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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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The Redwoods Seniors for Peace

Photo by Haley Lefferts
Terry Morawitz

Every Friday evening from 4 to 5 p.m. the Seniors For Peace (SPF) gather at the intersection where Miller Avenue meets Camino Alto. Rain or shine, they meet at the corner with signs, guitars, and one major goal: peace. 

Jan. 31, 2003, marked the first demonstration hosted by the organization. 

“We were originally set up over 20 years ago, right at the beginning of the Iraq war. The reason for forming the group was to essentially lobby our government to end the war and leave the country. To leave Iraq and bring the soldiers home,” co-chair Nancy Miller said.

The seniors have a shopping cart full of signs at the corner. In bold letters, these signs outline prevalent social issues, from climate change to the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Our mission is the search for peace, social justice, and genuine democracy,” Miller said.

“A lot of people tell us that they wanted to come to the Redwoods because they saw we are politically active,” co-chair of the organization, Sara Turner said, adding through SPF community members have an outlet for their voices to be heard and to advocate for change. “They saw us out here and said, ‘that’s the place I’d like to be.’”

According to its website, the average age of a SFP member is 86 years old. Most of the protesters are residents of the Redwood Retirement Community. However, some Tamalpais High School students also come to show support.

“The environmental [club] comes out here, and a number of them are active at the Redwoods in volunteer positions,”  Turner said. “We love it when they join us.” 

Madeline Mickelson, a Tam junior, started attending the demonstrations through her environmental science class and has been attending with her friends for a year and a half.

“It’s a lot of fun protesting with everyone. The seniors are so friendly and really happy to have us there,” Mickelson said. 

The environment is one of the big issues that the seniors advocate for every week.

“The climate crisis threatens all of the values we hold dear,” Miller said. “We didn’t start working on the climate crisis until 2019, and that is because a lot of us didn’t even know about it. We really feel that without attending to the climate crisis, there is no peace.”

The mayor of Mill Valley, Urban Carmel, has been attending the demonstrations for four and a half years to show his support for the SPF.

“I came out here because I wanted to get to know the seniors when I was running for office, and then I ended up staying,” Carmel said. 

“Politicians come out here on Fridays when they’re campaigning. They all say, ‘I’ll keep coming out no matter what,’ but Urban is the only one who continued to come out,” Joanne Lichtenstein, a frequent at the demonstrations, said.

“It’s been a great relationship because now that they know me well, they invite me to speak at the Redwoods,” Carmel said. 

He frequents the Redwoods, informing the residents on housing policies, climate change, and updates on what he and the city are working toward.

“The seniors [of Mill Valley] are engaged and informed. They are trying to make the world a better place,” Carmel said.

Many of the seniors held the sentiment that they were fighting not for themselves, but to make a better world for their children and grandchildren.

“I’ll be doing this as long as I can,” said Turner.

 Every Friday at the corner of Miller Ave and Camino Alto, music plays, chants are sung, and the world becomes a bit brighter.

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