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A History of the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice

3000 US Deaths Candlelight Vigil Since 1965, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) has inspired, educated, and mobilized people to unite across differences and to act from their shared ethical and spiritual values in pursuit of peace with social and environmental justice. The Ann Arbor District Library, in partnership with ICPJ, has pulled together hundreds of photos, local news articles, and documents spanning five decades of social justice advocacy and activism in our community.

From the very beginning, in 1965, this organization (and its supporters) has envisioned a world free from violence, including the violence of war, poverty, oppression, and environmental devastation. The core of ICPJ’s work over the past five decades has come from a number of volunteer-led program areas and working groups. These program committees bring people together from a variety of religions and backgrounds to work on specific peace and justice issues.

In the past ICPJ has hosted working groups focused on the Prevention of Gun Violence, No Weapons/No War – alternatives to military engagement, Common Ground for Peace in Israel/Palestine among many other issues. Recent areas of work have included Racial and Economic Justice, Climate Change and Earth Care, Latin American Human Rights Issues, Hunger/Poverty and most recently a themed year (2015) exploring Food & Justice with a 2016 focus on Income Inequality and Racial Justice coming up.

Crop Walk, 1986 Please take a moment to explore the rich history of this important social justice organization. Below are some of the themes, work groups, and events during 50 years of ICPJ history in Ann Arbor:

Hunger: Since 1975 ICPJ has organized the annual Washtenaw County CROP Hunger Walks as an interfaith response to local and world hunger. Over the last 28 years walkers from some 50 area congregations and schools have raised more than one million dollars to assist both local and international agencies in relieving hunger and addressing its root causes. ICPJ works closely with Bread for the World in education, action and advocacy efforts; provides resources for congregations and groups doing programs about world hunger; and cooperates with area agencies in raising community awareness and soliciting funds.

Latin America: The Latin American Task Force devotes itself to education and action on Latin America concerns, especially U.S. policy in that region. It stands in solidarity with the movement to close the U.S. Army’s Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of Americas), as its graduates have committed atrocities across Latin America, leading many to consider it to be a “School of Assassins.” The task force also organizes educational programs about the U.S. military presence in Colombia and Honduras and how corporate globalization affects the poor in Latin America. Related events reflected in our photo history are: School of Assassins Watch (SOAW) events, ICPJ's early involvement with the establishment of our Sister Cty in Juigalpa, Nicaragua, and the events associated with the Religious Coalition on Latin America (RCLA).

Dozens of other topics and events are represented in the Photos collection, including annual Hiroshima Day events and Nuclear Disarmament protests; and programs and events associated with ICPJ's Middle East Task Force (METF). You will also find photos of ICPJ's participation in parades, at numerous vigils, and many other local and national events.