On Friday, November 13, longtime peace activists and founders of Project Peacemakers, Bev Ridd and Dianne Cooper, were our guests for Second Fridays. They reflected on Peace – what encourages them, and the significance of story in building a culture of peace. It was a poignant discussion, coming a couple of days after Remembrance Day, and just before news reports started coming in of attack in Paris. Our small noon-hour gathering feels like an importance reminder of the challenge and the need for hope.
Bev Ridd has been the heart and soul of Project Peacemakers since its founding meetings over 30 years ago. She was the key person in working with the Province of Manitoba to call for an implementation of a rating system for video games. She acquired grants from the Winnipeg Foundation for Project Peacemakers to sponsor a banner programme in schools. As her friend Dianne says, “She talks the talk (lots of great ideas) and walks the walk (works at everything we do).”
Dianne Cooper has been a dedicated activist in the struggle for peace and global justice. In her peace activities, she’s been a participant in Witness for Peace, a peace group that traveled to Nicaragua documenting experiences in war zones. She was also a member of the World Council of Churches’ Advisory Committee to the Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) event for four years, and a participant at the JPIC conference held in 1990 in Seoul, Korea. Together with Bev, Dianne was one of the co-founders of Project Peacemakers, a group working for peace and justice from a faith perspective. “We decided we had to get past thinking that this issue was too big to tackle. We didn’t want to tell our kids that we hadn’t at least tried.”