This year there is a new group on Dwight Hall’s roster — the Dwight Hall Peace Initiative, an umbrella organization for peace activism. The organization will continue Dwight Hall’s rich legacy of protest and peace mobilization, from the Vietnam War to apartheid.
The group’s mission — to advocate and fundraise for humanitarian and anti-war efforts as well as educate and engage the broader Yale community on global humanitarian issues — will further sustain such efforts for decades to come, according to the group’s coordinator Daud Shad ’21. The group’s first meeting last Thursday drew 16 attendees, and this Thursday’s meeting will feature Stanley Heller, administrator of the local peace advocacy group Promoting Enduring Peace and executive director of the Middle East Crisis Committee.
“Despite many years of activism for humanitarian and anti-war causes, Yale lacks an organization committed exclusively to peace activism,” said Nicholas Sulich ’22, one of the coordinators of the group. “Instead organizations arise in light of a specific issue and are disbanded once the issue is resolved.”
The peace initiative’s goal is to cut out the bureaucratic delay that comes with organizing a new campus group focusing on specific world issues, Sulich said.
According to another coordinator, Zelunjo Chumajaegbu ’22, the group has split issues into two groups: global conflicts and ethical supply chains. Global conflicts include situations involving inter- or intra-country violence, while ethical supply chains include issues like human trafficking.
Shad said that during meetings, students can learn about global conflicts and plan advocacy campaigns. Students will also vote on a humanitarian cause to support each semester and will host monthly fundraisers for that cause.
“We identified a list of different issues and human concerns, and we devised committees to address them,” said Chumajaegbu. “Right now we’re in the beginning stages of getting the organization off the ground.”
The peace initiative hopes to grow as an organization this year. Thus far they have advertised to the Yale community at events such as the Student Activities Bazaar and the Dwight Hall Bazaar. The group also plans on hosting their own public events like a Day of Peace.
John-Gabriel Bermudez ’22, a coordinator, said the group hopes to teach students more about crises such as the Rohingya ethnic cleansing occurring in Myanmar and the persecution of Uighurs in western China. The group is planning to have organized events to help support relief efforts in affected areas. These will include themed student mixers and Halloween candy grams, where students can help fundraise.
“Fundraising is a big part of our organization and how we seek to address these issues. There are many different organizations throughout New Haven that we will also be working with such as Co-Pink and Win Without War,” Chumajaegbu said. “We are partnering with those organizations to gain support and raise awareness.”
According to Sulich, the peace initiative is one of the few groups within Dwight Hall that have a more broad approach rather than a focus on only Yale and New Haven. Sulich added that the peace initiative has flexibility that many other groups do not.
While many groups prioritize one issue for a short time span, the peace initiative is intended to provide a framework for peace activism that evolves over time.
“Students should not only be concerned about their own communities: Because the United States plays a large role in Syria and Yemen, for example, we have an obligation [to] be engaged [in] our government’s foreign policy,” said coordinator Abel Negussie ’22.
The group meets every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. in Dwight Hall.
Kelly Wei | firstname.lastname@example.org