest include: Baraboo, Boscobel, Dodgeville, Richland Center, Riverdale (Muscoda), and River Valley (Spring Green).

Essays are judged by the VFP scholarship committee, and awarded at honors ceremonies conducted annually at each high school and attended by hundreds of parents, family members, and friends. When awarding the scholarships, a Veterans for Peace representative briefly describes the peaceful mission of our organization to the crowd.

The scholarships are funded solely with donations to Veterans for Peace Chapter 25. While the scholarship/essay program includes only a fraction of the 425 school districts in Wisconsin, it represents an important effort to educate students and citizens about the unbearable costs of war.

After the scholarships are awarded, some of the essays will be made available on this website:

2015 Madison College Scholarship Application

A $1,200 scholarship will be offered for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year to a Madison High School student who writes the best original essay on the peace topic “Why I Believe War and Violence Are Not the Answer”.     (See scholarship application for more details.)

This scholarship is open to any senior student at a Madison public high school who will graduate in 2015.  Applicants must plan to enroll at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College)–full-time or part-time–beginning the fall semester 2015, to be eligible to receive this award.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Saturday May 2, 2015.

Veterans for Peace College Scholarship