It’s seemingly easy dismissing something that you do not agree with. Perhaps we feel it’s not our problem, or someone else will address it. Maybe we’re too busy for the inconvenience, don’t feel comfortable getting involved, or that you can’t make a difference.
For Marion Pack, that has never been the case, from an early age while in elementary school she participated in nuclear attack drills, even given dog tags during the process.
Later in life, as a mother of three, her daughter presented a pamphlet “How to build a bomb shelter” that she had received at school. It was 1978, her daughter was in the sixth grade, and the family was living in Painesville Ohio.
“I read through the pamphlet and thought to myself … “My electric company is building a nuclear plant, and I’m supposed to build a bomb shelter.”
For some, 1978 is so far in the past, but in reality, it seems like yesterday with so many of the challenges then, still with us today. The world stage continues to be in flux, countries are threatened, and at home, social issues long thought resolved challenge us all.
That pamphlet from 1978 began a life of activism for Marion that continues to this day.
The 1959 film “On the Beach” also had a huge impact on her feelings toward nuclear culture and the possibility of life in a post apocalyptic world. “The potential of such an event taking place, has stuck with me ever since then.” Marion adds.
While living in Painesville, Marian began doing her own research as she created her own opinion on various issues. Then Three Mile Island happened, and with her new convictions, she began sourcing out groups that she could participate in to make hers and other voices heard.
Marion continued her political involvement when she moved to California, lobbying for a nuclear freeze, and working with political candidates and issues that she felt passionate about.
After the second Earth day, “Things were progressing really well, and we were very confident in the impact we were having and things were improving. Then all the sudden, the US was sending troops to Kosovo.” She says.
Her involvement in the protest resulted in what would be one of several arrests for Civil Disobedience. “Sometimes, when you feel you have exhausted all of your means of communication, and having your voice heard, civil disobedience may be the only option.” Marion says.
“Civil disobedience is the act of breaking a small law in a non violent manner, to bring attention to a larger law that you are trying to bring attention to.” She adds.
The majority of Marian’s activism has revolved around petition drives, voter registrations, and running and assisting with political campaigns that she aligns with and candidates she supports. However, she is not against inconveniencing herself when she feels it appropriate.
“When working on campaigns, you work intensely for a year and a half, and then you have about six months or so to unwind and take some much needed time to yourself.” She says.
“This is when I’ve been able to take advantage of traveling abroad.” Her travels include several trips to India, Cambodia, Europe and many other Asian countries.
“The one thing I’ve learned when traveling, is to get out of the cities. Go out and meet the people, learn their traditions and immerse yourself in it.”
Currently on her agenda is The International Day of Peace which will be held locally, on Wednesday, September 21 on the courthouse plaza at 6:30. Presented by The Prescott Peace builders, the event will focus on social issues facing ours and other communities with the goal of education, and communication. A follow up Speakers Forum will be held on September 29th at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist.
On the 21st, the city will present and read a proclamation recognizing the day as an international event along with speakers, music and a candlelight vigil.
“Prescott Peace builders’ mission is to inspire our community to believe in and work toward a more harmonious, livable world. We are committed to building an identity and a culture of nonviolence in Prescott, Arizona, “Everybody’s Hometown.” We are inclusive and non-political, and we align ourselves to the core beliefs and practices of the International Campaign of Nonviolence.” – From the groups social media pages.
With a unique knowledge and insight into the cultures of other countries, as well as educating herself on the processes of our own, Marion continues to stay involved and making a difference.
“A lot of people accept the status quo and throw their hands up in the air feeling they can’t make a difference.” She says.
Marion is proof that one can make a difference, when you want to, and, when your goals are for the betterment of all.