BUILDING PEACE IN THE

CHICAGO AREA AND BEYOND

OUR MISSION

MISSION STATEMENT
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.

VISION
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.

WHO WE ARE
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.

WHAT WE DO
We educate and mobilize Chicago area activists to advocate for policies that reflect our vision and values, through solidarity with local peace and justice orgs, direct action, letter writing campaigns, petitions, online advocacy, speaking with 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. 

WHY WE EXIST

  • 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

OUR HISTORY

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.


CAPA SHARING

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 capa-sharing+subscribe@googlegroups.com and we can add you to the group. You can unsubscribe at any time.

PARTNERS

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

350.org Chicago | About Face: Veterans Against the War – Chicago | Action Corps | Anakbayan Chicago |Buddhist Peace Fellowship | Center for Economic and Policy Research | Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression | Chicago Committee Against War & Racism | Chicago Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines | Chicago’s Addie Wyatt Center | Citizens’ Greener Evanston | Climate Reality Project | Coalition for Peace Action | CODEPINK | Department of Peacebuilding Campaign | Dissenters | Evanston Neighbors for Peace | Extinction Rebellion Chicago | Fellowship of Reconciliation-Chicago | Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice | Friends Committee on National Legislation | Jewish Voice for Peace | Just Foreign Policy | Logan Square Ecumenical Council. | Malaya Chicago | Massachusetts Peace Action | New Jersey Peace Action | Nonviolent Peaceforce | Nuclear Energy Information Service | +Peace | Peace Action National | Peace Action New York State | Peace Action Michigan | Peace Action Wisconsin | Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies program at Loyola University | Physicians for Social Responsibility – Illinois | Poor People’s Campaign – Illinois | Rising Tide Chicago| Schaumburg Area Progressives | SOIL | Sunrise Chicago | SWANA Chicago | The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists | The People’s Lobby | Union of Concerned Scientists – Illinois | US Palestinian Community Network | West Suburban Peace Coalition | World Beyond War

CAPA BOARD & STAFF

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

AT-LARGE BOARD MEMBERS
Ryley Albright
Buddy Bell
Marcia Bernsten
David Borris
Jacopo Demarinis
Geraldine Gorman
Mary Griswold
Kerry Hall
James Huffman
Orion Meadows
David Phelps

INTERIM PRESIDENTS
Catherine Buntin
Jack Kelly

ORGANIZING DIRECTOR
Charles Johnson

ORGANIZING ASSISTANT
Janessa Juntilla

 

CAPA BOARD

Ryley Albright
As an alum of DePaul University, I first joined Chicago Area Peace Action DePaul and have been organizing in the north side communities of Chicago for over two years. I have worked in organizing for labor rights, anti-war, anti-racism, and immigrant rights. I have spent a large amount of time-fighting for Chicago Representatives like Mike Quigley and Dick Durbin to reject money from weapons companies and reject the ever-increasing Pentagon budget. As well as time spent interning for UniteHereLocal1! and joining the picket lines for our city’s and DePaul’s hospitality workers. 
 
I joined the CAPA Board as its goals for the future of Chicago and the world are similar to mine. I do not want to live in a world that creeps closer every day to nuclear war and climate disaster. I hope to continue to organize and fight to bring peace and justice to our world and an end to human suffering!
 
Buddy Bell

I am a long-time activist for peace and for justice in the immigration system. A former transportation worker, I frequently write about minimum wage, strikes, and ongoing movements to improve working conditions. I am very interested in helping expand CAPA’s influence with regard to abolishing nuclear weapons and power, as well as phasing out fossil fuels through the development of clean energy.

Marcia Bernsten

A lifelong believer in the power of community and grassroots action to affect real and meaningful change, I come from an entrepreneurial background. Finding a true calling in owning Saturday’s Child, a toy store in Chicago for over 20 years, I saw firsthand how communities, and people, grow and flourish through connection, creativity and collaboration. I’ve served on the CAPA board since 2004, first having assisted with graphic work as a volunteer. I’ve worked with peace, justice and environmental groups throughout the state and country. During my “spare time”, I enjoy cooking, knitting, gardening, wheel-thrown pottery and spending time with family and my Evanston grandkids. I live in Evanston, IL with my husband, Andrew Lehman and crazy poodle, Neo.

David Borris

I am a long time peace and social justice activist who has served for 12 years as Board president for Chicago Area Peace Action – the Illinois affiliate of the largest grassroots peace and justice organization in the country. CAPA focuses its work on the intersectionalities of climate disruption, runaway defense spending, and foreign policy through a lens of equity and justice, both nationally and internationally.

