Friday, February 25, 2011

Southeast Peace and Justice Organizers Connect with Activists on Trip to Costa Rica

Clare sits between Shawna Doran and Michael Canney 
At the 8th Southern Human Rights Organizers'  Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, New South Network of War Resisters coordinators and WRL Asheville lead organizers, Clare Hanrahan and Coleman Smith took notice of the South to South connections developing between the Southeast USA and the peoples of Central and South America. On our return to Asheville we were surprised with an invitation to spend two weeks in Costa Rica with a friend and local supporter of our anti-war and peace activism. Always reaching out to new and old activists on the ground in the Southeast, we made arrangements to meet with other experienced organizers along the way.

Shawna Doran and Michael Canney shared hospitality in their Alachua, Florida, home as we journeyed south to catch a flight out of Miami to San Jose, CR..  Shawna is a nurse practitioner who recently returned from Haiti where she offered her skills to people recovering from the earthquake. She taught emergency first aid and provided training with indigenous mid-wives. Clare and Shawna first met in the early 1980s in St. Petersburg where Clare and daughter Jessica founded an advocacy center for homeless women and children - helped by the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting.   Shawna is a founder of the Quaker project Pro Nica   building sustainable cross-cultural relationships between the people of Nicaragua and North America using Quaker values.

 Michael is co-chair of the Green Party of Florida which is the lead intervener against Progress Energy's (N.C.) Levy County, Florida nuclear power plant.   It's always a boost to meet another informed activist who is working daily to reveal the injustices of a system out of balance with nature.Mary Olsen, Southeast Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), also supports Michael in the challenge against Progress Energy's nuke.  The arguments against nuclear power are succinct and well grounded in science and experience. There are ample green alternatives to collectively provide power and save energy. Nukes are dirty, dangerous, and expensive; existing only by huge government subsidies and corporate welfare. The Southeast is home to a disproportionate number of nuclear power plants as well as permit requests. The combined impact of commercial nuclear power, the nuclear weapons complex, and the real possibility of the country's high level radioactive waste heading to a future burial site in the Appalachians, demands of us, a hyper vigilance of  this industry. This moves us to educate, activate and organize for civil resistance to this threat to our community's health and the welfare of our children and grandchildren. To this extent,  Michael and Shawna also work with and support the Sunshine Alliance for Green Energy Solutions (SAGES).
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Look out for more posts on our Central American travels as we drive cross country, meet generous, beautiful people, and take advantage of 2 for 1 Margaritas at the Basilica Pizzeria in Nosara, Costa Rica.   
Keeping our heads above the fray   

Assuming the Position in Paradise

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