Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

East Bay and San Francisco Branches

Work to Advance Peace, Justice and Human Rights

APRIL 2024

Demand a Ceasefire and Aid to Gaza

A Plea for Action by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)

It’s been six months of relentless Israeli airstrikes, forced displacement, and total devastation in the Gaza Strip. Over 33,970 people including over 14,500 children have been killed. The people of Gaza are now facing mass starvation and are at imminent risk of famine.

Humanitarian operations have been severely stalled with the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers on April 1, bringing the aid worker death toll to 196, the majority of whom are our UNRWA colleagues. The UN reports that most of the 980 NGOs registered in Gaza have had to stop operations. 

Despite these challenges, UNRWA remains steadfast in its mission to provide lifesaving support to Palestine refugees. UNRWA is the backbone of the humanitarian operation in Gaza and a stabilizing force in the region, where it continues to serve Palestine refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. But UNRWA needs funding to continue its crucial work.

This is where you come in. While many countries like the EU, Canada, and Japan have resumed funding to the Agency after a temporary pause, the United States has not. Instead, President Biden signed into law a one-year ban on US funding to UNRWA until March 2025.

Contact your elected officials now and urge them to:

Call for an immediate ceasefire
✅Resume US government funding to UNRWA 

Betty Brown Remembered

Elizabeth “Betty” Brown, died peacefully in her home on Friday, January 12, 2024. She was 97 years old. Betty was born on Jan. 3, 1927, to her parents Kate and Henry Blake on the family homestead in Firesteel, South Dakota, land that Betty would later in life recognize as stolen from the Cheyenne River Sioux.

The family left South Dakota during the dust bowl era and relocated to Oregon, then moved to Richmond, California to find work in the shipyards during World War II. Betty attended Richmond High School where she began her lifelong activism for peace, and social and environmental justice. Throughout her life, she carried on the humanist traditions of her parents, who were founding members of the Richmond NAACP.

Betty met her husband Wallace Donald Brown while attending Richmond High. They would marry upon his return from WWII. Betty worked as a school nurse for the Richmond Unified School District (West Contra Costa County Unified School District) for 30 years, identifying children with special needs and referring them to specialists who could help them achieve success as school students.

Wally and Betty had two children and enjoyed the out-of-doors in a variety of forms including building cabins, hiking, camping, and traveling throughout the western U.S.

Following Wally’s death in 1972, Betty redoubled her devotion to a variety of progressive causes including peace through diplomacy and the intertwined causes of environmental and social justice. She continued as the co-Chairperson of East Bay Peace Action through 2023, living out her desire to remain an activist all her life. She was also a passionate advocate for health care for all people.

Betty is survived by daughters Janice Brown-Silveira and her husband Mitchell of Reno, NV; Paula Brown-Williams, and her husband Theodore Williams of Bishop; grandchildren Erin and Nathan Brown-Silveira of Reno, NV and numerous cousins and their children and grandchildren.

A celebration of Betty’s life will be held later in the year. In lieu of flowers, those who would like to remember her may make contributions to Peace Action, Healthcare for All, or the Sierra Club or simply speak out for a more just and peaceful world.

Public Reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beyond Vietnam Speech

On a cold and rainy morning, we gathered in front of Oakland City Hall to all share in reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s amazing speech: Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence. Dr. King delivered the speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. It is striking how his words spoken 57 years ago resonate today. Here’s a link to this extraordinary speech.

In Celebration of International Black Women’s History Month

On April 29, WILPF US invites you to attend a webinar honoring trailblazer and women’s rights icon Shirley Chishol Facilitated by WILPF’s Martha Collins, we’ll examine Chisholm’s life and achievements, and view short documentary videos displaying her distinctive and powerful persona. Register here for this program on Monday, April 29, at 5 pm PT.

The UN Practicum in Advocacy through Activist Eyes

WILPF US brought a cohort of students and activists to the UN’s annual Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, stressing the critical role that women can and must play in organizing and planning for a feminist peace agenda. Practicum Coordinator, Shilpa Pandey, led and facilitated the week-long program, which included four women activists at various points in their activist and advocacy journey.   

How did it go? What did they learn? How will they continue to sustain their advocacy going forward? You can learn all this and more by tuning in to this zoom presentation. You’ll meet this year’s participants, hear precisely how meaningful the experience was, and how they intend to continue to connect with WILPF US through projects and outreach. 

For those of you who were not able to attend the webinar & report back session from this years, UN Practicum in Advocacy-CSW-68 student delegates/participants, here is a link to the recording.

Join us May 29-June 2, 2024 at our Virtual Congress

Water is essential, yet our expectations that it will always be there excludes the activism and advocacy that is required to maintain our planet’s supply of this fundamental key to our existence. During this year’s Triennial Congress (May 29-June 2), WILPF will explore the pathways that we can unite with other activists and organizations around to protect this essential life force.

Our 2024 WILPF US Congress will cover many issues around growing shortages of fresh water, including competition for water, expanding economies, conflict, major inequities and development challenges, plus growing environmental degradation including climate change.

Please join WILPF as we work together with others towards sustaining a safer and better world. We will hear from experts in the field regarding water topics, discuss matters surrounding this essential source of life and coordinate ways to organize our efforts in working together towards protecting our water.

WILPF’s 2024 Congress will highlight the engagement of our issue committees, branches, and members and regional and organizational representatives on this theme – now and over the next two years – through learning, advocacy, and action. There will be presentations from Issue Committees which include cultural and creative expressions. Updates will be presented from peace workers from different corners of our Section. There is FUN lined up with interesting presentations by water protectors across the nation.  WATER IS LIFE!

For current WILPF US members

Full Congress early registration, until May 15:  $55
only via the special link being sent to members by email and post.

All other registrations
Full Congress:  $75

Day rates:
$20 per day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
$30 on Saturday and Sunday

Register here for the full Congress or for one or more days.  



www.WILPFEastBay.org or www.WILPFSF.org

Before Enlisting: https://www.BeforeEnlisting.org/

National WILPF www.wilpfus.org International WILPF: www.wilpf.org