For junior Emilie Beck, a global studies and geography major, being dedicated to activism didn’t stop after her semester-long peace fellowship program. Along with a group of activists and student organizers, Beck started the Peace Action Matters (PAM) club in the fall of 2016. “PAM started as an extension of the peace fellowship program to continue peace education and peace activism on campus … many of us felt that we really wanted an outlet to continue that work,” said Beck, the president of PAM. “We connected with our affiliate, Peace Action New York State and we are the 12th Peace Action campus chapter in New York.”
With about 20 active members, “[PAM’s] goal is to create a community of informed student leaders and activists in the peace movement. It is an opportunity for students to come together and learn about really complicated issues and take meaningful action … PAM tries to normalize and institutionalize peace on campus and in our community,” Beck said.
During the year, PAM organizes a variety of activities enabling students to be activists. “On campus we have teach-ins, write petitions and canvas for signatures, call and write to our representatives, have film screenings and organize deliberative dialogues,” Beck said. “Off campus we participate in marches like the March for Science that happen[ed] on the 22 and we’ve had lobby meetings with our representative Kathleen Rice to discuss foreign policy issues.”
When discussing the club’s most successful activity, Beck described the presidential debate Hofstra hosted last fall. “On the day of the first presidential debate, PAM members worked with the CCE [Center for Civic Engagement] and Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives to organize a peace zone. We marched through campus, had a rally and speak out, and a community debate watch. It was an amazing day and we were able to get together to talk about the issues we care about that we felt weren’t being adequately addressed by the presidential candidates.”
Looking forward to this fall, Beck said the club is “planning on bringing in someone from the War Resistors League to do non-violent civil disobedience training for students.” Peace Action Matters is always accepting new members to participate in their activities.
“Students should be a part of PAM to take a stand against injustice. The peace movement is about the abolition of nuclear weapons and opposition to perpetual militarism, but it is also about confronting racism and economic inequality and building a sustainable future that works for all people, not just the wealthy,” Beck said. “The peace movement is for everyone who believes that society can be better than it is right now, for everyone who believes that peace is a human right.”
Interested in becoming involved with Hofstra’s chapter of Peace Action Matters? Their next club meeting is on May 8 at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of Brower Hall.