Chicago Area Peace Action (CAPA) works to promote justice and peace by educating and mobilizing Chicago Area residents and students to promote human and planet oriented policies.

Our vision is a world in which justice prevails for all, free of the devastation caused by war, racism, poverty, nuclear weapons, and environmental degradation.

We are a grassroots Chicago-based nonprofit, and an affiliate of the national organization Peace Action, that seeks to transform our nation’s priorities towards justice, peace and environmental stewardship.

We educate and mobilize Chicago area activists to advocate for policies that reflect our vision and values through letter writing campaigns, petitions, direct action, online advocacy, lobbying our legislators, and more.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT                                                                          We acknowledge that the “Chicago Area” has endured a history of colonization by force and the attempted erasure of local indigenous peoples by settlers. We recognize this land as the home of indigenous nations and communities including: 

  • Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), Odawak (Odawa), and Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi); Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy). 

SOLIDARITY WITH THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES                        CAPA recognizes that a U.S. history of systemic racism and white supremacy has impacted Black Americans with devastating consequences, many of which remain in place today. We find it our responsibility to actively dismantle these systems, to the best of our ability, through our advocacy and activism. This includes partnering with local Black-led peace and justice groups and “getting in where we fit in.”

SOLIDARITY WITH ALL MARGINALIZED GROUPS                                  Our work to dismantle systemic injustice while building a more just world relies on recognizing the historic and ongoing oppression of many communities impacted by white supremacy, patriarchy, and U.S. imperialism. This includes all groups targeted or refused status and equity due to their race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, and/or ability level. 


  • Military spending consumes over 50% of the U.S. annual Discretionary Budget. Meanwhile our schools, healthcare, and infrastructure crumble. U.S. foreign policy’s reliance on an over-budgeted military and the treaty-violating plan to modernize the Cold War-era nuclear weapons program must be reduced and monies redirected to meet actual human needs and forge a path for peace and justice for people in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Humanity arguably now faces a greater nuclear danger than existed at the height of the Cold War. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have set their famed “Doomsday Clock” at 100 seconds, the closest to midnight it’s ever been. We created these immoral weapons of mass destruction in a climate of fear and mistrust. For the sake of all humanity, it is up to us to lead in their elimination from the face of the earth.
  • At the root of many of the world’s greatest problems lies the violence of racism, and its elimination is central to a peaceful community at home and across the world. The brutality of escalating militarism and climate degradation impacts people and communities of color in vastly disproportionate numbers.
  • As ocean levels increase, swaths of the planet dry up, and extreme storms and weather patterns batter population centers, the danger and possibility of conflict around the world rises. CAPA recognizes the relation between climate change and the future of peace. Urgent action must be taken to address, adapt to, and fight the effects of climate change.
  • Dependency on a militaristic foreign policy and a disregard for our impact on the climate will hurt future generations the most. Through our student chapters, CAPA empowers the next wave of leaders by providing them the necessary tools and resources to challenge the status quo.
  • We know that our local, grassroots advocacy is crucial to making the lasting change we hope to see. We are community activists that address these issues through advocacy and political engagement at the local, state and national levels


Chicago Area Peace Action was originally organized as North Shore Peace Initiative (NSPI) in 1978 by Bob Cleland and Mel Traylor. Our initial executive director of 14 years, Allan Howe, spearheaded the group into becoming a major factor in organizing the 1982 Illinois Nuclear Freeze Campaign.

In 1984 our organization worked nationally with Peace Action and other groups to get a Nuclear Freeze Bill through the U. S. Senate. Since then, we’ve expanded the issues to include reducing military spending, stopping armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and addressing climate change.

In 2011, we changed our name to Chicago Area Peace Action, CAPA; to not only expand our reach to the greater Chicago area, but also to become an affiliate of a national organization, Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace network in the nation, with chapters and affiliates across the country. Through Peace Action, CAPA has been able to ensure the Chicago Area’s voice is heard and pressure is applied to policymakers. As an affiliate of Peace Action we are fortunate to share in collaborative efforts with, and the resources of this national organization and its expert staff.


One way that you can engage with the CAPA community is to join our CAPA-Sharing Google Group. It’s a place where any member of the group can post articles and share information that would be of interest to people working for justice through peace and environmental advocacy. To join, send an email to and we can add you to the group. You can unsubscribe at any time.


CAPA partners with organizations from around the Chicago Area and across the nation to achieve its mission

  • Peace Action
  • Peace Action New York State
  • Massachusetts Peace Action 
  • New Jersey Peace Action
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation 
  • Just Foreign Policy
  • Veterans for Peace Chicago
  • Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • WeClaim Democracy
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Evanston Neighbors for Peace
  • Lake Street Church
  • Chicago Anti War Coalition 
  • Action Corps Chicago
  • Reba Place Church  
  • Chicago Committee Against War and Racism


Dedicated Chicagoans are responsible for the day-to-day outreach and work achieved at CAPA 

Marcia Bernsten
Nancy Cusack
Gerry Gorman
Jack Kelly
Nashra Mohammed


David Borris

Charles Johnson

Liz Bajjalieh


Charles Johnson-  Organizing Director

As CAPA’s Organizing Director, Charles works to uplift and connect peace and justice campaigns in Chicago and beyond. He aims to build multiracial, multigenerational peace at grassroots level while interacting with all sides and influence levels. Charles seeks constructive models to replace destructive economic, environmental, and security models. Charles has learned from activists and groups including Nonviolent Peaceforce, Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, Chicago Alliance, Codepink, World Beyond War, and lives in an intentional community in Chicago. These experiences have helped him rethink how we share resources, protect ourselves, and include everyone in our sphere of concern.

Liz Bajjalieh-  Student Network Director

Liz Bajjalieh is the Student Network Director for Chicago Area Peace Action, where she guides CAPA’s University Chapters at DePaul University, Loyola University, and University of Illinois Urbana/Champagne and mentors their young peace activists. She is also working to build coalitions with Chicago peace organizations and national peace organizations to strengthen CAPA’s mission.

Previously, she worked with the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation. In these roles, she lobbied, educated, and advocated for peace and human rights policies related to Yemen, Palestine, and Iran. She is also the current Advocacy Campaigner for Just Foreign Policy, where she manages congressional outreach by assisting senior staff in advancing policy efforts and building relationships with congressional Hill offices.

Liz graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology and was honored with the inaugural Judith Wittner Social Justice in Action Award. She is also a poet, an avid book reader, is drawn to anything that has eyes on it, and loves the moon.


If you would like more information, to volunteer, or intern for CAPA please contact us

Reach Us


PHONE: (224) 645-1203

ADDRESS: 535 Custer Ave. Evanston, IL 60202