Details about event

Free Press Board member Mark Stansbery facilitated the February salon on Zoom. The theme was “Listen to voices of peace in the world of conflict.”

Watch salon video here.

First, he introduced Yurii Sheliazhenko of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement who was tuning in to speak with us live from Kyiv, Ukraine at 2am in the morning. It is close to a year from the anniversary of the Ukraine war. His group provides legal aid for war resisters. He spoke about the universal unjust system of militarism – blaming or conquering the enemy just foments more violence. He opposes the war and has been threatened. The hope is for a ceasefire

He noted that officially they say over 7000 civilians have been killed, which is a conservative estimate, and could be 40,000. Counting soldiers, the number could be 100,000 on each side. He pointed out how there have been war crimes on both sides, using people as human shields and setting landmines.

He mentioned that Russia is building relations with China. NATO continues their pattern of provoking world war. It is a polarized war, with the added threat of nukes that can kill everyone on planet.

He pointed out that there have been Ukrainian abuses of citizens – conscientious objectors, students who want to study in Europe, and all men of certain ages were not allowed to leave the country. People were beaten at the border.

Kyiv Security Compact / Zelenskyy Peace Plan endorsed by the Biden administration is getting military support from NATO and US for endless war. The point seems to be to keep business interests in Russia. More info from Yurii can be found here.

Pat Marida mentioned that she has heard it said that the increasing violence in the US is a direct result of increasing militarism. Over half of our income taxes goes to pay for war and interest on past wars.  With nuclear power, the US shifted the bulk of its nuclear infrastructure and budget from military to civilian.

Megan Anderson of the Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network in Cincinnati gave a presentation of the work of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and particularly their project against AFRICOM, which is the US Department of Defense exercises in Africa.

2007 was the start of US interests on the continent, for the control of Africa’s natural resources. Terrorist groups forming as a result – while the US trains Africa’s militaries.

BAP is also against the 1033 program of law enforcement where departments receive military surplus including weaponry and armored personnel carriers.

Yurii mentioned that in the first days of war Ukraine tried to conscript African students of Ukrainian universities against their will, that treatment of Ukrainian refugees is preferential in comparison to people of African descent, and that Ukrainian foreign ministry now tries to use grain supply to influence African countries and engage them into supporting the war; according to some sources, some weapons supplied for Ukrainian military are ending in African battlefields exacerbating ongoing bloodshed.

Megan noted the BAP is trying to influence the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Rep Horsford is the new Chair of the CBC.

Join the BAP here.

Watch the webinar Wed, Feb 15: Why and How to End the War in Ukraine, featuring Marcy Winograd of CODEPINK, Jacqueline Luqman of Black Agenda Report, and Lt. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. Hosted by Chicago Area Peace Action, with co-sponsors: Black Alliance for Peace, Chicago Area Peace Action DePaul, Chicago Cmte Against War & Racism, CODEPINK, Independent Progressive Alliance, Massachusetts Peace Action, Party for Socialism & Liberation, RootsAction, and World BEYOND War. Feb 15, 2023 07:00 PM Central time. 

Next was Kyle Pierce, Executive Director and  Political Strategist for OCTEQI, Protecting Ohioans  Constitutional Rights, who works with Cynthia Brown on the statewide petition drive for Qualified Immunity. The Ohio Coalition To End Qualified Immunity is working to place a citizen-led ballot initiative to amend the Ohio Constitution on the 2024 general election ballot to end qualified immunity, prosecutorial immunity, and statutory immunity. The full text of the proposed amendment can be found here.           

To volunteer to collect petition signatures, please email: They need 1000 good signatures and still need signature collectors. On February 23 they will turn in their petitions. They are aiming to be on the ballot in the 2024 general election. They will need about 412K valid signatures to get it on the ballot, ~850K raw signatures (assuming a standard 50% validity rate).

Cynthia Brown wrote to the salon – Ohio registered voters! We are getting down to our last few weeks,  "Protecting  Ohioans Constitutional Rights," Citizens Led Ballot Initiative Petition. If you want to sign it, please PM me so I can get with you! Our deadline is February 19th, 2023. This is an opportunity for DIRECT action to end qualified immunity and create historic change in the Great State of Ohio.


Tekla Lewin reported that the parole hearing for Willie Lagway happened in January and the results won’t be known for sixty days. The support letters and petition signers for Willie were noted at the hearing.

She also reported that the news on Julian Assange is positive.

MJ Borden gave an update on Ohio marijuana legalization efforts.

Pat Marida and others from the anti-nuke group are going to a Piketon hearing Wednesday, Feb. 15. Others are invited to join her. The Ohio EPA hearing is on a Proposed Partial Cleanup Plan for the Portsmouth Nuclear site, and also a Hazardous Waste Permit Renewal. The Ohio Nuclear Free Network engaged Joe Mangano, Executive Director of RPHP to write a report on health statistics in Pike County, home of the Portsmouth Nuclear Site: Health Risk to Local Residents from the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Anyone interested in going to the EPA hearing at Piketon on Feb. 15, contact her

If you are interested in writing for the Columbus Free Press, email