I also sit on the executive committee The Main Street Alliance, an organization created in 2009 to organize progressive business owners  on economic issues and advocate for enlightened  public policy  that impacts small businesses, their employees, and the local communities that they serve. 

Catherine Buntin

I’m a Public Health Nurse and grandmother of six whose early life was shaped by Catholicism and being the oldest of seven siblings. My 30-year career in Nursing took me to many corners of the health care system including education, research, administration along with clinical practice where I worked across the lifespan from maternity to hospice. I love to dance, walk, swim, watch good movies, and read, especially books on the role of organizing in a healthy democracy.

In 2002, I joined the CAPA board. When Bush announced the “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad, I knew it was a critical time for citizens to resist a war of questionable purpose. As I learned even more about the influence of the Military, Industrial, and Media Complex on Congressional support for our wars, CAPA became the home for my advocacy. Our members are deeply concerned about the intertwined issues of war, the climate crisis, and the violence of poverty. I am grateful for the platform CAPA gives to address these concerns as a citizen. What better gift to my grandchildren than to work on the challenges of our day that will shape their lives and world.

Jacopo De Marinis

I am a 2022 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I majored in Public Policy and Law, and am pursuing a career in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. While studying at UIUC, I participated in a climate fellowship program with CAPA’s Climate Group during the summer of 2019 and subsequently co-founded a student chapter of Chicago Area Peace Action, CAPA UIUC, where I served as President from March of 2020 to May of 2022. While leading CAPA UIUC, I collaborated with fellow student peacebuilders to spearhead student campaigns for climate justice, justice for Black farmers, and a Chicago Department of Peacebuilding. 

I currently work as the Social Media and Communications Coordinator for Citizens for Global Solutions, a US member organization of the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy. I have published articles on topics including conflict diplomacy, US-China relations, and United Nations reform in CounterPunch, Countercurrents, the LA Progressive, and on the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement’s website, among others.

Mary Griswold

While I have lived in Evanston on the same block for 50 years, I have also traveled to more than 50 countries. I have enjoyed a career as a scenic artist and scenic and costume designer working with theaters, opera companies, television stations and commercial scenery studios. I also served as a union officer for many years including a brief stint as national president during our hundredth anniversary year.

I have been concerned about the climate, pollution and extinction crises at least since the first Earth Day in 1970 and, as each year passes, the urgency of the search for solutions becomes ever more apparent. I became more active after 2016 when I was arrested as part of an action at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. In 2017, I attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality training. I joined CAPA Climate Group because they share my concerns.

Kerry Hall

My earliest environmental activism emanated in the 1960s, from family camping trips in the natural wilderness of Colorado and Canada. I also drew inspiration from my grandfather, an environmentalist in the 1970s. Around 2003, as an activist who led local protests against the coming Iraq War, I soon joined the Board of CAPA’s predecessor, NSPI. I also took part in multiple peace and climate protests in Chicago and D.C. 

After a few years away, I am very excited to return to the Board of CAPA. More recently, I retired from 40 years in the classroom, the last 27 at New Trier High School, teaching U.S. History, Civics, Political Science, and International Relations. I sponsored New Trier’s Environmental Club for many years and am newly certified as a Climate Reality Leader. CAPA’s mission on peace and climate speaks to my interests and my passions. We are a perfect match! I am inspired by CAPA’s leadership and its activist members. We can and must continue to make a growing difference on these two critical issues, peace and climate.

James Huffman

After a career at Wittenberg University in Ohio where I loved the stimulation of working with students and did considerable writing about Japan’s modern history, including the book Japan and Imperialism, I retired to Chicago in 2007 to be near my children. Here, in addition to doing a book on the daily lives of the very poor in nineteenth-century Japan, I have been active in groups such as the labor organization ARISE and the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants: demonstrating, doing jail visits, and transporting asylum seekers when they were released from the ICE prison. 

I have joined CAPA because its goals and vision align with my own. I do not want my grandchildren to live in a warring world that confronts problems through domination and militarism; such a world is doomed. I am drawn to CAPA’s focus on systemic approach to issues, because individual solutions, while praiseworthy, are inadequate. And I am convinced that the only way to solve seemingly intractable problems such as climate change and militarism (as well as America’s proneness to divide the world into simplistic “good-guys-bad-guys” camps) is through the education, writing, and day-to-day activism that CAPA emphasizes.

Orion Meadows

I am the lead nonviolence trainer at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, an organization based on the Kingian philosophy of nonviolence. Working as an ambassador of this philosophy, I work with several groups interested in creating a beloved community, attacking the forces of oppression and injustice in the various forms, shapes, and sizes manifested on this planet where we cohabitate with one another. I believe CAPA touches on facets of the Beloved Community which are often overlooked and as a Nonviolence Trainer, I can be an ambassador addressing the importance of focusing on these broader issues such as violence against the environment and foreign affairs.

