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Scoville rally to offer glimpse of peace


Pioneer Press
BY CHERI BENTRUP

You've heard about the peace movement. This is your chance to meet the activists and learn about their goals first hand.

The Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice is hosting its first Oak Park Peace Fair and Town Hall from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday in Scoville Park, on the northwest corner of Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. No admission will be charged.

Booths representing about 40 peace organizations will be set up in the park, similar to Oak Park's Day in Our Village celebration held each June, said Kevin McDermott, one of the event organizers for the Truth & Justice Coalition.

"The theme of the event is 'What Does Peace Look Like?'" McDermott said. "A lot of the criticism of the peace movement is we know what you're against, what are you for? It's not just the absence of war. It's more than that."

The fair was planned to give peace organizations a chance to spread their word to local residents, as well as interact with each other.

"Find our what their vision is," McDermott encourages residents. "Talk directly to the activists. It's an opportunity to come out and see what the peace movement is about for yourself. We think that's a good service to provide."

A guest speaker, military mom Pat Vogel, is expected to share her experience returning from Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"She'll be talking about Iraq and Camp Casey," McDermott said.

Also, McDermott said, the American Friends Service Committee, a peace group formed during World War I, will bring its "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit, a display of combat boots representing the service personnel killed in Iraq to date.

"Unfortunately, it's grown quite large," McDermott said. "They'll be bringing just the Illinois part."

Near the war monument in Scoville Park will be a town hall discussion of peace.

"We've invited a number of elected officials," McDermott said. As of Thursday, only state Sen. Don Harmon, D-39th, has committed to appearing, he said.

If few politicians show up, the town hall area will be a place where residents can share their own thoughts on peace, McDermott said.

Entertainment also is part of the day, and children's activities such as learning peace-related songs and listening to peace-related stories are planned, McDermott said.

Cheri Bentrup can be reached at cbentrup@pioneerlocal.com.

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