By Library and Archives assistant Laura Juliano
The papers of Brooklyn For Peace, which date from 1983 to the present, and consist of over 25 linear feet of organizational records, event ephemera and recordings, and subject files, are now available for research at Brooklyn Historical Society. The collection reveals both the history of the organization as well as the broader grassroots response to a wide variety of significant social and political issues at the local, regional, and national levels from the late twentieth century to the present.
Brooklyn For Peace (BFP) was founded in 1984 as Brooklyn Parents for Peace by Charlotte Phillips and Carolyn Eisenberg, in response to the invasion of Grenada by the United States. For the past thirty years, Brooklyn for Peace has worked to eliminate war and the social injustices that are its causes. The organization works on domestic and international issues, attempting to create a peaceful future.
BFP’s activities include organizing community events, meetings and forums throughout Brooklyn, staffing information tables at community and regional events, participating in outreach and educational campaigns, lobbying elected officials, participating in demonstrations, and providing didactic materials that fall within the mission of the organization.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, BFP advocated for the compensation of civilian victims in Afghanistan, the protection of civil liberties in the U.S.A., and opposed the detention of immigrants here in New York City. They witnessed discrimination of immigrant communities, the illegal detention of American citizens, and the loss of due process and civil liberties in their local communities and throughout their country. BFP worked over the last seventeen years to try to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their citizenship status, their place of origin, or their religion, were afforded the same liberties that we all enjoy. BFP organized rallies, and wrote to congressmen and women, their house representatives, and all the way up the chain to the President of the United States advocating for the rights of all New Yorkers.
BFP’s initiatives on civil liberties included: bringing public awareness to those held and tried without due process, holding demonstrations outside of prisons where people were being detained illegally, opposing The Patriot Act, protesting police brutality in New York City, advocating for the end of Stop & Frisk, and opposing House Bill 4437, which imposes strict penalties on immigrants. BFP focused on the disenfranchised populations they saw as most in need, those that were ignored by the general public. BFP were, and remain, champions for people who cannot speak for themselves.
BFP did not let time dim their zeal regarding what many see as vital work, and they are still active today. Throughout their efforts, they worked with groups such as Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights, the Council ON American-Islamic Relations-New York, and Educators for Civil Liberties to host and endorse events and campaigns such as No Separate Justice, which aims to end the injustice of Guantanamo Bay.
Out of this work came protests against the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were direct results of the 9/11 attacks. BFP heavily protested the use of our tax dollars in unjustified wars and were advocates of peace in a time of upheaval and conflict. They demanded action and change from the members representing them in the state and federal governments, as well as rallying to give a voice to the underrepresented communities that live in Brooklyn.
Library staff members Maggie Schreiner and Laura Juliano will share more stories from BFP’s rich history of peace activism at our Tales from the Vault event this Wednesday, November 7th 2018 at 6:30pm. Tickets can be reserved here.
A guide to the collection is available to researchers online via our finding aid portal. Our library is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. To make an appointment to view the collection, please contact us at: [email protected]. The website of Brooklyn For Peace can be viewed here.