I am an author of three publications, and a spoken word performance artist who uses the arts as a means of raising awareness to the public about the plight of the disadvantaged, exploited, and oppressed groups I serve. As a system-impacted citizen, I am an advocate of organizations that labor to improve upon the conditions which the prison-industrial complex has helped to create.  
I am a social media and creative arts coordinator for IL-CHEP (IL Coalition for Higher Ed. in Prisons) and president for NEIU’s F.I.S.T. (Formerly Incarcerated Standing Together). Among other things, I have discovered other uses of the power of the “WORD” to bring consciousness to the masses. I am a host on the PIC TV Network’s Prison Freedom and Hello America programs respectively, and a recurring cohost on Truth HD Radio: The Big Payback Show with Robert “Red” Ross. I am also a new staff member at Stateville Speaks, a newsletter circulating throughout Illinois prisons, and am involved in media affairs while developing a platform at WZRD Radio. 
David Phelps

I am a political activist and a web content specialist, with seventeen years’ experience in
working in digital marketing and communications. I graduated from the School of Visual Arts (New
York) with a master’s degree in fine art. I have worked in organizing for immigrant rights, anti-racism, and LGBTQ rights.

I find CAPA’s mission of promoting peace and justice to be vital for the future of humanity. I have
worked with Chicago Area Peace Action in lobbying Illinois legislators — advocating for a more progressive foreign policy, which is central for a peaceful and more stable world. I also joined CAPA due to its Climate Group’s mission in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels, which poses significant risks to the planet.

CAPA STAFF

Charles Johnson

As CAPA’s Organizing Director, I work to uplift and connect CAPA’s efforts to peace and justice campaigns in Chicago and beyond. I aim to be part of multiracial, multigenerational peace at grassroots level while interacting with all sides and influence levels. I seek constructive models to replace destructive economic, environmental, and security models. 

I have learned from activists and groups including Nonviolent Peaceforce, Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, Codepink, World Beyond War, and I live in an intentional community in Chicago called Greenrise. These experiences have helped me reimagine how we share resources, protect ourselves, and include everyone in our sphere of concern.

JanessaPicture
Janessa Juntilla

While I was a student at DePaul University, I joined Anakbayan Chicago and have been organizing for genuine liberation in the Philippines since. The U.S. sends millions of tax payer dollars to the Philippine military and police, which contributes to the worsening violence and repression against human rights activists and land defenders (read more about cutting U.S. military aid to the Philippines here). Because the U.S. contributes to violence around the world in similar ways, I believe our role as peace loving people is to live in solidarity and support peoples’ struggles. I’m excited to be starting as CAPA’s Organizing Assistant and I hope to continue advocating for peace, human rights, and environmental justice!

CAPA STUDENT LEADERS

CAPA Student Chapter leaders build peace on university campuses and beyond. 

CAPA DEPAUL
Julia Alfaro
Stefi De La Torre

CAPA NORTHWESTERN
Maya Resnick

CAPA LOYOLA
Mahnoor Sukhera

CAPA UIUC
David Pavletic

Julia Alfaro

I am a senior at DePaul University majoring in Peace, Justice, Conflict Studies minoring in Art. Currently I am the Co-President of DePaul’s Chicago Area Peace Action chapter. Though my career path is still unclear, I am interested in social justice advocacy and community organizing. In the summer of 2020, my interests were solidified when I interned with the Neighborhood Resilience Project in Pittsburgh, PA where I planned, transcribed, and analyzed “race and reconciliation meetings” within the community. I additionally helped renovate and run the NRP’s community closet and food pantry. In my free time I like to hike, read, play with my 3-month-old kitten, and drink overpriced chai lattes.

Stefi De La Torre

I am a senior at Depaul University completing a degree in journalism and political science, and am Co-President of CAPA DePaul.

Mahnoor Sukhera

I am a Junior studying Political Science and Psychology at Loyola University. I am the president of CAPA Loyola and plan on going to law school after graduation.

David Pavletic

I am a current junior at the University of Illinois who has a passion for environmental and social justice. I hope to spread that passion with the world and has plenty of experience in direct actions and facilitating trainings to other youth organizers.

CONTACT US

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

Reach Us

EMAIL: capa@chipeaceaction.org

PHONE: (224) 645-1203

ADDRESS: 535 Custer Ave. Evanston, IL 60202

Buddy Bell

09.22.19

40th ANNUAL